Working on customer service skills

wachoviaWhen a customer service representative delivers great customer service, there is less stress and less hassle. It saves the company a huge amount of time, and keeps people happy. Some companies think that customer service representatives do not learn skills from abstract situations taught in seminars and training classes, but I witnessed an interesting experience yesterday that had been learned and mastered well.

I walked into my local branch of Wachovia Bank to speak with a mortgage representative about one of my real estate customers, and since I was early, I had to wait until the mortgage representative was out of her meeting. It actually was a good opportunity for me to gather information for today’s blog. The incident happened during lunch time when many bank employees were out of the building. The customer service representative standing at the kiosk in the lobby of the bank had been speaking to a customer about a “Power of Attorney” and its relevance to her aged parent. The customer had been speaking with the representative about five minutes when a second customer rushes into the bank and interrupts the conversation between the customer service representative and the first customer.

The second customer is a young, good-looking man dressed in an expensive business suit and says, “Excuse me, but I need to get into my safe deposit box immediately.”

The customer service representative turned to the business man and made eye-contact with him, held up her hand in a gesture suggesting  ‘wait a moment’  and responded with, ” I can help you in a few moments, or you can meet with one of our banking specialists as soon as someone is available.” The customer service representative then broke eye-contact with the second customer and returned her concentration to the first customer.

The first priority of an excellent customer service representative is to that of the first customer. The key was to limit her interaction with the second customer, but at the same time not to ignore his presence. She was able to use a short efficient method to address the second customer, and momentarily address him using eye-contact to assure him she was indeed paying attention. At the same time she offered him an option. It was important that she did not address the needs of the second customer while still attending to the first customer. It would have given that first customer the impression that she was less important. If however, the representative felt she could address the second customer’s needs quickly, she might have asked the first customer for permission to do so. A statement such as, “Would you mind if I help this gentleman while you read these documents over. It will only take me a few minutes to help him.”

Empowering customer service representatives with practical knowledge, service skills, and handling situations by role-playing definitely diffused a potentially difficult situation.

photo credit: TheTruthAbout..