The Beginner’s Guide to Customer Service Responsibilities

Customer service is not as easy as you think it to be. Since customer service represents the face of your company to customers, your support team should be very careful when handling customers and customer issues. One wrong move and it can bring down the reputation of your company. 

Whether you’re considering a career in customer support or you are looking to hire a customer service representative, here is what you need to know. 

Who Is a Customer Service Representative?

A customer service rep or representative is someone who acts as a primary point of contact between the company/brand and the customer. Every business needs customer service representatives to support and provide information to customers, as well as build loyalty with their customers. While we often imagine support teams of large companies working in call centers and offering support primarily through phone, every company now has the technology to support its customers and solve customer issues across different channels like email, live chat, call and social media too. 

What Does a Customer Service Representative Do?

The most common function of a customer service representative is to answer and resolve customer queries and problems. This could vary from providing information, assisting with orders, purchase, billing issues, processing refunds, offering suggestions on products and services, and much more. Today, the customer service reps receive and resolve queries from the customers via phone calls, email, social media, chat and more recently, messaging software such as Whatsapp. Though different industries have different requirements from the customer service representatives, the basic function revolves around customer interaction. 

The Duties and Responsibilities of a Customer Service Representative

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s move on to the duties and responsibilities of customer service reps. 

#1 Be the face of the company 

Never forget that when interacting with a customer, support agents carry the weight of the brand’s reputation on their shoulders. Even small things like beginning the conversation with a warm greeting or maintaining a friendly tone goes a long way in creating a good impression. This helps establish a long-term relationship with the customer and will, in turn, build customer loyalty

#2 Analyze the customer issues and offer solutions

Unfortunately, most customers only reach out to customer support when they need information or something goes wrong. That’s why it’s important to understand that every customer will expect a sense of urgency, and empathy, from your support team. Always have a customer-first approach and strive to provide the best support experience to your customers. When a customer issue arises, make sure you analyze all the possibilities of the issue and then provide a solution to the customer. But at the same time, you should also be quick to do it so as not to exceed the SLA (Service Level Agreement) of your company. 

#3 Generate sales leads 

It is often thought that the role of a customer service representative is only to answer the queries of the customer. But being the direct contact between customers and the company offers many possibilities for customer support reps to generate new business leads. As a support rep, you can find opportunities where you can up-sell and cross-sell new features and products to your customers. For instance, a customer who wants to withdraw or cancel a purchase can again be converted to a lead by offering the right deal or offer for their next purchase. 

#4 Master the support software and tools 

Implementing a dedicated tool for customer support can help you streamline your workflows and solve customer issues across channels seamlessly. You can also automate your support operations to reduce the time you spend on mundane or repetitive tasks, and focus on having meaningful conversations instead. This will help streamline your workflows and also offer solutions to your customers quickly. However, no matter which customer support software you decide to implement for your team, it is critical to arrange proper training and onboarding so your reps can understand and adopt the new software to its full potential.

#5 Collect feedback from customers 

The job of a customer service representative does not end with just solving the query of the customer. It also includes collecting feedback from the customer and ensuring that they received a satisfactory resolution.  This is done either through a survey or a three, five or seven-point rating scale. Feedback also helps a support rep reflect on their performance. While positive feedback can boost an agent’s morale, it is a negative feedback that helps one identify where they lag. 

#6 Offer proactive support to customers 

As a customer service representative, apart from answering your customers’ queries, it is your responsibility to anticipate or spot issues that your customers might run into and resolve them in advance. For example, if you find that your customers have added a few items to their cart but haven’t completed the purchase or transaction, you can proactively reach out and ask if there are facing payment or technical issues. Proactively identifying a query or an issue increases customer retention rate and at the same time also decreases the support calls or tickets that you receive. 

#7 Creating knowledge base resources 

Going through past customer interactions can also help you identify commonly asked questions that can be documented as a solution article or as an FAQ in your knowledge base. Past customer interactions also serve as a great source of learning materials for new customer service reps.  

Skills Every Customer Service Representative Must Possess

#1 Excellent communication skills 

The ability to listen carefully to the customer’s issue, understand the expectations and deliverables, and communicate the solution correctly is the most important customer service skill. Support reps should be able to maintain a pleasant tone, use positive language and reflect empathy towards the customers at all times. 

