There are so many great and various types of tips that can be given for those desirous of joining the CSR field, many of which I have written on in the past. When it comes to getting a CSR job, versus making a career in the CSR industry, there are some things to consider.
Of course, you need to know if you are seeking to get into the CSR field simply as a job, or are you seeking a real career – and do you understand the difference? I wrote more extensively on this difference in a recent article, but, in a nutshell, a job tends to be a more short-term goal, a task for money with no real passion or longevity desires attached. A career is something that is a passion, and is something you see yourself doing for a long-time in one capacity or another. Some positions just need a warm body in them to function, while successfully sustaining a CSR career takes a special kind of person with distinct traits.
Now, as I said, these are traits that are needed, mainly personality type traits and not necessarily what falls under the term of skills. Skills tend to be things that are learned through training, whereas these necessary traits tend to be part of who you are and are less likely to be learned.
Here are a couple traits that are fairly common and have been discussed before but are always worth sharing as a reminder:
Patience - If you tend to be an impatient person, then you should probably choose another career path. Dealing with people, all different types of personalities, can be trying. If you do not have the patience to calmly deal with it, you will find that in the end you will not be offering very great service, and that can quickly lead to an inability to successfully keep the position..
Clear Communication Skills – You must be able to clearly communicate in order to solve a situation. If you are not comfortable speaking to people, or have issues with speaking clearly, then this might not be where you want to look for work.
Now, here is one that is not always something people may think of when it comes to being a CSR, and the level of necessity varies from job types and company type.
Attentiveness – You must be able to listen and understand the problems in order to properly assess and resolve the issue. A recent incident on the Domino’s Pizza Facebook page shows that either someone was not paying attention, or they have opted to make their customer service responses more automated and less personal, and in this case, an episode in failure.
Yahoo! News carried the article that reported how the pizza store giant is quick to respond to negative comments on their page, offering to make things right. However, in this case, someone left a very positive comment on the page, and received the same type of response that a negative remark normally receives.
When writing "Best Pizza Ever! Pan Pizza :) Keep up the good work guys!" on their page, the user received the response “So sorry about that! Please share some additional information with us at bit.ly/dpz_care and please mention reference# 1409193 so we can have this addressed.” So it appears either someone was just not paying close enough attention to what they were doing, or their service is more automated than it probably needs to be.
Acting Skills? - There is one trait that I ran across recently on another site that I had never previous considered, and while I do see some legitimacy in it, I am not sure I fully agree with the sentiment behind it. Gregory Ciotti at Help Scout places “Acting skills” on his list of necessary traits, stating:
Every great customer service rep will have those basic acting skills necessary to maintain their usual cheery persona in spite of dealing with people who may be just plain grumpy.
I can see his point, but would tend to categorize this type of scenario as more fittingly resolved under the category of patience. Dealing with grumpy customers who will probably never be satisfied at the current time requires patience, apathy and understanding. If you simply “act” - and the customer picks up on it, it can make the matters worse. The customer will feel as if you are simply putting up a front and could care less about their situation. Patience and empathy are more important in my book, and acting is probably not a great trait to begin putting into practice.
And the final trait I would like to bring up is a combination of Respect and Pride. You must be able to put the customer first, and this means respecting them even when it requires you to put their needs above your own. The customer is always right is more than a cliché phrase, it is a mentality that must be kept in mind at all times. Even if you think they are totally wrong and wish to prove it, your own pride must not get in the way of putting others first in serving them or else you will lose the customer in the end.
These are just some of the more important character traits that anyone seeking a CSR position needs to have in order to strive for excellence and success in a long-time career. Almost anyone can perform a CSR job temporarily, but when it comes to providing real, passionate service to others, it requires that special “people-person” with the traits to do so.
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