It has been said a million times, but as with most clichÃ©s, it bears repeating: the customer is always right.
Now, of course, this doesn’t mean the company doesn’t have its rules or that customer service professionals should forget their training and start bending those rules the minute they’re faced with an irate customer. It does mean, however, that your business, your company, and probably the entire industry you’re in wouldn’t function without careful people like you taking the time to address customers’ concerns and inquiries, no matter how badly mistaken or repetitive those concerns may be.
Customers Come in All Kinds
If you’ve been working in customer service for any length of time, you will start to get a feel for the type of customer interaction to expect almost as soon as the customer verifies the contact information on the account. Some of them will have questions for you that may be answered on the company website, or some may want to know the features of a product your company discontinued nine years ago. Customers will sometimes have real problems that demand immediate solutions, while others — perhaps most amusing of all — will just want to vent their frustrations against you, as the public face of the company they’re mad at.
Always remember that, however trivial or unnecessary their inquiries may seem to a trained pro like you, they haven’t been through your training and years of experience. This means that to them, the right thing to do is to get in touch with you. When they make the decision to ask you for help rather than take their business elsewhere, the customers are always right.
Customers Need You and Your Service
Every customer is special, and every customer is beautiful. At least, this is something you can tell yourself while you’re dealing with them. Often, the easiest way to deal with a customer is simply to listen. Sometimes, he or she is just worked up, and five uninterrupted minutes of venting on the phone with you will cheer a customer right up. Listening carefully, even to the abusive customers, will also greatly increase the odds that you’ll pick up on some detail others have missed, which very well may be the key to resolving an issue. The customers are always right in this highly specific sense: they need a professional like you, even if their inquiries could have been solved in other ways.
“Customer” is the first word in “customer service,” and you aren’t going to find a field to work in which has more extensive hands-on experience with the customer-centered mindset than the service sector. As long as there’s an economy, there will have to be customers. The great majority of those customers will happily trade money for what your company sells. Unfortunately, you’ll rarely hear from those people, and quite a lot of your contacts will be with confused, irate, or even hostile people, many of whom are really just in need of a friendly ear to raise their voices at or a friendly voice to explain what is hidden. Resolving these potentially fraught situations is part of what makes customer service the exciting, engaging work that it is.
About the Author:
Nancy Anderson is the communities and article editor for Beyond.com. Nancy has 10 years’ experience in the online job search business with Beyond.Â Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites.Â Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on https://twitter.com/BeyondJobs.