Customer service isn’t just about listening to customers and resolving their problems when needed. Learn more about the key roles and responsibilities in this article.
Sometimes, working in customer services is not seen as the best job in the world but this opinion is completely wrong. It is probably based on a lack of understanding of the wide variety of roles. There are so many and the environment in which a customer service agent can sometimes be stressful. In essence, the job needs to be recognized for what it is: an essential cog in the functioning of any organization.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important customer service duties. Hopefully, this will show you just how much essential work is done in these areas.
1. Building Good Relationships with Customers
This is the broadest part of the job. Building good relationships with customers means going out there and contacting new customers through excellent communication skills, which is a prerequisite to fulfill customer service duties. It is also, however, being able to deal with any customer service issues that show the customers that they are important and valued, which then makes them come back as a returning customer.
2. Dealing with Difficult or Angry Customers
One of the most demanding parts of working in customer service is dealing with angry and difficult customers. Unfortunately, customers often have the right to be angry and it is the role of the customer service agent to diffuse the situation. Within this, however, they have to find the right balance. Although a customer has every right to be angry, they don’t have the right to be abusive and a customer service agent therefore must be very assertive yet empathic.
3. Knowing Your Customers
Nothing makes a customer happier than knowing they are recognized as an individual. A customer service representative, therefore, needs to have an excellent memory and try to remember why customers may have had dealings with them in the past. Often, this is done through a comprehensive CMS system, in which previous phone calls are recorded and monitored.
4. Being a Customer Ambassador
A customer service agent is, in essence, the ambassador of customers. This means they are their first port of call for any issues and that their customer service duties include having to represent the customer within the business. The expression is that the customer is king and this is certainly true. It is the role of the customer service adviser to ensure the customer knows and understands this.
5. Promote Customer Service throughout the Organization
The role of the customer service manager or agent may go outside just dealing with customers. One of the key duties is to demonstrate to everyone else in the organization that customer service is the driving force behind the company. They have to ensure everybody is on board in terms of giving customers the best possible service and always ensuring that the customer is happy with the service they receive. As such, a CSR is a driver for company values and beliefs.
6. Negotiating Agreements with Customers that Fit in the Policies of the Organizations
Customers like to negotiate and it is often their right to do so. One part of the job is to be able to negotiate back with the customer and come to an agreement that fits both the expectations of the customer as well as the policies of the organization. As such, a customer service agent has to have very strong negotiating skills, but they also need to be well aware of the different policies and procedures in the organization.
7. Working as Part of a Team
Team work lies at the heart of any organization. As such, the role includes working as part of a team. This means that if one of the colleagues is unsure on how to deal with a customer or issue, the others help out. This also means that customer service reps don’t only work on a specific part of the services, but rather across the board. Everybody has to be on board with this, so the same consistent working practices are used at all times by all members of the team.
8. Dealing with Customer Administration
More and more offices are starting to become paperless, but this doesn’t mean that administration doesn’t exist anymore. Important customer service duties include dealing with this administration in an appropriate manner. Whether this is filing the paperwork that does exist, working with the computerized CMS system or running off statistical reports, they are all part of the role of the customer service agent. As such, these agents are generally expected to have strong organizational and logical reasoning skills. They also have to have strong IT skills, so that they can appropriately use the CMS database employed by their organization.
9. Learning about the Products, Services and Prices within the Organization
Knowing what the organization actually does is hugely important. A very important task, therefore, is for the customer service agent to understand the company inside and out. They need to know what the services and products are that are on offer, and they need to know the prices of these products and services. They need to remain up to date of any changes in these prices as well, including special offers and sales.
10. Answering the Telephone
The vast majority of contact with the customer will be done over the telephone. As such, one of the customer service duties is to answer the phone, often within a set number of rings, and deal with the question or query appropriately. This requires very strong communication skills but often it also requires strong multi-tasking skills. After all, as the agent is on the telephone with the customer, they will often have to open up the CMS program and perform other duties, while at the same time remaining connected to the customer. A good telephone manner is also absolutely essential in this part of the job.
In summary, a clear job description is needed to ensure employees know what their areas of responsibilities are, as well as a flexible attitude to do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer.
About the Author
Ian Miller is Editor of Customer Service Manager.com – the leading resource and community for customer service professionals. The website features customer service articles, skills and tips as well as a discussion forum and free customer service newsletter.