Tips to Succeed in a Customer Service Career

John Krautzel
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Whether you sit behind a desk and answer phones or stand at the front lines of a counter in a brick-and-mortar store, a customer service career entails a lot of hard work making people happy. You're in a bind because you have to make your boss and the customers in front of you happy. Luckily, customer service has its rewards if you know how to meet the needs of those you serve.

The bedrock of your successful customer service career comes from thinking like a customer. If you walk up to your counter or call your phone line, what would you expect from an outstanding customer experience? What does the company offer to customers in return for purchasing a product? What should you get in return for spending money on the company? As a professional people person, once you understand where your customers come from, you begin to discover their expectations.

Respect your customers, no matter what. Recognize the fact that you will deal with an angry patron at some point in your customer service career. The person on the other side of your desk or phone line isn't mad at you personally. Typically, the person simply wants sympathy and a way to solve the problem.

Another pillar of your customer service career is the CARP method. The acronym stands for control, acknowledge, refocus and problem-solve. The "A" could also stand for "apologize." The first part, control, reminds you to tell the customer you can handle the situation. Follow that with acknowledging the problem or apologizing for the difficulty. Then you refocus the conversation on how to solve the problem.

Communicate clearly with the customer throughout your interaction. The person in front of you should know precisely how you plan to resolve the situation. Precise communication means listening well, addressing each of the person's concerns and keeping the person engaged in the conversation until he walks away satisfied with the result.

Remember, you are the ambassador for your company. You are the first line of defense when someone contacts the company with questions, concerns, issues and feedback. How you handle the situation may determine whether the company keeps or loses a returning customer.

One major aspect of your customer service career involves creating memorable experiences for clients. Go the extra mile to make someone's day. This can happen with a free upgrade, coupon, discount or gift. Eventually, these experiences happen consistently and regularly so every customer expects the same treatment from the company at all times. Memorable experiences don't have to cost money, but they do have to leave a good impression.

Finally, always be professional and courteous. Smile when you talk to someone. Away from your desk, don't say bad things about customers to your coworkers or supervisor. The most important thing to remember is that without loyal customers, you wouldn't have a job in the first place.

Take care of the people who make it possible for you to collect a paycheck. As a professional people person with a long customer service career ahead of you, you owe it to yourself and your clients to learn how to take your service game to the next level.

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