How to Be a Good Customer Service Representative

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Customer service representatives are employed by nearly every industry. They serve as liaisons between the companies or organizations they work for and their customers. Customer service representatives work by phone, letter or Internet to respond to inquiries, provide information, handle complaints, offer guidance, adjust or update accounts and attempt to resolve problems. They may specialize in one particular area such as billing or technical support. The duties of customer service representatives vary depending on the nature of their employers. Because customer service affects the reputations and the profits of businesses, it is important for customer service representatives to use the best known practices to keep customers satisfied, happy and returning for more.

Answer customer requests or inquiries promptly. If a call is made, answer as soon as possible or reroute calls to ensure that customers are receiving the help they need in a timely manner.

Provide a friendly greeting and make a good first impression with a customer. Use the customer's name when appropriate to help ensure a personalized experience. Treat the customer fairly, courteously and respectfully. Be polite and smile.

Listen carefully and politely to a customer's requests, problems or questions. Allow the customer to vent, share information or ask as many questions as he needs.

Sincerely apologize and acknowledge problems when necessary. Gain an understanding of what the customer needs and determine a plan of action. Ask open-ended questions to help determine what the customer needs.

Resolve situations or answer questions in a timely manner. If a problem arises that you can't fix or don't know the answer to, get help from another customer service representative or a supervisor. Use the tools provided by management to meet the customer's needs. A refund, replacement, extra assistance or gift may be in order. All problems cannot be solved with refunds. Offer an alternative if the solution is not satisfactory to the customer.

Offer ongoing service or help. After a problem is solved, let the customer know that your department is available for continued help or expertise.

Follow through with problems or claims promptly. Keep promises, monitor the progress of multistep solutions and ensure that issues are resolved completely.

Provide the customer with a friendly closing greeting. Create a positive and lasting memory so that the customer will want to return or use the company's services again.

Tips

  • Be as knowledgeable about the business or products as you can. Understanding the products or services and how they work is important when assisting customers and answering questions.

Warnings

  • Keep the customer informed. If a problem cannot be solved promptly, let the customer know. Provide information that will appease a disgruntled customer. Don't promise results that are impossible to achieve.

References

About the Author

Kendall Olsen has been writing for more than 20 years She is a University of Missouri-St. Louis Gateway Writing Project Fellow and has published instructional materials with the McDonald Publishing Company. Olsen holds an Ed.S. in educational technology, an M.Ed. in secondary English curriculum and instruction, a B.S. in elementary education and a B.A. in art history.

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