If you owned your own business, would you provide your customers with a tiered service system? Why or why not?
Tiered service system is based on the idea that customer service in the company should consist of two or even three levels (tiers) of customer support. The first, basic level of support implies that the customer will be provided with general information about the product either online, or directly through the support representative, who usually has a broad knowledge about the product, but might be unaware about specific details. The second level involves a professional help of a supervisor or an expert in a particular field.
Whether to employ a tiered service system in particular business depends on the type of the latter. There is no need for this system if you are working in the small-scale retail business, but if you have a software company which provides services for a huge amount of customers, the establishment of tiered service system will eventually become a necessity. Therefore, if I owned my own business, I would consider two main factors before deciding whether to create a tiered service system or not. First factor is the geographical scale and the amount of potential customers. In this case, the bigger your business is, the more clients you have, the bigger is the need to establish a complex, tiered service system which will provide effective and comprehensive support of the customers.
The second factor is the nature of the product or service that you are offering to your customers. The necessity of tiered service system directly depends on the complexity of your product or service. If your business involves production and sale of high-technology equipment, a well-organized, multilevel service system must become an essential and integral part of your enterprise.
List the five critical skills and competencies a customer service representative must possess and discuss why.
Every customer service representative must possess the ability to communicate clearly with a customer either in person, over the phone or through email. Good communication skills also imply the ability to listen attentively and understand customer`s concerns, as well as to be able to effectively articulate the possible solution to the problem. It means that when talking to a customer, customer representative must speak loud and clear enough. During the conversation it is important to use positive and upbeat tone; when communicating through email or any writing correspondence, it is essential to use proper spelling and grammar.
An ability to understand customer`s emotional state is one of the skills that every customer representative must possess. While previously mentioned communication skill helps to understand the client`s needs and be able to articulate the solution to the problem, the ability to empathize and understand client`s feelings and emotions, in other words, to be able to put yourself into customer`s position, is a crucial skill that might lead to resolving of even the most complicated problem.
Another basic skill which is essential for a successful work of customer service representative is professionalism or ability to perform working duties correctly. It is clear, that even if the customer representative is sympathetic and possesses impeccable communication skills, without deep knowledge of the product or service that his company is offering he will be of little use to the customer. Customer reps` professionalism is defined by a variety of skills that he must possess in order to provide effective assistance to the customers. These days, the majority of the companies are working online, and every employee must have basic computer skills. This is even more important for a customer representative who is often involved in online communication with the clients either through email or chats. Apart from the profound knowledge of the product, customer representative must have a good memory in order to memorize guidelines and internal policy of the company and then be able to apply them in specific situations. Time management skills are also important for every customer representative. The ability to respond quickly to the requests is the thing that will always be appreciated by the customers, and will eventually contribute to the positive image of the company.
Conflict Resolution and Creativity Skills
This skill comes handy when the customer representative faces a particular problem that requires resolution. Most of the companies have special rules and guidelines that must be applied in cases of conflict resolutions. However, there might be cases when general rules do not apply, and it is necessary to use creative, and most importantly, individual approach to the settlement of the problem.
Self-control and Patience
Apart from purely professional skills mentioned above, every customer service representative must have certain personal qualities. Among a variety of these qualities, it seems that patience and self-control are essential to this profession. One of the peculiarities of this job is that the customer representatives often have to deal with “difficult”, hot-tempered customers. If we are faced with angry or aggressive behavior, at most times, we become angry or aggressive too. However, if you are working as a customer representative, you must not let the emotions overcome the common sense. It is imperative to stay calm in all situations.