According to the research study completed by Oracle in partnership with Jeanne Bliss, “One Size Doesn’t Fit All,” 60% of consumers want to interact with a human when they reach out to customer service. Speaking to a customer service representative offers human interaction, helps resolve the customer’s issue, and provides a good customer experience. That said, proper training and valuable experience attribute to a successful interaction between customers and service reps.
Looking to get started with a career in service but not sure where to begin? In the final part of our tips for graduates series, we asked CX professionals for their best advice for those seeking a career in service, and here’s what we learned:
Train yourself in public speaking
“When you dive into a career in service and customer experience, you’ll often have to speak in front of groups, shareholders, clients, and colleagues. Learn how to convey a compelling message to your audience and how to deal with stage fright. Also, consider digging
into behavioral psychology to gather valuable insights and truly reach the customers.”
- Antonia Korcheva, Digital Marketing Specialist, Enhancv
Show you’re a team player
“To excel in customer service and customer experience, you must understand that the role is deeply interconnected with other departments in the company. Customers calling with a range of issues means you need to speak the language of various departments.
One great piece of advice is to show you’re a team player in your job interviews. It takes a high level of emotional intelligence to work with other sectors in the company and resolve customer issues. Likewise, you should show you’re well-read on a variety of topics, from IT to marketing. This could allow you to get more job offers in the service sector.”
- Grant Aldrich, Founder & CEO, Online Degree
Find the right niche
“Service is a very personal niche and one that has many different aspects. It can take time to find the right fit for you. Choosing to specialize in an area that you’re most enthused about and that serves demographics that you best connect with will make your work far more rewarding, and it will allow you to perform more effectively too.
Specializing also enables you to develop a track record and reputation in your field that’ll make you stand out to recruiters later on and allow you to progress more quickly up the career ladder. If you don’t find that your first couple of roles are a good fit, don’t write off the field entirely – just try another specialty until you find your groove!”
- John Moss, CEO, English Blinds
Prepare for the lifelong journey
“You need to begin somewhere, and having previous work or volunteer experience where you’ve dealt with customers on a frequent basis is simply a must. This shows beyond any doubt that you’ve already been there, done that, and you’re familiar with the requirements and expectations of being a successful customer service employee.
Develop your communication and client management skills. These may seem obvious, but they’re not as easy to master as it would seem. After all, there’s an almost infinite number of ad hoc requests and unusual questions that can catch you off guard. Thus, becoming a great customer service representative is a lifelong journey.”
- Peter Bryla, Community Manager, ResumeLab
Improve your emotional intelligence
“Whether you’re based in the backend or in a front-facing role, it’s crucial to work on improving your emotional intelligence. This quality helps you cope with everyday life, affects the quality of your relationships with clients and colleagues, and determines how effective you are at work. To succeed in service, take the time to learn about other people’s motivations, goals, pain points, and emotions, and find out how you can be of value to them.”
- Connie Heinzt, Founder, DIYoffer
Search strategically for the right company
“Look for customer-service oriented companies over profit-oriented ones. Customer service-oriented organizations focus on helping people. Profit-oriented companies focus on their assets and income-generating interests. Look for companies that treat their customers like a king or queen. A company that listens to its customers takes action immediately to satisfy their concerns. A shared purpose and commitment will boost your career fulfillment towards the right organization.”
- Karl Armstrong, Founder, EpicWin App
Empathy is key
“If you want to be in service, put yourself in the shoes of your customer and do everything you can to solve their problem. Understand and address their underlying desires. If you can do that, you’ll have a great career in service.”
- Neal Taparia, CEO, Solitaired
Build good habits
“Service industry jobs can be very emotionally draining, although very rewarding for those well-suited for it. For new college grads entering this industry, I’d recommend building some good coping mechanisms and habits to keep your body and mind healthy in order to continue to do your job well.”
- Kimberly Porter, CEO, Microcredit Summit
Reach for possibilities
“Serving people has no limits when it comes to chances. You’re there to attend to someone else’s needs and provide solutions to their problems, and trust me when I say, that opportunities are everywhere. Interact with others about their desires and search for ways how you can serve your purpose. It’s a good approach to gain good customer experiences in your career.
I always thought I had to do what only tickles my interest, but those are just the extras. The real thing comes along once you step out of your comfort zone and explore more of the world. Taking every opportunity will make you feel more confident and versatile. You may succeed on some and fail on others, but what matters is you tried and there’s no harm in
- Laurie Wilkins, Founder, Call Outdoors
Define who you want to work with
“To avoid burnout and frustration in the field of service, it’s important to discover and define what type of people you want to work with. Think about your personality, what you’re passionate about, and what type of environments you thrive in. That will determine the type of service field you should go into!”
- Chelsea Wiltse, Resume Writer & Career Coach, Seasoned and Growing
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