I love customer service. To me customer service is more fun than sales and just as important. Customer service can make or break any company. Customer service is the backbone of all companies from products to services. So many times customer support is overlooked in ways to improve a company’s current processes or functions. Customer service can make a client love you and refer your company to friends and family or make a client so disappointed they tell everyone they know and will even take to social media, which we all know is devastating.
Quality customer support can easily be lost due to side jobs or extra duties and that is the very reason for this blog post. All too often good people are hired for customer support. They are shown the product or service and then taught how to help clients when they call in. From the start, a client support representative was hired to be a client support representative. After the new hire gets familiar and good at taking client support calls, extra duties are then added on. Maybe filing, invoicing or ordering supplies. I know in my previous position even compensation indexing was added to some customer support reps but here’s where the problem begins. Right here, at this juncture, when that newer, excellent customer support rep is now consumed with the extra duties. Extra duties will now start to take over the focal point of your customer support rep and that spells trouble.
More often than not customer support representatives get consumed with extra duties and lose sight of his or her specific job function. Often times managers lose sight of the customer support rep’s main purpose too. Once this happens, no matter the blame, customer support declines. The new, enthusiastic client support rep is now either worried about getting all the filing done before the end of the day OR trying his or her best to complete side work for a chance at advancement. The same holds true for the customer support rep’s supervisor pushing too many side tasks onto the customer service rep and/or asking too much with too little time, ultimately losing sight of Customer Service.
Now we have a problem. If the focal point of the customer service job is filing or any other side task, then we have a big problem. Now we go from “how may I help you today” to “I don’t have time- I’ll have to call them back” and that is a HUGE problem.
The focal point on customer service is Customer Service. I know this sounds elementary or maybe a little trivial but this is exactly how it happens and I hope this blog post will remind some of you. By being aware of a problem that happens every single day and in most companies, we can monitor and address the situation. You can find out if your customer support rep is helping customers or more worried about finishing the months’ invoices. I know invoices are important, but not to the Customer Support Rep, if that’s what he or she was hired to do. Find someone else to invoice if your client support rep is handling calls all day. Eliminate side jobs if your customer support rep is busy fielding calls at a high rate. If you must assign side work during down time, make sure that work doesn’t have to be completed by any type of deadline. That’s the type of distraction (worry) that some customer support reps concern themselves with while letting your customers (life blood) wait on hold, only to be answered by someone that seems predisposed or even a little terse. Or even worse, have to wait for a “call back” that should have been answered in the first place.
No matter what service you are performing or product you’re selling, customer support will always be the back bone of your company. It would be to your advantage to make sure your customer support reps are happy, motivated to help clients and not worried about side work. And by all means, make sure your client support reps are in good spirits every morning, if not, maybe give him or her the day off if needed. Client support can be a tough and unthankful job but you never, ever want an un-happy client support rep answering your phones. It can cost YOU your job!