Be an Effective Customer Service Representative

Edited by Anonymous, Ann General, Graeme, Robbi and 8 others

A customer service representative (CSR) has one of the most important roles in the hospitality industry. CSRs are essentially the face of a business, meaning that they provide assistance, answer questions, resolve issues and address any concerns that customers might have. Providing excellent customer service is one of the best ways to retain existing customers and attract potential new ones.

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Some of the qualifications of a good customer service representative include good verbal and written communication skills, computer skills, and most importantly, problem-solving skills. You'll also need good interpersonal skills and the ability to work under pressure, since it's possible that you'll be working with irate customers or guests on a regular basis. Here are some of the basic qualifications necessary to be an effective customer service representative.

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Customer Service Representative (CSR) Responsibilities

If you want to excel as a customer service representative, it's important that you know what the job entails. Listed below are some of the responsibilities of a CSR.

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    Fielding incoming calls, emails or chats from customers.
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    One of the biggest responsibilities of a CSR is answering phone calls, emails or chats in a timely manner. In some cases, you'll have to make outgoing calls to provide customers information or sell them products or services. You'll need to handle each interaction with positivity, patience and professionalism.
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    Answering customers' questions.
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    It is the CSR's responsibility to provide answers and information regarding products or services offered by the company in a helpful, polite manner. You might have to perform research and get back to the customer with an answer quickly.
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    Making changes to a customer's account or setting up new accounts.
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    CSR's often have to make adjustments to a customer's account or set up new accounts. This is usually done by computer, but in some cases a CSR will have to fill out paperwork.
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  4. 4
    Learning about the company's products or services.
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    As a CSR, you're the knowledge gateway between the company and the customer. You should study the company's product, service or promotions, and stay up-to-date at all times so you can better serve the customer and answer any questions they might have.
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  5. 5
    Collecting customer information and processing orders or payments.
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    As a CSR, it is your responsibility to collect necessary information from the customer. This might include the customer's name, address, email address and even credit card information. Some of this data might be kept for future reference so that the company can send out brochures, invitations for offers or promotions that can generate revenue.
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  6. 6
    Handling issues or complaints.
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    Customer Service Representatives are expected to listen to all customer complaints about the products or services offered. The CSM is expected to handle these situations with understanding and politeness, gather the necessary information and resolve the issue as quickly as possible. If they can't solve the issue, they'll likely have to transfer the customer to another person or department to resolve the problem.
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  7. 7
    Selling the product or services.
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    Although the main job of a customer service representative is providing information about the product or services that the company offers, they might also have to pitch products or services for sale. If a customer has already purchased an item, a CSR might have to try to up-sell the customer a complimentary product or service in addition to the original purchase. This can provide a big boost for the company, and many companies are willing to pay bonuses or commission for additional sales.
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Tips on How to be an Effective Customer Service Representative

Since the customer service representative is the first contact between the company and the customer, it's important to know how to handle each interaction with attentiveness, patience and care so that they keep coming back. One wrong move can make or break a business deal and turn off a customer for good.

