Customer Service – An Oft-Forgotten Art

Before I came to work as a Client Manager at Point It, I worked as a customer service agent at Amazon. Amazon, as you may know, is a company that prides itself on incredible customer service. After experiencing both sides of that coin, I can attest to the truth behind such a claim. Just take a look at Amazon’s Leadership Principles, and you’ll notice that “Customer Obsession” is number 1. How do they define that?

“Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.”

Whether you work at an agency, own your own business, or are a contributor at a huge corporation, you’re going to need customer service skills at some point in your career. It’s a soft skill that’s difficult to teach and equally difficult to learn, but here are some tips that may help if you ever find yourself in frustrating customer situations:

  1. Respond – don’t react: It seems like common sense, but remember to stop and think before you reply to an upset customer. A response requires some thought and consideration; a reaction is usually kneejerk and often not the best way to resolve a sticky situation.
  2. Sympathize: Put yourself in your client’s shoes. Would you be upset at the results your campaigns have been getting? Maybe you’re getting some pressure from above? There are so many factors in people’s lives that dictate the way they behave in stressful situations, so be sure to make an effort to be mindful of that.
  3. Don’t take things personally: Sometimes, it may seem like clients or customers are getting a bit personal when they’re frustrated – believe me, I’ve had my share of difficult customer calls in my years of client communication – but the best advice I can give is to let the negativity roll off your back. Don’t just hold it in and explode, and don’t react in anger in the heat of the moment. If you need some relief, go out and take a walk. Or buy a punching bag. 🙂

In the end, it’s best to remind yourself that great companies are built on great customers (and great people and great products). Don’t ever forget how powerful word of mouth can be when someone has an amazing customer service experience.

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