Question: What have you learned about service from working with customers?

Answers from frontline reps —


One of the most important things that I have learned from being in customer service is patience. You have got to have patience when dealing with customers. In my work day, I deal with many varied types of customers. I have those customers that want to get what should be a 5 minute call done in 30 seconds. I also have those customers that want to make a call that should be 30 seconds into 15 minutes. I also get those customers that send me e-mails asking the same questions over and over, and getting the same response, but they will still ask those questions again the next day.

I have also found that customers believe strongly in the saying, “the customer is always right” — even when they aren’t. It is my job to make sure that my customer is taken care of, and leaves happy. However, I have to be able to balance making my customer happy, and making my boss happy by not giving away money when it isn’t warranted. If the customer is correct in what they say, then it is my job to try and make it up to the customer and keep them coming back in the future.

Balance is a key thing I have learned as well. I have learned that you can’t make everyone happy no matter how hard you might try. Someone is always going to come out second — not a loser, but not the winner that they think they should be.

This panel question asked what’s the most important thing you have learned about customer service…and the most important thing I’ve learned is to treat customers like you would want to be treated, or how you would want your family and friends treated. And that’s with respect at all times. However, I think unfortunately that not everyone that works in the customer service industry has learned this very important lesson.

Jo Sprowl, SKF USA Inc.


The most important thing I have learned about customer service from my experience in helping customers is to be a good customer myself. When I am speaking with a customer (or member) who is committed and engaged in finding options for assistance and working with me through the process of doing so, I am much more willing to extend more out-of-the-box options for that individual because my mind is open to the numerous possibilities available to him or her.

This is true for my experience calling in to other organizations. As a customer, if I am open to potentially unconventional options, I approach the interaction with an open mind. If I am in a place of tunnel vision, I am met with adversity and, often, do not gain the resolution desired. There is not always a way to solve customer concerns where a mutually agreeable solution can be obtained, but when approaching the interaction with a calm and open mind, I find that even if the result is not the most desirable, there is an understanding that both parties are working towards resolution.

Megann Wither, Navy Federal Credit Union


The most important thing that I have learned about customer service is the ability to listen. When you try to fix a problem or provide good service to a customer without actually listening to what they have to say, you make things worse for yourself and them. Our world today is fast paced, and we sometimes forget that giving a customer our full attention and listening to them is the backbone of good service. We only want to hurry up and get them on their way to help the next person in line. Yet if we don’t listen and fulfill their entire request, they are going to be right back in the line again, only more frustrated.

Rachel Dillon, Assurant Specialty Property


The most important thing I’ve learned is that on any and every interaction with a member/customer, you represent the face of your company, so you should always strive to exceed expectations.

Whether over the phone or in person, you want to make sure that you’re at your best. How you present yourself and how you speak should always be respectful and professional. I’ve learned always to display the best of myself, because we never know what’s going on in someone’s life or what their situation is. So in every interaction, I make it a point to put myself in their shoes so I can better understand them, and make sure that what they are calling/visiting us about is something that will truly benefit them.

Being in a financial institution, we’re looked at as trusted advisors, and customers depend on us to point them in the right direction and help them to make tough decisions. You never want someone’s first interaction with you to ruin their opinion of your organzation or cause them to lose trust in your organization’s dependability and credibility. You always want your interaction to be a great one. And creating moments of WOW for your members/customers will go a long way toward producing a positive experience and outlook for your organization.

This is by far the most important thing that I’ve learned.

Ray Picket, Navy Federal Credit Union

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