A day in the life of a customer service representative.

Best Customer Service: Tips from a former support representative

If you are looking for the best customer service, the following insider information will have customer support representatives eating from the palm of your hand.

It’s not easy being a customer service rep (as you can see in the image above). A typical day consists of assisting hundreds of annoyed individuals sprinkled with a handful of irate ones; and your job is to turn all those frowns upside-down. The truth is, regardless of treating a support representative poorly or with respect, it’s their job to help you with a positive attitude and they will most likely live up to their duty. BUT, if you are looking for the best support experience possible, I suggest the following.

Be Kind
The phrase “treat others how you want to be treated” goes an extraordinarily long way when dealing with a support rep. Approximately 50% of customers are indifferent, 30% are rude, 10% are shamefully rude, and 10% are pleasant. That 10% of pleasant customers is such a refreshing experience after dealing with everyone else, that you want to do everything possible to provide those pleasant customers with the best support possible to show your gratitude.

We realize customer support is a frustrating process; however, it’s in the customers best interest to stay friendly. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in life (I’m not exaggerating) is assist users who were treating me like dirt. It’s seriously the equivalent of being a server and a customer demanding “bring me my F&^*ing burger you waste of life” and then having to put one’s pride aside to perform the rudely requested task. It’s seriously an internal struggle and I would sometimes spend countless minutes exhausting all possible ways NOT to meet that rude customers request. Even the sweetest of customer service reps struggle with this. Most likely these customers will get what they are asking for in some shape or form, but if you want the best result possible, whether that means a full refund, return, etc., you’ll have a much better chance of achieving it with kindness and honesty; I promise.

Be Honest
Companies aren’t perfect, and neither are customers (though we were required to act as they were so). If you make a mistake that led to an erroneous charge or purchase (wrong product, color, operating system, etc.) you have a much better chance of rectifying the issue with a genuine explanation. I was always sympathetic toward someone who was honest and sincere about a user error. Rude and lofty excuse inquiries are few and far between, but they are easy to sniff out and you really have to dig deep from within to assist someone placing wrongful blame.

Be Concise
Long, drawn out explanations can distort the actual problem. This can negatively affect quality of support received. Try to be short and succinct whenever possible. Provide any pertinent information that will help the representative solve your issue. This usually entails account numbers, emails associated with account, and screenshots when necessary. I received way too many emails that were the length of a proper essay when they could have been summed up in a couple sentences. Keep it short and simple for a timely, effective response.

Send One (1) Inquiry
Essentially all online retailers use a support helpdesk. Helpdesks are intuitive software that help support teams manage inquiries more effectively. When you submit an inquiry, it goes to the end of the queue of all pending customer inquiries. One of the best features of a helpdesk is it’s ability to group multiple inquiries from one user. The problem is, when a user submits a second inquiry, the helpdesk combines it with the previous inquiry and sends it to the back of the line. Granted this is a user experience flaw that needs to be fixed, that is the norm as of now. I highly suggest waiting 4-5 business days before sending additional inquiries. If you choose to send another inquiry, I suggest using an alternative email to avoid  potentially losing your place “in line”.

Conclusion
As a former customer service representative, I now know exactly how to receive the best possible support as a customer. Be overly kind, sincere (sincerely complimenting their name or service does wonders!) and succinct and you will be rewarded with the best customer support possible. I guarantee it.

Any questions, comments, or concerns? Don’t hesitate to ask me @AllanBlocker!

  • K_town girl

    Oddly I agree with you 100%. After a customer has basically performed (and I say performed because getting a response from your CS makes the customer feel like a circus dog jumping through hoops while chasing his tail) each of your suggestions and they are still getting the same automated response to do the steps they have already “performed”that leads to no where. This is how CS creates the 30% rude and 10% shamefully rude. One very simple solution and I’m not a business genius would be to incorporate the use of a miraculous device invented years ago, that your company doesn’t employ called the telephone. By the way how does a successful business operate with out a phone system? I’m not suggesting an expensive toll free number, I would be happy to pay for the long distance call just to get some resolution. Day four for me and still waiting for some help with a purchase I regretfully placed with Spigen/Stack Social.

    • http://www.stacksocial.com/ Allan Blocker

      I completely understand your frustrations and I could see no phone support makes little to no sense.

      We actually offered phone support in the past and it resulted in more harm than good. The problem is, we have anywhere from 50-100 sales in any given week. These sales are also alternating on a daily basis. That being said, when one of our supports reps receives a support inquiry, it usually take a lot of digging to find answers. A # of these inquiries require contacting the developer for answers which can take up to 24 hours. Email is ideal because we can more affectively manage inquiries and gather answers for a more succinct response and resolution to an inquiry. Phone calls on the other hand are difficult to manage and we often take longer than the average consumer would want to spend on the phone trying to track down a resolution.

      That being said, our voicemails are logged and allow our support team to arm themselves with the proper information for a succinct return phone call.

      Hope this clears things up!

      • K_town girl

        With all due respect my order was placed on Jan 7, 2014; today is Jan 22, 2014 and I’m still trying to get my order. I’m not feeling the succinctness of your procedures.