According to the research firm, Walker, customer service will be more important than price and product by 2020. That makes it vitally important for businesses to get it right. Customers are loyal to businesses that do more to ensure their satisfaction and offer great service. And, as a result of a positive experience, customers are more likely to return to the same point-of-purchase than go elsewhere. Which is why, although not perceived as a popular career choice for most people, customer service jobs have become very important roles within companies.
Why choose customer services?
There are, in fact, many reasons why customer service makes an excellent career choice. Many experienced customer services workers say that solving people’s problems can be very rewarding – you get a chance to make a real difference to people’s day-to-day lives. Furthermore, it is becoming a very innovative sector, so there are plenty of opportunities being created for those who want to work with the latest technology. In larger companies, customer services can involve a lot of analytics and metrics, so there’s plenty of intellectual challenge there for those that like working with data.
Customer service skills in demand
To pursue a career in customer services, to begin with, you’ll need to be a ‘people-person’ with excellent communication skills. For that reason alone, customer service jobs are ideal for ‘social butterfly’ types. Beyond that, you’ll need to be good at reading people. You should have the ability to assess personality and mood through oral and body language in order to create the best approach to solving people’s problems.
Patience is certainly a virtue when it comes to customer services skills. When working in customer relations, you’re inevitably going to come across unhappy, angry, and, sometimes, downright rude customers. According to American Express, 35% of customers become angry when talking to customer service reps, so it’s important you’re able to understand that the customer has come to you for help, and are able to defuse any tension and offer solutions that meet customer need. That means you have to be an empathetic listener and, yet, at the same time, possess excellent negotiation skills.
Getting into customer service
The good news is that customer service is a relatively easy industry to get into you. In fact, you’ll find hundreds of customer service jobs right now with a simple search on Zoek. Best of all, once you have even a little experience, you’ll be on your way to developing a portfolio of transferable skills that will allow you to move into your preferred industry sector by targeting companies in the niches that interest you most.
Typically, qualifications aren’t necessary for a career in customer service. Most people start in an entry level role, taking calls and queries from customers, or manning some form of a helpdesk for end-users. However, if you really want to excel and increase the opportunities available, there are a number of qualifications you can pursue such as diplomas in customer services offered by the Open University and City and Guilds.
As for career development, due to the diverse nature of customer services, there are many opportunities to learn new skills through on-the-job training and lateral moves. There are also training and management opportunities for those that work their way up through the ranks.
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