Bridge Insights

5 Aspects of Customer Service Roles You’re Probably Getting Wrong

Dec 14, 2021

Successful businesses understand the importance of managing their customer service experience. Today more than ever, businesses are continuing to develop and grow their customer service experience. Why? Because modern customers’ expectations are higher than ever, and consumers are looking for seamless interactions when purchasing a product or employing a service.

Savvy business leaders know this and want to build a customer service team that can deliver. As a result, what a customer service representative’s job looks like has quickly shifted. Unfortunately, the consensus on what a modern-day customer service role looks like hasn’t quite kept up with this. For many job seekers, the ideas they have about #CSRlife cause them to avoid a very lucrative and rewarding career path.

Here are five aspects of a customer service job that you’re probably getting wrong:

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1. You’re Tied to the Phone All Day

In 2020, e-retail sales accounted for 18 percent of all retail sales worldwide. This is expected to grow to 21.8% by 2024. Because consumer shopping behavior has –and is continuing to — shift to be more digital, the ways customers will look for customer service have shifted, too.

Web-based customer support roles like chat, email, and even social media have carved a very strong space out of the customer service representative job market.

2. Being a Parrot vs. Problem Solving

The trend for businesses to embrace technology has also shifted the types of support a customer service representative gives to customers. Self-service and other automation technology is a large component of the shopping experience. This means that questions that could only be answered by a person (“What’s the status of my order?”, “Is this in stock?”, “I need to reset my password.”) have gone the way of automated FAQs or are available right from a customer portal.

For job seekers, considering a customer service job, this technology frees up customer service representatives to focus on the customers who have more complex inquiries and truly need help. This usually leaves professionals feeling more fulfilled since every day there are new issues and you’re exclusively speaking with people who have challenges that only you can help with. In turn, modern-day customer service representatives feel like they’re making a meaningful difference in people’s lives and have a job that makes them feel valued and doesn’t treat them like replaceable information dispensers.

3. Talking to Karen for 8 Hours

When you put yourself in the shoes of a customer service representative, you might think of a job where you interact exclusively with impatient, entitled Karen’s for 8 hours a day; it’s a demoralizing and degrading position to be in. Fortunately, the reality of working in a customer service role couldn’t be further from this.

Most customers call in because they have a problem they need to solve and want to solve it quickly. They are aware that they’re not the only person who’s called in today and trust that you know the best (and fastest) way to answer their question. The vast majority of people you’ll communicate with are looking to work with you to find a solution and will be appreciative when you do! They want to move on with their day as quickly as possible and being combative isn’t productive in making that happen.

That’s not to say that Karen’s aren’t out there, but most of the time, they just want their feelings to be heard. Usually, giving them a few seconds upfront to vent will be enough to clear the tension so that the two of you can get down to business.

4. Customer Service is not Sales

Many job seekers think that customer service jobs look like telemarketing jobs. While you could (depending on the role) be talking to strangers (think inbound call center), or even upselling a service as a solution to a customer’s concern, the function of a Customer Service job is not that of sales.

While you may see the occasional outbound sales job posting masquerading as a customer service position, don’t be fooled. Customer Service representatives are there to support the customer and help them with questions and provide answers, not pitch them on the latest and greatest product your company has.

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5. You Hit the Ground Running

Another big misconception about working in a customer service role is that it is a highly competitive and unsupportive working environment. This in large part derived from the myth that Customer Service reps simply repeat back information and a replaceable, so why would a business invest resources in a team that has a huge revolving door. Fortunately, this myth is a myth.

Smart businesses know that having a positive customer experience brings to their team, and will invest tons of resources into the department responsible for delivering that experience. Customer service departments are highly collaborative, provide on-the-job training,  and don’t pit rep against rep because of the goal about the overall experience for the customer, and not about any particular individual’s performance.

Is A Customer Service Job Right For you?

Many professionals describe being a Customer Service Representative as one the most rewarding career tracks of today. If you are truly passionate about helping others and love connecting with people, then customer service is the job for you!

The instant gratification you receive from being able to solve a customer’s concerns and the gratitude you’ll receive from the customers will truly give you a sense of purpose. No two days are the same, and you’ll be able to improve your emotional intelligence while having a tangible impact on people’s lives. Most customer service work environments are extremely collaborative, and you’ll have a support network within your organization because successful businesses understand want to give their customers the best experience possible and know that starts with building the best working environment for their customer service team.

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