Customer Experience Featured Article

Nothing Can Stop Customer Service Agents Who Actually Like Their Job

January 30, 2015

As someone who regularly doles out advice on how to boost the customer experience, it is a bit awkward to admit that customer service strategy has its limits. While there definitely is much that a business can do to improve its customer experience, one of the most important aspects is one that can hardly be affected through corporate policies.

The most important element when it comes to delivering a good customer experience is having customer service agents who actually like people.

This is basic knowledge but it gets lost in the conversation much of the time.

The equation is simple: You want customers who are happy. People are relational. So when they talk with someone at your company, you pretty much want that person to be someone who is happy to talk with the customer.

An agent who genuinely is happy to talk with the customer will communicate this pleasure all throughout the customer interaction and in a multitude of ways. It will show in tone the agent uses with the customer. It will be visible in the way the agent cares for the customer and anticipates the customer’s needs. It will be present in the rapport between the agent and the customer. And it will manifest itself in many other ways, too.

This cannot be taught.

An agent cannot be told to like the customer and enjoy his or her job. This is something that comes from within, and is hard to influence by customer experience strategy. There’s no way to actually make someone like customers if they don’t actually like customers.

But there is a way that businesses can use this knowledge and influence it: They can pay more attention to hiring the right people, and to monitoring them to determine who is genuinely interested in the customer.

To have agents who are not social and into other people is, at its core, a failure of human resources. But it also is a failure to value social skills and healthy people. Far too often we think caring can be faked. And worse, that caring doesn’t matter. But it does, and it shows implicitly in every customer service agent.

It also is a failure to understand that hiring the right people is really, really important. We can nibble around the edges by applying customer experience strategy. But at the end of the day, one of the most important determinants of customer service success is whether or not the agent we’ve hired is into the other person and liking the interaction.

This isn’t an attack on strategy as much as it is a call to the fundamentals. Hiring the right talent matters.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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