After five years of dabbling with a few different roles, I returned to my first love, Customer Service. I am good at it, so it made total sense! I had to change my perspectives, like most young adults in their 20’s do, and embody the point of view of the consumer. Once I realized why I was successful in providing customer service, it became much easier to build rapport and I embraced my positions more gracefully. People often respond well to me and after over a decade of diligently helping others, I have developed a deeper sense of empathy. If you also find yourself swimming in a sea of “can you help me?” then here are some tips to keep you from drowning. 🏊♀️
This is honestly not as common as one might think, and I find it to be more of a rule than a tip. Avoid creating a bias at all costs, whether it’s discussing controversial topics, political standpoints, off-topic jokes, or generally making assumptions about your guest. There’s just no way of knowing who you really are serving and sometimes can make for an awkward, embarrassing moment. Engaging the client without overreaching can be done, and keeping things light when appropriate, is always best.
A successful customer service person is sponge-like and must be ready to meet someone where they are. If they’re angry, don’t tell them you are attempting to calm them down, instead be understanding and they will calm down organically. If they’re confused about services, break it down for them in a new way so they can understand. It doesn’t take much to really feel out the kind of day a person is having, and catering to that is part of the job. And believe me, an overwhelmed customer may not want to engage with an upbeat peppy attitude, so be mindful of what the customer needs at that moment. It doesn’t matter if Mama is busy and on the go, cooped up at home, or just having a bad day, your flexibility is crucial to treating them like the human beings they are.
Go Above and Beyond
Learn to gauge the situation off the bat, and train yourself to find room for extra details. You don’t need to be rewarded to be extra, and doing so because of the benefit of the other party will not only build your reputation among peers but with customers as well. Don’t be afraid to hold open a door and offer a promotion they might not have known about, or to even provide additional details, none of these things will ever hurt your image. There is always room to add a special touch while still coloring inside the lines.
Ask the Right Questions
Targeting information that might be beneficial through small talk is a fine craft. If/when permitted, you could learn potentially new angles of your client. Maybe my customer has a sister with a similar experience, who also could collect their back child support. Maybe they have a coworker who could use important information that we’ve yet to discuss. Again, anything is possible. Take advantage of their time and attention while you have it to get the best results for both parties.
Never forget a Name/Face/Drink
Nobody cares how you remember them (pleasantly I hope) just as long as you do. Now you may be in the business of having regulars or repeat customers, or maybe you’ll be working with them over a long period (like our DGMGP Parents), but no matter the case, they will more than likely remember you. Whether it was a unique accent, a detail of their child support case, a college they attended, literally find whatever detail you need to remember them by. And if you don’t recall their shining face, it isn’t exactly necessary to break that news to them. You might remember them by the end of your interaction anyway, and if you don’t, you better next time.
To piggyback on our last tip, you may never know when a customer may be a returning one (hopefully they all are), which makes this tip all the more important. Staying consistent with your demeanor is to create an expectation for the parent, and that expectation will always tie itself into the company you’re representing as well. Your bad day cannot become their bad experience, and this tip requires more discipline for some than others, and that is okay, just make sure you do it. All it takes is one bad taste in someone’s mouth to damage what you’ve been working towards, and besides, given the opportunity, a customer could potentially turn your mood around and make it easier to get through the day. Your consistency is part of your uniform.
Trust Your Customer
Believe me when I say it’s going to happen: not every customer will be completely transparent. The moment you learn your customer has misled you can feel like a frying pan to the back of the head, “How could they not give me all the context?” is all we can ask ourselves, but avoid getting blocked or distracted. Whatever their reason for skirting around the issue, it’s important for Mamas to be honored with our DGMGP core values. Always be sure to remain empathetic, respectful, and compassionate. Just keep swimming 🐟
Speedy and Sharp
Nothing will make you stand out more than your sense of urgency, and turning over results to match. In this instance, most if not all Mama’s and fellow parents alike have fought long and hard before coming to us; they have questions and want answers now. The fast-paced mentality shows you prioritize everyone involved and respect their time. The consumer’s view of you and your ability to achieve goals fast builds a bridge of faith between them and the product and emphasizes our ability to prioritize parents who need us.
Talk Like You Walk
Every company has its own language, that might present itself in the form of specific greetings, terminology, phrases, etc., and these are brand habits you are expected to embody! Own your brand with your approach, reference its name in conversation, and use the lingo associated with your company. It’s important to display the message you’re sending with your words – not just through your work. 💪
As a solution-focused team, we are always prepared to help parents everywhere collect their past-due child support. It’s important to be familiar with documents of all kinds and to be able to gauge where they are in the collection process. Although slim, it’s still important to be knowledgeable of any competitors, similar businesses/products, or things that could still provide some type of relief to Mama if they face a barrier in signing up for Athena. No matter the reason, if you have information that may prove useful to them, there should be nothing stopping you from providing it. Again, this builds an excellent reputation for being compassionate and encourages everyone to stay informed with recent changes in the systems all over America.