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A complete look at the functions, qualities, and responsibilities of a customer service representative.
Who are customer service representatives? What is their role in the growth and functioning of your business? What are the day-to-day activities they take care of? If you’re looking to expand your customer support team, what are the qualities you should look for in your support reps?
In this comprehensive guide, you will find answers to all these questions and get a thorough idea of the duties and responsibilities of a customer service representative.
So, what does a customer service representative do?
The primary job of a customer service representative is to address customer issues and resolve them in a timely and efficient manner. Support reps interact with customers on a variety of channels such as phone, email, and social media, and ensure that all valid customer concerns are being dealt with immediately.
Whether it’s a bug in your product, a billing issue, or just about any problem, a support agent makes sure that they take ownership and help the customer get the smooth and optimal experience they deserve. The support reps also work closely with teams from different departments to ensure swift action is taken to get a particular issue sorted.
Now that you have a fair understanding of what a customer service rep does, let’s dive deeper into their responsibilities and objectives.
A customer service representative should be able to interact with a customer and immediately get the context of their problem. Support agents should have sound knowledge of the product/service which will help them suggest a solution to the customer right away. If the issue the customer is facing is beyond the immediate scope of the support rep, they should learn to escalate the problem to the right internal team(s) and follow up with them regularly for updates on the progress.
Here’s a look at all the key responsibilities of a service rep.
Customer service reps must take ownership of the customer’s problem and be the single point of contact for all enquiries related to the troubleshooting procedure, the expected resolution time, and updates on the progress made.
It’s important for a service rep to follow a customer-first attitude and leave no stone unturned in giving customers the best possible experience. Once a support ticket is assigned to them, they need to research all possible ways to troubleshoot the problem and quickly come up with a solution.
A lot of times in customer support, there are issues which are highly technical or beyond the scope of what a service rep can handle on the spot. For such cases, the support agent needs to make sure that the problem is being communicated to the right internal teams and that they take appropriate action to resolve it.
The work of a support rep does not end at just resolving a customer issue. They also need to follow up with the customer, find out if the solution actually worked, and take note of the customer’s suggestions on what can potentially improve their experience.
The solution to every customer problem provides a valuable learning experience to service reps. They should be able to document this knowledge in the form of help content or solution articles so that the same problems don’t occur in the future.
All of the above tasks can be made easier if your company is using a dedicated customer support software. Your support agents should be able to quickly pick up the functionalities of the helpdesk and resolve customer problems in a more streamlined manner.
Service reps have to be quick on their feet, excel in having good conversations with customers, exhibit mastery in the product/service, and have a positive outlook that isn’t put down by a bad customer interaction. Here are some of the skills that every support agent in your team should possess.
Service reps should be pleasant and empathetic while they’re interacting with customers. They must have great listening skills to understand what the customer really wants and should also have patience to handle conversations effectively irrespective of the customer’s skill level.
It’s always good to have a support agent who’s well versed with your product and is familiar with the latest technologies in customer support. They can use their technical know-how to solve complex customer issues and also help new team members adapt to your company’s support routines quickly.
As customer support is one of the most chaotic departments within a company, a support rep must be able to multitask seamlessly between tasks like handling high priority tickets, documenting solution articles, and preparing notes for meetings/events in a way such that their time and energy is divided optimally.
Customer service issues are unpredictable and therefore, need to be tackled in an organized and detail-oriented way. Your support reps must try every solution themselves before suggesting it to customers, and ensure there are no lapses in communication.
Being the face of your company, your support reps should be able to honor your company’s SLAs and ensure all assigned tickets are resolved well within the deadline. If a particular ticket is out of their scope, they must follow standard procedures to escalate it to the right team.
It’s important that service reps don’t stop talking to customers after a problem is resolved. They can also take the liberty to proactively communicate with customers and find out if it’s been a smooth sail for them with regards to the product and if they have any feedback they’d like to share.
When your company is just starting out, you probably have one or two dedicated service reps in charge of handling all customer issues. However, as your business grows, this setup will no longer be feasible and you will have to start looking for ways to scale your support team. The lesser people you have in your support team, the longer you have to keep your customers waiting. As a result, your customer base will become increasingly more frustrated with the slow response times, which can consequently hamper your company’s progress.
It’s the right time to scale your support team and start hiring more support reps when:
As you scale your support team, you will also realize that there needs to be a clear distinction between customer support and customer success if your business is to grow at a rapid pace. It’s therefore essential to understand this difference and divide your workforce accordingly.
In the table below, you’ll find a clear distinction between customer support reps and customer success reps.
A customer support representative’s primary objective is to understand the customer’s problem and troubleshoot it with an optimal and effective solution.
Customer support processes focus on short-term customer goals and do not directly impact revenue and other long term objectives. Some highlights of their functions are:
A customer support team’s underlying focus is on problem solving in the short term.
A customer success representative’s primary focus is to empower customers to succeed with your product or service in the long term.
Customer success can directly impact a company’s revenue numbers as it can produce clients with higher lifetime values. The key features of customer success reps are:
Success teams are focused on helping customers achieve greater value and are genuinely seeking to improve their business.
They generate more downstream impacts such as bigger returns on investment, more reselling, better retention, and higher order values.
Customer success teams should target their efforts on the account level, taking an almost account-based marketing approach to customer success.
Key performance indicators of customer success teams are lifetime value, upsell and cross-sell rate, customer churn, net promoter score.
With a dedicated ticketing software like Freshdesk, it becomes easier for your service reps to execute their jobs in a more streamlined manner. They can access customer requests from multiple communication channels through a unified database, automate repetitive tasks, and ensure deadlines are being adhered to.
To access important contextual information about a customer, the service rep will require access to a CRM software. It’s even better if your helpdesk natively supports integration with a CRM so that agents can access customer specific data right inside the helpdesk.
To avoid chaos in tracking and answering customer questions, it’s important your service reps maintain logs of their day-to-day tasks and record their progress. Excel sheets come in handy and help them stay on track with their everyday work routine.
Freshdesk’s ticketing system is one of the most refined solutions out there and has a lot of extensive features to make life easier for your support reps. Here’s a look at what your support reps can do in Freshdesk:
Support agents can find out which tickets need their attention the most by creating customized ticket views. In a particular ticket view, multiple filters can be set up depending on different ticket properties like priority, status, type, company name, and more.
Learn more about customized ticket views in Freshdesk
Freshdesk lets your service reps create workflows to automate certain repetitive tasks. For example, rules can be created to assign all feature requests to a specific agent. These workflows can be executed instantly.
Learn more about automations in Freshdesk
To save time on responding to common questions, Freshdesk lets support reps create canned responses. Your agents can insert canned responses in one click, without spending time typing manual replies. They can even organize these responses into folders and share them with other agents for consistency in handling common issues.
Learn more about canned responses in Freshdesk
Freshdesk makes it easy to forward tickets to third parties and external teams with a single click. Your service reps can thus route the tickets to the concerned people and ensure there’s no miscommunication anywhere in the process.
Learn more about ticket forwarding in Freshdesk
Freshdesk has agent collision detection features to prevent multiple support agents from working on the same ticket. An agent will be notified whenever there’s another agent viewing or typing a reply on the same ticket. The agent can then quickly move on to other tickets without having to needlessly do repetitive work.
Learn more about agent collision detection in Freshdesk
Freshdesk is tightly integrated with multiple third-party applications such as CRMs, email marketing tools, and/or team collaboration software. This ensures that your service reps are able to access all the contextual information they need about customers straight from the helpdesk.
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