Industry Update
Opinion Article14 January 2020

This is How You Can Tell You’re a Customer Service Professional

By Steve DiGioia

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Many hold the title but never seem to accomplish the task. Some tout the certification letters after their name but can't put their knowledge to use. Others, sadly, haven't a clue and chase away more customers than they help. So, how can you tell you're a customer service professional?

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As I've written in a past post, "Great service is not a mechanical action". It's a feeling. It's a show of appreciation. It's caring for another. You can provide "service" to thousands of people and each interaction will be different.

Great service isn't "one-size-fits-all". It never has and never will be. It's a dance between partners for the benefit of both.

They Change Their Approach

Those who give great service know how to change their approach to the customer without missing a beat. They are never scripted and follow only 1 rule; to satisfy the specific needs of their customers so they are fulfilled and contented.

By now you may be saying, "That sounds like me, Steve. That's exactly what I do". Well, then great! But let's take it further and delve into the heart, and mind, of a great customer service professional. How many of these examples do you identify with?

  1. A customer service professional is someone who wears a smile throughout the day. A smile that is not forced but displayed freely & without a hidden agenda. The wearer doesn't expect anything in return except for the smile of another as their payoff.
  2. A customer service professional keeps finding ways to improve the experience, to simplify actions, and to streamline the process to serve those in need.
  3. A customer service professional is a person who would send $19 or $20 a month to an organization that helps people on the other side of the world. People who they will never meet, people who they will never know, and people who will benefit from their actions but will never be seen. They just want to help.
  4. A customer service professional is not concerned about getting accolades for their good deeds. Their primary concern is that their contribution, no matter how small, has benefited another.
  5. A customer service professional is someone who stays the course even through their own hardships. Their personal troubles are left at the business door, never to touch the customer and never to sway their efforts to assist another.
  6. A customer service professional willingly wears the uniform of service, no matter how challenging or extensive the customer's expectations may be. Their service can be ornate or subdued, overt or subtle, obvious or unnoticeable, but it's always available and given freely.
  7. A customer service professional may never see how their contribution has helped or the joy they've brought to those in need. But they do it regardless because they have a strong desire to improve the lives of others.

This is what great customer service professionals are like. They have a burning desire to do more than just satisfy their own personal needs or enhance their own lives. They want to help, they want to give, they want to be the force behind the enrichment of others.

Great athletes consistently compete at a level most cannot attain. That's what makes them great. Many musicians, artists, scientists, and doctors do the same. They possess a quality that makes them special and able to sustain that level throughout their careers.

Great customer service professionals are no different. Sadly, we don't meet as many as we wish. Today's service culture has changed. Self-service or at least quick service has become the norm and low price the differentiator. Today's consumer has little experience with the service of yesterday when face-to-face communication led to way and businesses were built one local customer at a time.

I guess that change was inevitable as society and technology have grown. But that doesn't mean that the actual service we provide must be less than special. There will always be room for the "great" and many long to be served by those who possess that quality.

Once you identify a great customer service professional, support him or her with your continued business. Return their smile, send them a thank you card, or write a commendation note to their boss. We want much from those who serve us and should give it back in equal measure.

BTW, if you feel that this post sounds surprisingly like you and what you do, then you probably ARE a customer service professional - and, I salute you!

Now, let's get out there and make some customer service memories!

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