7 traits of top-performing customer service people

Posted: 18/11/2013

Are your customer service team fit for the task? 

According to Profiles International, there are 7 traits of top-performing customer service people: 

  • Trust
  • Tact
  • Empathy
  • Conformity
  • Focus
  • Flexibility

Bad customer service may be down to training or recruitment. However, these key traits are based on surveys of hundreds of top-performing customer service people. Profiles International discovered the most common traits in the highest performers, and created a 7-point profile that can determine whether potential employees will be able to fit the bill.

Whether a person has these traits will determine how well they fit into a customer service role. Even though someone may have past experience in this area, employers cannot assume that they will be able to fulfil the position to the degree required.

Think about the best experience of customer service you’ve ever had; did it fulfil these criteria?

1. Trust

Have you ever tried to take something back to a shop and you’ve misplaced or thrown away the receipt? It’s the customer service staff who will give you the benefit of the doubt that you value the highest. They are the ones who generally trust the customer and will act in the customer’s best interest, rather than guard the company profits at any expense.

2. Tact

When was the last time you ended up having to call a supplier for a mistake on a bill or statement? How long did you spend on hold, or battling to speak to someone’s supervisor? Customer service staff who are tactful and considerate, especially in the case of potential disputes, really make your company shine. These are the staff who will patiently listen, do what they can for the customer, and think about what they are saying and the way they say it, particularly when the customer is in a high-pressure situation.

3. Empathy

It’s the organisations that go out of their way to make you feel better that you remember. These are the staff who will personally assist you in whatever way they can, be it by giving you the small change to cover your parking. They go out of their way and behave like a human; they are true ambassadors for the brand, reflecting it as compassionate and caring about the customer, rather than just taking from them.

4. Conformity

This one is self-explanatory. When you’re acting as an agent on behalf of a brand (as all employees do, but especially those facing customers), you need to abide by the rules, regulations and policies of the brand. For example, if a company has a strict equalities and anti-discrimination policy, the last thing they want is a sexist customer service employee making derogatory remarks in front of clients. It’s the small acts like this that can really damage a brand.

5. Focus

This applies to most roles, but high concentration is imperative when facing customers. Forgetting specific detail of the account or order can be a make or break for clients. Focus and attention to detail mean that the customer has less to worry about, and can feel safe in your company’s hands.

6. Flexibility

An open-mindedness to new rules or policies is important in customer service. Times are constantly changing and companies may bring in different policies or methods of handling customers quite regularly. The flexibility to deal with these changes and be ready to adapt is important to the brand’s integrity.

7. ?

There’s one more that we would add to this list: passion. People who are passionate about service and support, and who genuinely take pleasure in providing customers with what they need, are the people who should be working on the front line of customer service. This role is so much more than “the customer is always right”; it’s about maintaining strong, professional and human relationships with clients and believing in the company you work for.

Getting customer service right is not hard, but getting it wrong can cost your business a lot. Ensuring you’ve got the right people on your side is the first step to ensuring that your company is delivering nothing but the best. Training those individuals to go above and beyond customer expectations is the next step.

Further Reading

Winning The Hearts And Minds Of Customers

Features And Benefits That Truly Engage Customers

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