Choose your Attitude in Advance
By Jessie Johnson
First thing a person has to possess in dealing with customers, especially the difficult ones such as the “long term” customer who in fact has only been with the company for a few weeks and is always seeking discounts, is an attitude. That does not mean the “I can’t help you because I really don’t care cause I am here only for a pay check,” attitude. Unfortunately there are a lot of employee’s who think this way. Let’s define attitude: According to Webster attitude is “the way you think and feel about someone or something.”
The first part of the definition is very important. It notes that attitude depends on how you think and feel. Both of these factors are fluid which means they can change at any given point. A good example, you may not like that new band at first but after listening to them for a while you begin to change and actually enjoy their music. Customer service requires you to have a good attitude, not just when you “feel” like it. But if you want to be successful you must have great attitude all the time even on the days you don’t feel like it. You basically have only two types of attitude: Good and bad.
A customer calls in and does nothing but complain no matter how much you try to help them. By the time your call ends your attitude has hit rock bottom. Your next call comes in and they want to buy four packs of your company’s widgets but they have a few questions because they are comparing yours to another companies. The last call already put you in a bad mood, your break is in five minutes and now you have a customer who wants to play 21 questions. Instead of taking the time to answer them you send them to the FAQ on your company’s web site. After all that’s what it was meant for right? As you go on break you manager tells you that you are needed for overtime and it is a Friday. How do you think the rest of your day is going to go? Probably not very good.
Try this. It takes approximately 21 days to create a habit. What if you could make having a great attitude to point where everything just rolls off your back a habit? Every day for the next 21 days tell yourself that you are going to have a great day. It matters not if it’s cloudy, raining and you have a flat tire. You’re still going to have a great day. And BELIEVE it. Not only will you begin to see the effect at work but you will see a change in your personal life as well. This is only the beginning though. It takes more than just saying it because you’re going to have challenges throughout this time, you must believe it. You must determine ahead of time how you’re going to deal with them in advance. Are you going to be reactive or proactive? Let’s take a closer look at what this means.
Reactive: Responding to problems when they occur instead of preventing them.
Proactive: Controlling a situation by making things happen and preparing for possible problems in the future. You can have a great attitude and be reactive but it won’t really get you anywhere. You have a caller say that your widget won’t hold a charge on the battery. You can either replace the battery or send them to tier two. But what if you get something like 4 or 5 calls like this? Then what? You can be proactive. You could check with your manager and see if this has been reported yet if not then gather as much information as you can then pass it over to upper management and engineering. Being pro-active can help bring a problem to an end before it gets out of hand which will lead to angry customers which leads to angry customer service reps which lead to loss of customer retention since they will be given a bad attitude right back. Reacting to an angry customer by giving them an attitude back in the same manor can only damage the relationship with the company and you make your company look bad since you are the first line of contact which makes you an official ambassador for your company. Are you going to embarrass your company or are you going to be proactive and realize ahead of time that you will get angry customers and know how to deal with them in advance? So what is the best way to do this? In my experience the best thing to do is to just let them rant and rave and get it out of their system. Remember they are not angry at you, they are frustrated and just want help. By the end of the call they will be thanking you and possibly even apologizing for how they acted. I have had this happen many times all because I choose to keep a great attitude and be proactive.
Out of all my 15 years in customer service I have to say that I enjoy the irate customer the most because they are an opportunity to make things right. Plus it allows me to showcase my skills to my managers. To show the integrity your company has. At the end of the day you can leave knowing that you actually did a great job by really helping someone. People think that customer service is easy. It is far from being easy. It is a very stressful job. People don’t choose customer service because it’s easy they do it because it is hard. Customer service reps are a special breed of people. They are not only the type of person who enjoys a challenge but thrives in the stress as well. You know the rigorous demands that the position requires. The best rewards for this goes beyond the monetary. You helped someone who had a problem. The challenge of solving an issue that cannot be solved in a conventional way. The triumphant feeling you get when you are able to go above and beyond to handle the issue to please the customer. So remember it is your attitude that plays a role in determining the success of your company. Another added bonus for having a good attitude is that it makes you a company asset and not a liability. Your attitude will determine your own personal success in your growth with your company. Only you can determine where you will go.