Customer Service 101

Not everyone can work in the service industry. Not everyone who works in the service industry actually fits the requirement. At least, that’s what I thought. Needless to say, Customer Service is not my first choice when choosing a career because it truly is difficult. How service personnel keep that charming and understanding smiles while irate customers berate them is admirable.

With its mission to be the leader in publishing and technology, Vibal Group, Inc. provided a three-hour training for its employees on the rudiments of quality service. Ms. Connie Josue facilitated a number of activities for us to gauge how customer centric our department was.

Here are my takeaways from the training:

Every employee is responsible for customer service.

That one’s department doesn’t have a ‘client-facing’ role doesn’t mean an employee is excused from delivering good customer service. It seems that there is something more to it than merely taking phone calls, responding to emails, and jotting down client queries. Internal clients, yes, our very own colleagues, also benefit from our on-the-dot project deliveries.

In its simplest sense, customer service means doing one’s job with excellence regardless of one’s position or department. That definitely is an eye-opener.

Customers, internal or external, need someone to listen to them first.

What I learned from Jung, people respond differently to external stimulus. Complaints are not my kind of stimuli–I’d rather avoid them by any means or prevent them from happening yet they still pester me for one reason or another. However, Ms. Connie enlightened us that like mistakes, complaints make rich source for learning and improvement.

However, contrary to my belief that the best way to get rid of complaints is to solve them immediately, Ms. Connie elucidated that listening to clients’ actually gets the job half-done. When employees listen carefully, the word is carefully, to their clients, they will be able to determine the source of complaint and address it properly –given that these employees are trained enough to sift through a barrage of insults and get to the core.

Active listening definitely is the key.

Product knowledge is necessary for excellent customer service.

In connection with the previous point, having good product knowledge also establishes credibility. How familiar employees are with the company’s own products is evident in the way they suggest solutions. Though admittedly, flowery promises are necessary to promote the company and the products, understanding them in-depth can also help in determining the extent of service particularly when employees are catering not only to external clients but internal as well.

It seems relatively easy but as the cliche goes, it is easier said than done. There is a reason why companies have to outsource customer service and pay them big bucks after all. Then again, having this kind of training for on-boarding and refresher boosts dedication and though not everyone can provide excellent customer service immediately after, at least, employees can always try.

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