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  1. 1
    Watch your tone.
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    Once the CSR answers the phone or when a guest walks in and asks a question, make sure that the tone of your voice sounds cheerful and eager to help. A CSR should always be aware of the tone of their voice, as the wrong tone can come across as sarcastic, annoyed or bored. Your attitude and confidence level shows through the tone of your voice, and this is especially true when you're dealing with customers over the phone. Make it a priority to sound helpful and interested, even if you're having a bad day or dealing with a frustrated customer.
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    Active listening.
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    Listening and understanding your customer or guest is are very important keys to achieve customer satisfaction. Be sure to take note all of their concerns so that you can provide the proper action needed to resolve the situation. Repeating or paraphrasing their concerns back to them can help you confirm the issue and lets them know you're listening. Being attentive to their needs makes customers feel appreciated and important.
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  3. 3
    Build rapport.
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    Personalizing your spiel or having the conversation on a lighter note would be better to use to make your customer feel comfortable. This can be done by addressing the customer by name and asking a simple question about their day like "how's your day sir/ma'am?". These simple things can make a customer feel more comfortable and at ease, which can be beneficial for you, too.
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  4. 4
    Maintain professionalism.
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    A customer service representative receives inquiries and questions everyday, and sometimes repetitive or simple-minded questions can irritate you. Be sure to stay calm, maintain professionalism and avoid using sarcastic words that might make your customer feel belittled. This can lead to an uncomfortable situation for you and the customer. If you're sick, tired or having a bad day, try not to let it show to the customer. All our personal concerns or issues should always be set aside during work hours. Be sure to maintain professionalism at all times.
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  5. 5
    Proper use of empathy.
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    Expressing empathy is very important, especially if the customer is complaining about experiencing an inconvenience from the product or services that they received from your company. Showing empathy can also make them feel important and provide them with the assurance that you truly care about their satisfaction. You can do this easily by simply stating "I understand how frustrating it is when..." or "I'm sorry to hear that...". If the customer knows that you understand their feelings, they can express their concerns clearly. In turn, this will help you find the best resolution to suits their needs.
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  6. 6
    Be responsible.
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    One of the important keys to being an effective customer service representative is to take your job responsibilities seriously. If you promise your customer that you will provide an answer within 2-3 days, you should do your best to accomplish it within that given time frame. Always advise your customer if you have to place their call on hold, and specify the reason or give them a time frame, if possible. If it's taking longer than anticipated, let the customer know so they can call back at a more convenient time or offer to call them back with the solution. Failing to do that will lead to more frustration for the customer, which can result in more pressure on you to resolve the issue. Always bear in mind that the customer needs your assistance to resolve an issue quickly and without hassle, so you shouldn't make it worse through a bad customer service experience.
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  7. 7
    Make sure to provide accurate information.
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    You need to be knowledgeable on all products and services available by the company and have the ability to provide the customer with accurate pricing, features or benefits. If you're unsure about certain information, do not hesitate to ask for assistance from your superiors or any manager on duty. Always remember that giving false information can confuse the customer, escalate an issue or lead to future inconvenience.
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Impact of Being a Good Customer Service Representative

It's proven that good customer service is vital to almost every single company from a business and marketing standpoint. People naturally assume that if you provide excellent customer service, you also provide good products or services. If you offer the best customer service experience possible, this reflects positively on yourself and your company. You'll set a good example for your coworkers, and you'll likely earn recognition from your superiors. The following list provides a few reasons why customer service is so important to a company's overall well-being.

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  1. 1
    Generates revenue.
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    Excellent customer service can increase the chances that a customer will be attracted to products or services that the company offers, resulting in more money.
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  2. 2
    Happy customers are loyal customers.
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    A happy customer is indeed a loyal customer. Even if the customers experience problems with the product or services, they'll probably stick with your company if you offer the best customer service and solutions. Treating your customers right will surely earn their respect and loyalty to whatever is your business offers.
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    Customers will spread the word about your business.
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    A satisfied customer will likely help you promote the products to their family and friends for free. Hearing first-hand from a happy customer is more likely to promote the business than advertisements through television or fliers. People are more likely to rely on a friend or family member's experience with a product/service than a company's own advertisements or promotions.
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  4. 4
    Commendations and promotions.
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    Performing well as a CSR will not only make customers happy - it will make your boss happy, as well. Rest assured that all of your hard work will be notices, and you might even get a bonus or a promotion. Always do your best with every single customer interaction and you'll be greatly rewarded.
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Tips for Handling Concerns

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  • Actively listen and focus your attention on your customer and their concerns.
  • Knowing the difference between a good customer service experience and the best customer service experience will surely help. Try your best to always exceed your customers' expectations.
  • Go the extra mile for your customers. Personalize the customer's experience by listening well and over-delivering solutions. Make the experience as pleasant as possible for the customer by doing little things like transferring a call rather than giving a phone number, making appointments that are convenient for their schedule or taking the customer to what they're looking for rather than telling them where it is. Making sure your customer is fully satisfied can help brighten the image of your company.
  • Try to compensate the customer, especially if they've had a bad experience and you know a simple "sorry" won't be enough to win over the customer. Offer refunds, free trials or special gifts, if possible.

Questions and Answers

How to resolve a problem with an irate customer?

My customer is very irate. What can I do about this?