For example, 

  • I am sorry but that product is out of stock and it won’t be in for another few weeks. 
  • I am sorry, that product will be back in stock only by next week. But if you like, I can go ahead and place an order now and get it shipped to you as soon as it arrives. 

Both these sentences convey the same meaning but the latter sounds more pleasing – not only does it convey a positive tone but it also closes a sale from your side. 

#2 Basic technical and computer skills 

A customer support agent who is well-versed with the customer support software and also keeps themselves updated with the latest technologies in the field of customer service is a great asset to the team. A good understanding of the support software used by your company will help solve customer issues more effectively and also quickly. 

#3 A keen eye for detail

As the saying goes –  “God is in the details”, the same applies to customer service too. The ability to pay attention to details reflects on the competence of the representatives and also the company as a whole. Each customer issue is different and unpredictable and requires unique solutions. Going over the details of the solution before you suggest it to the customer helps ensure that you’re providing foolproof suggestions. 

#4 Multi-tasking ability 

With the emergence of customer contact centers, it is no surprise that multi-tasking has become an essential skill for a customer service representative. It involves juggling between various tasks at once like answering customer calls, taking notes, and also keeping an eye on the incoming emails or tickets. But truth be told only 2% of the people can multitask efficiently while the other 98%1 fail in doing so. As chaotic as it may sound, with proper strategies, you can increase productivity and solve issues efficiently. 

#5 Time management skills 

‘Good things come to those who wait”. But that is not the case with customer service. In this fast-paced world, one thing the customers despise is waiting. Since customer service reps represent the face of the brand or company, it is important that they resolve the issues before the deadlines and also stick to the SLA of the company. If there is a deadline lapse in solving any issue, escalate it to the right person in the team by following the standard procedures. 

#6 Industry knowledge

As mentioned earlier, each industry is different and each one has specific job functions for the customer service representative. While industry knowledge is not something you can gain beforehand, it is always best to know about the industry you are working for and its requisites. Focus on industry learning so you’re able to add value, and empathize with customer issues. 

How Can Implementing a Helpdesk Impact Customer Service Responsibilities?

A dedicated ticketing or helpdesk software can streamline the workflow of the entire customer support function. It lets you centralize communication information across different channels. A helpdesk software with CRM software integration will help customer service reps access the required customer information right from the helpdesk. The features listed below help reps resolve customer issues effortlessly. 

#1 Automate repetitive tasks 

By setting up different automation rules, you can automate repetitive tasks such as routing incoming tickets, changing ticket properties, sending feedback forms, etc and save your team’s time. For instance, automatically prioritizing tickets based on different keywords or categories, can help you resolve high-priority or important tickets at first. Automatic ticket assignment also helps ensure that tickets get assigned to the right agent based on their workload and skills. This lets the customer service rep manage their time more efficiently and focus on the important tasks.

 #2 Use templates for frequently asked questions 

Responding manually to the common queries takes up a lot of time. With the help of canned messages, you can reduce the time spent on repetitive and common queries. By just a single click, you can insert a canned response and resolve the issue in no time. Furthermore, you can also organize these templates into folders and circulate them with the rest of the team to maintain a consistent support experience for the customers. 

#3 Unify the customer information 

Having an omnichannel helpdesk software, lets you manage communication across channels from a single window, as opposed to switching between different tools or tabs Be it your website, email, chat or social media, all conversations from these channels will be available in a single place in your helpdesk. This enables agents to provide context-rich resolutions.  Moreover, with Freshdesk you can also integrate other third-party applications like marketing tools, chat software, CRM software, and more and build robust workflows.. 

#4 Deploy chatbots 

With the right chatbots, you can win your customers for life. Bots are extremely helpful in reducing the first response time and also in maintaining the SLA of the company. Powered by AI, The Freshchat chatbots are also capable of engaging customers and generating leads in addition to providing the answer to their query. 

A good support experience from your side can create a huge impact and even help you retain your customers for life. However, bad customer support from your side can damage the reputation of your company. Being the face of the company, it is important to maintain professionalism, and also have empathy towards the customers. It is time to turn the tables to your side and provide the best customer experience as a responsible customer service representative. 

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