It?s no secret that we all depend on customer service representatives in some form or fashion. There?s probably nothing more frustrating than calling a customer service line and getting passed from one person to another, and before you know it you?ve wasted precious cell phone minutes and time with no answer to your question in sight. Or maybe you?ve been in a position where you've needed a customer service representative in person, but you get someone who doesn?t seem to be very helpful. Before you know it, your opinion of the company or business goes down and if you?re like most people, you?re not afraid to let everyone know that they are not worth your business. Although the job of a customer service representative is something that may not be thought of as very important, it?s a fact that these individuals are first-line representatives of the company and need to be thoroughly trained.
A well-trained customer service rep is important for many reasons. First of all, the scenarios mentioned above are not pleasant, but it?s something we?ve all probably faced at one point or another. It leaves us wondering how that person even got the job, or thinking that the company must not take the time to invest in competent representatives. It essentially hurts the company?s reputation and business goes down after several incidents. Additionally, it?s important to keep the customer informed. For example, a customer has the right to know specific details regarding their purchase or account information, and a customer service representative should be on top of it, ready to handle any situation or question that may arise.
Finding and retaining a customer service representative can be quite a challenge. The first obstacle is that not too many people actively look and apply for such positions. The rate of pay for a customer service representative is fairly low compared to other jobs available in the customer service or sales field. Typically, a customer service representative enters into the field earning between $8.00 and $12.00 per hour. This can make the employee less motivated to keep up with customer issues and demands, therefore creating frustration for the business and customer. Additionally, most customer service reps are required to be available during non-traditional working hours. Simply put, a customer service rep can expect to work odd hours, weekends, or even holidays. Some companies even have a 24-hour customer service line, which force the customer service reps to be available at night. While it?s not something that can be easily changed, hours are a very common reason for lack of quality customer service reps.
Another reason for failed retention of customer service reps is the repetitiveness of the job itself. A typical day of a customer service rep is sitting by the phones, ready to answer any calls and handle any issues. While each call may be different, the employee may start to feel like they are simply ?going through the motions? of picking up the phone call. This leads to boredom on the job and creates a dull environment, thus making customer service less effective.
In order to run a successful business, it is imperative that the company understands what should be required of their customer service reps. Additionally, the company should understand the concept of positive retention and constantly develop methods of maintaining quality employees. Simply providing the customer service rep with a paycheck at a minimum wage is not a good strategy for accomplishing these goals. The company should set standards for seeking experienced and quality employees, negotiate a rate of pay that is acceptable for both the company and employee, and offer incentives or bonuses to those who perform their job well.