3 Traits Needed for Effective Customer Service
Friendly, patient, and good at problem solving- these are three major traits that come up when we describe an ideal customer service representative at ShareFile. They make a lot of sense. You would probably like to have a pleasant experience when calling in to a company for support, and also to feel like the person at the other end of the line has time to talk through your concerns. Most importantly, you would want to leave the interaction with an actual solution.
While we use these terms primarily to describe a type of person, I would have to say that there are some things that anyone who works directly with customers on a daily basis should always be practicing, regardless of their personality. It may be hard to become friendlier or to develop good problem solving skills on demand, but even people who display a high level of the traits listed above can work on three related practices and attitudes that can make a big difference in your ability to better serve clients:
In addition to being friendly, be flexible: Everyone has to deal with a difficult person from time to time. It’s possible to get frustrated, and that’s certainly fair. However, your next client doesn’t know what else is going on at your office, and they’d like to be treated like their own person. Being able to let go of whatever else is going on and focus just on your client for a time allows you to be much more helpful. This is something that I think that we all intend to do, but on a busy day, it’s good to keep this goal in mind.
In addition to being patient, be honest: It’s good to be patient when helping people, but it’s better to help them understand exactly what to expect so that they can be patient with the process as well. This often means proactively offering information, such as why a company policy is in place, or the actual timeframe that it may take to see a solution or refund that’s requested. If they have an objection to your explanation or estimate, you can address that with them immediately. Even if you can’t give them the answer that they want, this is invariably preferable to trying to help someone who is already frustrated because their problem wasn’t corrected when they expected it.
In addition to being good at problem solving, be an advocate for the client: This applies to anyone who is in direct contact with customers but may not always be the person most able to actually, physically fix their problem. For example, some software problems or questions have to be escalated to support engineers by ShareFile customer service reps. When an issue is forwarded to someone else, it doesn’t have to be entirely out of your hands. Following up internally and making sure that your client’s concerns remain a priority is sometimes the best problem solving that you can offer the client.