ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

15 Tips on How to Work in a Customer Service Job

Updated on August 11, 2017
davidlivermore profile image

David has over 10 years supervisory experience and has extensive knowledge in how to handle personnel issues across many areas.

The Customer is Sometimes Right

Preparing for a customer service job is tough, especially when the customer thinks they are always right.
Preparing for a customer service job is tough, especially when the customer thinks they are always right. | Source

What is a Customer Service Job?

A customer service job involves working with customers, typically on a full time basis. This could be something as simple as fast food, or something much harder like pleasing a client at a fortune 500 company. Both circumstances are the same - you have to work to please your customer so that they walk away satisfied.

However, customer service is a dangerous thing now a days. Your actions can be caught on camera, your words can be recorded, and every action is watched. If you do your job and keep your nose clean, you can be fine. But you need to prepare yourself before you go into work each day for those possibilities.

Starbucks Excellent Customer Service

Smiling While Helping a Customer

A good smile always lets the customer know they are welcomed.
A good smile always lets the customer know they are welcomed. | Source

Preparing for a Customer Service Job

Before you set foot on your job, you need to prepare for that job mentally. Customer service can be a horrible experience, especially if you deal with customers that are unhappy. So here is how you can prepare beforehand:

  1. Remember the times you were the customer. Think of all of the times you experienced bad customer service. What could have the person done differently to make it a better experience? More importantly, think of how a customer would feel when you treat them badly. If you put yourself in their shoes, then you will have a better understanding of their needs.
  2. Be prepared to be yelled and berated at. When a customer is unhappy, they will make it known. Some will just yell at you, others will call you names. You may even have one or two that may resort to physical violence. Just prepare for those incidents so you can protect yourself. If you try to diffuse the situation, things like this may never happen. If you cry easily or get intimidated, that will be bad. Just have a stone-skin, let the customer vent, and handle the situation appropriately.
  3. Practice smiling. A smile goes a long way in a customer service job. It makes the customer feel like you want to help them, that you are welcoming them in instead of making them feel like they are bothering you. Don't make it a fake smile, but a genuine smile. I go up to customer service representatives who are smiling, as opposed to ones who aren't.
  4. Know that you can't please everyone. It's impossible to please everyone in a customer service job. Either you can't give them what they want due to internal policy, or they are just asking for the impossible. You'll have to learn to tell them "no" when the need arises. That's when you need to be prepared to be yelled at. Keep in mind that you may receive complaints against you as well. As long as you act properly and follow your organization's policies, you shouldn't have a thing to worry about.
  5. Do research about your organization. See what previous customers have complained about. Go in and watch how employees there handle customers, especially the ones with complaints. If you see what they do wrong and do right, you will know what to do when you go in there. If you see a common customer complaint, be prepared for that and learn what to do in those situations before they come up.

An Example of Bad Customer Service

Helping the Customer

Customer service is all about helping people.
Customer service is all about helping people. | Source

Working a Customer Service Job

Once you start your customer service job, you will have a lot to learn. Even if you have a degree, it won't tell you how your company handles your customers. So that is something you have to learn, and hopefully will be trained for. Keep the following tips in mind when on the job learning to assist your customers:

  1. Learn your organization's policies when it comes to helping customers. Knowing how to handle customers in your organization is important. A lot of places just won't have a book for you to review with every situation. So you have to ask your supervisor, and learn from your experiences.
  2. Bend the rules for your customers. The rules aren't meant to be broken, but they are meant to be bent for your customers from time to time. Don't get yourself in trouble, but if you find you can get something done for a customer without crossing the line, then do so. They will appreciate it and keep coming back.
  3. Try to avoid using the words, "I don't know". If you have to say that you don't know something, state that you will find out. For example, "I don't know, but let me find out for you." The customer doesn't know if it's your first day on the job or the 1,000th day on the job. They will expect you to know, and if you don't, that you know how to find the answer for them.
  4. Keep your cool. Some customers will try to rile you up and get you upset at them. The motive doesn't matter, you just have to prevent yourself from showing that you are upset. This isn't something you can prepare for, you just have to know at that moment to keep yourself calm. If your emotions don't wavier, then you'll get through the situation just fine.
  5. Protect yourself. As bad as it sounds, some customers will intentionally try to get you in trouble, even if you handled things correctly. So keep proper documentation and advise your supervisor of any situations as they arise. You never know who you could be dealing with who will try to get you in trouble, or worse yet, fired from your job.

Example of Being Recorded Providing Bad Customer Service

Cameras, Videos, and Customer Service

The camera will always be fixed on you at any customer service job.
The camera will always be fixed on you at any customer service job. | Source

Have you ever been involved in a recorded incident involving bad customer service?

See results

Protecting Yourself at a Customer Service Job

As scary as it sounds, you have to protect yourself when working with a customer. You never know who could be watching you and keeping track of what you are doing - supervisor or customer. The following tips will help accomplish that:

  1. Assume you are always being watched. If you are on the sales floor, assume you are being watched from the ceiling. If you are in a call center, then you are probably having others listen in on your phone call.
  2. You can be recorded at anytime. Recording devices are so small, you don't even know they are there. You could be making the headlines if you do something so outrageous it appears on the news. That's an easy way to get terminated from your job and never to find another one again.
  3. Be ready to call security. People tend to get more physical now a days. They won't hesitate to get in your face, start breaking things, etc. So don't hesitate to call security if the need arises. If they are a good security force, then you won't even have to call them, they will be right there.
  4. Watch your merchandise and money. People will try to cheat and steal from you, if they see that it's easy. If you open your register and they try to distract you, someone could come up and swipe some money out of your drawer. While it may not be your job to stop it when it happens, it is your job to prevent it from happening.
  5. Properly document everything. If something bad happens with a customer, document everything. When it happened, what happened, what they said, etc. If you have documentation and paperwork involved, keep it in a safe place. If you organization is sued for the incident, you could get pulled into court and have to defend your actions.

© 2013 David Livermore

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • realjobsfromhome profile image

      realjobsfromhome 

      3 years ago

      All I can say is wow. I'm so glad I don't work in customer service anymore.

    • Michael Tully profile image

      Michael Tully 

      5 years ago

      Excellent advice for all customer service reps, David, whether new or experienced. Something I've noticed in my more than 30 years in various customer service roles is that over the years, customers have gotten progressively more rude, demanding, and pushy. There seems to be a general decline of civillity in society as a whole. At any rate, CSR's have to be exceptionally thick-skinned these days, sad to say. Your advice about being prepared to be yelled at and berated, and protecting yourself, is spot-on. Voted up++.

    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 

      5 years ago from UK

      David, congratulations on presenting a great guide to giving excellent customer service. I hope lots of customers who might be ringing a call center or visiting a store or business where they need to speak to someone about a problem will read it too as it is good to be able to empathize with the difficulties the customer service adviser has to work under!

      Beffore I became a PA, my job involved having to provide customer service to people whose businesses (restaurants and hotels) depended on the laundry company I worked for getting it right - otherwise they had no chefs' uniforms, tablecloths, bedlinen or towels!

      They often shouted or were rude, but I made many friends among them who would make a point of calling me personally if they had a problem. Not because I was brilliant at my job, but because I really cared about their business, understood their frustrations and would honestly do all I could to help.

      Putting yourself in the other guy's shoes is the key for both customer and customer service provider!

      Thanks for a great read, voted up and shared.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)