Focus on resolving the problem, while also being positive, no matter how irate your customer is. By being positive, but not overly cheery, you will reassure your irate customer as to the professionalism you bring to the dialogue, while also maintaining your composure when they are perhaps not being very pleasant. Try these steps:

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  1. 1
    Let your customer know that you're there to help.
    This will reassure him or her that you're genuinely working to help them.
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  2. 2
    Make sure he or she knows you are listening.
    Be attentive, and let the customer know you're making sure you have all of the information.
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  3. 3
    Handle it yourself, but if they ask for a supervisor, quickly pass them to someone who can help.
    An upset person doesn't want to be kept waiting, and also wants resolution. Taking care of it yourself is the fastest way to fix things.
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  4. 4
    Make sure you have all of their information.
    If they become irate over repeating information, apologize for asking, and let them know that whatever happened before, your job is to fix it, and you need the information to make sure the problem is taken care of.
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  5. 5
    If you can't fix the problem, or it was caused by the customer, offer alternatives.
    Many times a customer will become angry with something they did, and then take it out on a representative. By offering alternatives, such a a discounted replacement, free shipping, or similar items, you are giving them something, and may calm them.
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Also keep in mind that some customers simply can't be dealt with in a reasonable manner. Often they may be dealing with other issues, such as a loss of work, or other personal problem. In these cases, you simply need to be reasonable with them, and escalate the call to a supervisor if necessary. While your job is taking care of the customer, there are times problems will arise that you won't be able to fix. This is the job of your supervisor, who may have the ability to offer solutions you won't be able to provide.

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A customer has a problem with a bill being higher than the previous one. What are some appropriate empathy phrases?

The reason for the increase is that the promotion has ended.

Try one of these phrases:

  • I understand how frustrating it can be to receive a higher bill. What I can do for you is (solution).
  • I'm sorry for inconvenience. I will certainly look into this for you.
  • I apologize for the inconvenience. I can assure you that I'll do my best to fix this for you.
  • Try words of shock or mild surprise like "Oh my goodness. I'm so sorry to hear that." or something along those lines to empathize with the customer.
  • Follow up one of these phrases with a resolution. Offer what you can to make the customer happy and balance that with the needs of the company.
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How to pass an interview when applying as a customer service representative?

How can I pass a customer service representative interview?

These tips can help you pass a customer service representative interview:

  • Do some research on the company. Learn as much as you can. What do they offer? What type of image do they project? Find out what they want from their CSR. The more you know what they're looking for in an employee, the better you can prepare to become their ideal candidate.
  • Brush up on your communication skills. Practice speaking smoothly and clearly.
  • Be ready to answer questions about yourself and your experiences. Jot down notes about professional accomplishments, difficulties (with solutions), why you want to work there and study them so you'll be ready to answer questions that might be difficult.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about customer service situations. You might be asked what you would do in certain scenarios with a customer. Answer those truthfully, and if it would be necessary to know the company's policy to answer the question, you can state that, but still provide what you think you would do in that situation. In some cases, you'll be asked to answer math questions, so brush up on your math skills.
  • Have a copy of your resume handy during the interview. This can help you confirm details of your history.
  • Practice role playing with a friend or family member. Imagine a time when you've had a customer service experience. What would you want to hear from the customer service representative?
  • If you're unsure of an answer, tell the interviewer you need a moment to think about the answer. Just don't take too much time to provide an answer.
  • Bring a list of questions that you wish to ask the interviewer.
  • Realize that it's normal to be nervous and good interviewers expect that. Just do your best to answer each question thoroughly and honestly.
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My customer has BB device and wants a replacement, but unfortunately its no longer available?

A customer wants the same device model but its not available / its no longer offered

Apologize for the inconvenience and tell the customer what you can do instead. Let them know that the device is no longer available, but if you have a similar or better version of the device, explain that to the customer. List some features that the device includes that will make it sound like a better choice. Offer a discount or to replace it with the new one for free, depending on the company policy.

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How do one become an effective and efficient customer personnel?

What will be your counsel for someone that have interest in the service of customer services

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I am new in csr, what should I do to be a good csr?

I am new in csr, what should I do to be a good csr. I have tried: I haven't tried anything about BPO. I think it was caused by: I am a newbie

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Choice of words to use when assisting customer?

Issue with the service and customer is upset and want issue to resolve. I have tried: Doing the power cycle. I think it was caused by: They have a lot of application saved on the phone

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What if the customer says he doesn't have the money to pay his bill?

The customer doesn't have money, how can I address him properly with empathy?

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Recent edits by: andrea, Raphael Jackson, bliss666

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