Customer service representatives are the liaison between an organization and the outside world. Typically, customer service agents make every effort to ensure organizations strengthen customer relationships.
However, customer service is an industry notorious for its fair share of ups and downs. One minute, there could be a celebration of wins, and the next minute, they could be trying to calm angry customers.
Despite the ups and downs, customer service representatives must maintain a positive attitude in customer service at all times. A positive attitude in customer service entails remaining calm when interacting with customers, and it starts with understanding one’s customers, communicating clearly and precisely, and managing emotions and stress.
This article explores some of the tips that customer representatives can use to maintain a positive attitude in customer service in a challenging work environment.
How Do You Develop and Maintain a Positive Customer Service Attitude?
Customer service representatives are the face of any organization, and they cannot afford to misrepresent the company for any reason. Several proven tips can help in maintaining a positive attitude, which are listed and described below.
1. Understanding Your Customers
You can only interact positively and professionally with your customers if you understand them first. If, for example, you represent a company selling washing machines, you can handle customer inquiries better by knowing what they would need in the products you sell, what customers expect from the product, and how a malfunction will make them feel.
However, before you can understand your customers, you need to actively listen to them, ask open-ended questions, empathize, and show respect to every one of them who walks through the door or calls. Based on the information, you can tailor your services to meet their preferences. Most importantly, anticipate your customers’ preferences and offer solutions that meet their goals to maintain a positive attitude in customer service.
2. Practice Kindness
Kindness, coupled with a positive attitude in customer service, always yields the best results for these representatives. Understandably, customers can be demanding and want their needs addressed immediately. Sometimes, solutions might be impossible to find within the short timeframe requested by the customer.
However, responding harshly only worsens the situation. In such charged scenarios, the help desk staff are expected to remain calm, a skill that epitomizes kindness and a positive attitude in customer service. Choosing to stay friendly, considerate, and positive not only yields the best results but also ensures customer satisfaction.
3. Communicating Clearly and Positively
Customer service specialists interact with customers primarily to convey information about the company. Communications with customers can take place over the phone, which presents potential barriers. For instance, a customer might receive incomplete information, leading to misunderstandings about the company.
These misunderstandings can later manifest as customer dissatisfaction caused by miscommunication. To avoid such issues, these representatives should always communicate clearly and positively.
Polite communication involves addressing customers in a courteous tone. Positive language in communicating means avoiding the use of slang and jargon when offering critical information to customers. It’s also important to confirm whether the customer has understood your message. Seek opportunities to provide precise information, which can enhance customer satisfaction.
Finally, avoid using negative language such as ‘I don’t know,’ ‘I can’t,’ or ‘sorry,’ as such an attitude can be detrimental. Clear communication employs positive language like ‘I can and I will,’ which helps to gain the customer’s confidence, rapport, and trust.
4. Find a Way to Manage Your Emotions
Developing a positive customer service attitude also involves the ability to manage stress and emotions effectively. Each of us has triggers that can quickly alter our emotional state. Unfortunately, these service associates cannot afford the luxury of losing their temper, even in situations that might justify it.
Recognizing our humanity is the first step. This should be followed by acknowledging our emotional triggers and taking breaks whenever we feel overwhelmed. Several coping strategies can be helpful, including taking deep breaths, reciting positive affirmations, and engaging in meditation when possible. Managing emotions is an essential quality for a successful career in customer service.
5. Use Customer Feedback to Improve Customer Service
Anticipating every customer demand is challenging, and customer service agents might not always get it right the first time. However, there’s hope in avoiding future mistakes by learning from past errors and customer feedback.
Customers may provide constructive feedback or complaints, both of which offer valuable insights into what went wrong and what needs to change. It’s important not to let customers leave dissatisfied. Instead, use their feedback as an opportunity to apologize and take corrective actions.
The Significance of the Customer Service Role to the Customer Experience of any Company
There is substantial evidence supporting the crucial role of customer service personnel in shaping a customer’s positive experience with a company. A positive interaction, characterized by a positive attitude in customer service, often results in the following:
1. Customer Retention
Companies understand that it is easier to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Customer retention often depends on the level of customer service quality they experience when they first interact with a company. A positive attitude in customer service is key to making a lasting impression that encourages customers to return. A customer’s experience with your company can determine whether you have a long-term client or a dissatisfied individual.
