I recently had multiple experiences with customer service representatives. These companies, such as Southwest and Quickbooks, were those who are generally praised for their customer satisfaction and I, in fact, have been quite pleased in the past with them. In these occurrences, however, I was far from satisfied with the outcomes of the calls and the way I was treated. The problem is that the people I talked to, who needed to work on their skills, like it or not, represent the companies they work for.
As I processed out some of the situations, I landed on two reminders that have helped me when working with clients and people in general and could
have helped the representatives I encountered:
Listen. Continue to ask questions to clarify and bring understanding. If you don’t understand, don’t pretend you do. Seek another method of communication. Try sharing a screen, bringing in another person, transferring the call to a specialty division or maybe even continue the conversation after a quick walk or water break. Listen.
- Don’t take it personally.
Sometimes problems in communication occur when someone takes personally the difficulty the other person is having. The person on the other end is upset, most likely because of something you cannot or did not control or because you are not listening to them. Continue to clarify that you are wanting to help and wanting to understand. Remind yourself and the individual that you are there to help and want to. Know that you are representing the product or computer that is malfunctioning and that is why it seems the blame is falling on you. Breathe. Stay calm and continue to listen and seek clarification. In most every instance, the person is actually not against you as a person but only wanting resolve, help and feels powerless. Reassure them.
It is amazing what can be accomplished when we listen to one another. Many times we are quick to speak and quick to become angry but slow to listen. Try listening today and reassuring those around you. I am confident it will make for a better day filled with greater communication.