Identifying Customer Service Reps Who Just Get It

Each month, I read hundreds of my printer clients’ buyer surveys and the same CSR names come up in the comments. Buyers go out of their way to explain their appreciation to these reps’ bosses and rave about the service they received on their last orders.

These standout CSRs are remarkable at serving customers. They drive repeat orders, generate referrals and build a reputation for great service for their employers. They take the position seriously. These CSRs get it.

I have attempted to summarize what makes these CSRs so special to hopefully raise the bar and challenge all CSR teams to do better. Our industry needs more CSRs who embody the following characteristics and approach to the job:

1) They know the four steps to managing an effective customer service request.

These CSRs are proficient at: (1) engaging customers to lead them through the conversation, (2) asking the right questions to understand their needs, (3) explaining a possibly approach to solve a need, and, most importantly, (4) gaining a commitment or agreement before moving ahead. If you have CSRs who routinely work through these four essential steps, then give them a raise. Customers love the way they take control to ensure the right outcome.

Do you have a CSR proficient in this area? Make that person the team leader and have others watch her/him in action.

2) They know how to ask the right questions.

They are incredible listeners, acknowledge customer responses appropriately, and are disciplined in asking questions that are broad and deep enough to capture all essential information. Such pros even have a sheet in front of them with the different questions that should be asked to ensure they don’t miss anything important. Asking the right questions helps customers crystallize their thinking as the two parties team up on a solution. Give these CSRs the Investigative Reporter Award. They know how to probe.

Michael Casey is the founder of Survey Advantage and strategic partner with several printer associations and franchises. By leveraging information from a printer’s estimation and production software, Mike’s business has helped hundreds of printers automate their customer feedback and lead generation process. He may be reached via e-mail or (401) 560-0311 ext. 103. Read printer case studies on the Survey Advantage Website.
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  • Dick Rossman

    Great post Michael. If you ask a customer who the most important person in your company is, they’ll say their CSR!