2. Quality Customer Service Experiences Can Result in Customers Paying More
Customer service agents should always strive to offer excellent customer experiences, fostering a positive attitude in customer service that keeps customers coming back. In doing so, these customers may be willing to pay a premium for exceptional service, viewing the payment as a reflection of the value they place on how the company treats them.
3. The Customer Service Role Grows a Customer’s Lifetime Value
A company can calculate the lifetime value a single customer brings for its overall profits. The value of a single customer can increase if the customer becomes a repeat client, shopping frequently and in larger quantities. The most assured way to guarantee a growing customer’s lifetime value is to invest in customer service teams who understand the critical role they play in the company and maintain a positive attitude in customer service.
What Are the Most Critical Customer Service Qualities?
Empathy and active listening are the most critical skills customer service personnel must possess to keep loyal customers. Active listening involves paying close attention to what the customer is saying. However, this skill goes beyond just hearing the customer’s words; it also includes studying their body language to understand what they might not be verbally expressing.
Conversely, empathy in customer service involves understanding and relating to a customer’s thoughts, emotions, and feelings. It means putting oneself in the customer’s shoes and viewing each service situation from the customer perspective.
Exceptional customer service often requires the combined use of empathy and active listening skills. Empathy enhances active listening. For example, you can listen to an individual more effectively when you try to see things from their point of view. If a customer is frustrated, empathy will help you listen to their frustrations without making judgments. Active listening becomes nearly impossible without empathy.
Customers can sense when they are being actively listened to because this skill builds rapport, trust, and respect between the customer service representative and the customer. The combination of empathy and active listening often results in significant benefits for the company, including the following factors for business success:
- Enhanced communication, problem-solving, and critical-thinking abilities
- Improved customer service experiences, leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction
- Guaranteed customer loyalty
- Higher sales, better retention rates, and more referrals
De-Escalation Skills for Customer Service Professionals to Handle Challenging Situations with Calm and Empathy
Managing a diverse group of customers can take a toll on a customer service representative. It is only natural that one takes additional training to remain effective, maintaining a positive attitude throughout. There are various de-escalation training programs, each with unique de-escalation skills that can help customer service professionals handle challenging situations with a positive attitude, calm, and empathy.
In a customer service context, de-escalation refers to the process used by a customer service representative to calm a situation and prevent it from getting worse while always upholding a positive attitude. Considering that customer service must deal with angry customers with a positive attitude, here is a list of de-escalation skills that can diffuse an intense confrontation:
1. Keep Calm and Carry On
More often than not, an angry customer is not angry at the customer service representative but at the company for a possible break in a service or product promise. Therefore, understanding that the customer’s anger is nothing personal and maintaining a positive attitude will help you respond without allowing personal emotions to cloud your judgment.
In between the yelling, you can take deep breaths, practice empathy, and keep a positive attitude. Keeping your cool when a customer is yelling will have a diffusing effect and bring them to a more mellow level for easy communication.
2. Actively Listen to the Customer’s Frustrations
Some customers get angry for what we would consider insignificant reasons, but that does not warrant ignoring their frustrations. It could be that their anger is totally unrelated to the problem at hand, and that is your cue to remain calm with a positive attitude and listen actively. The customer will sense your attention and calm down enough to communicate easily and without yelling, thanks to your positive attitude.
3. Choose Your Words Wisely
Intense communications often escalate depending on the choice of words used by both parties, which is why keeping a positive attitude is crucial. If a customer walks to the customer service desk, visibly angry, and is yelling, the worst response is to communicate using negative words, like “I can’t” or “I won’t.”
For example, it goes a long way to tell a customer that you can see why they are upset or that you personally apologize for the bad experience. Saying thank you to the customer also makes them feel understood, especially when the tone is just right enough to portray gratitude and a positive attitude.
Customer service professionals represent their companies in a critical capacity. Since they are the links that a company has with its external environment, they must portray a positive attitude in customer service. Great customer service experiences, marked by a positive attitude, often translate to growth in customer service value, without which a company cannot enjoy customer retention or loyalty.
Understandably, customer service has its ups and downs, and maintaining a customer-centric approach along with de-escalation techniques are critical when handling a customer who is angry enough to yell their frustrations.