These are the responses of a customer service representative who is receiving some criticism or coaching from his boss. The employee’s words are filled with defensiveness, but they are also based on the assumption in the employee’s mind that they delivered solid customer service. If the employee answered the customer’s question, wasn’t rude, stated a policy, completed a transaction, or returned a customer’s call, then didn’t he provide great customer service? Shouldn’t he be immune from any criticism?
The problem is that too many employees define great customer service or serving the customer in this way – “I responded to or reacted to the customer. I didn’t yell or scream. I addressed the facts and policies. I completed the task.”
In reality, these are the lowest expectations of someone in customer service. These are definitions of the bare minimum. These are characteristics of the Reactive Representative. When a customer engages the Reactive Representative, oftentimes the following occur:
- The employee never moves toward the customer. Because if the customer needed something, the employee feels that the customer would go to the employee.
- If the employee does move, he moves past the customer, rarely with eye contact. Because the employee is going somewhere, and the employee believes that if the customer needs them, the customer should ask.
- The greeting never happens. Because the employee is waiting for the customer to say something.
- There’s dead silence. Because the employee is waiting for the customer to ask the next question.
- (Positive) Expressions don’t exist. Because the employee is thinking about a task, not about how they’re coming across to the customer.
- The transaction ends in silence. Because the employee didn’t initiate the thanks.
These are examples of an employee expecting the customer to initiate and carry the conversation, the customer to create a positive tone, and the customer to clearly state their need or issue. These are also all examples of HORRIBLE customer service.
Don’t be the Reactive Representative. Be proactive. Be positive. Be the reason that the customer wants to return.