The Top 4 Untrainable Traits of a Great Customer Service Rep

This is part 4 of our series discussing customer service with Mo McKibbin from Groove. In the clip below, we discuss the top 4 traits to look for when hiring a customer service representative. If you’d like to watch our entire chat, click here.

Mitch:
What are the top 3 traits of a great customer representative?

Mo:
Well, I have four because a great representative always gives more than expected.
The four are:

  • Empathetic
  • Adaptable
  • Patient
  • Creative

Empathetic

Empathetic is kind of a no-brainer. Everybody, of course, wants customer service representatives to have the ability to gauge a person’s emotional state, feel it for themselves, and communicate justly. However, I feel that in technical support situations, app situations, there might be an impetus to lean more towards a logical thinker, like someone analytical, but the way I sort of think about it is that Sherlock Holmes may be the best person to solve a problem, but he’s not who you want solving a problem for people.

Logical thinkers will know how to solve a problem and empathetic feelers will know why someone needs a problem to be solved. I feel like that why is the difference between okay customer support and great customer support because really getting to understand the emotional importance for a problem being solved is going to be the fire to get it solved and going to be the ability to communicate the solution or fix in the best way.

Adaptable

Especially in the tech world, but really any small business or medium business or large business it’s like things evolve every day or at least weekly and things break every day or at least weekly and I think that part of the impetus is on the company for informing the CS reps, but most of it is on the impetus of the CS rep to be on top of all of those changes, all of those developments, and as soon as everything breaks, they should be the first person to know and they should be able to tumble and roll with all the punches and be able to solve all of those things as they’re happening in real time.

Patience

Everything in customer service takes so much time. Obviously, ideally, we want to solve the problem as quickly as possible, but reading or listening to the customer support requests effectively, that takes time and then building a solution takes time, and communicating that to the customer takes time, and sometimes you’re working with other departments, which might even take weeks or days for a solution to come into play, so it takes time and patience to even be able to just solve certain problems. I feel like a customer service rep that doesn’t have patience is toast.

Creative

I think this is one of the most important because I feel like it’s overlooked in customer service representatives, but I almost feel like customer service representatives need to be as creative on top of things as what a company might hire for a creative staff. The reason is that there are not always ready-made fixes for a problem, there’s oftentimes that someone’s asking for a feature or a bug is in place that is affecting something important, or there are certain things that they just can’t have. So, creativity is the most important trait for solving problems in the sense that you need to think about the systems that you have already and provide a workaround or provide a solution within what you have if the customer is asking or wants something that’s out of the realm of your capabilities.

That’s the difference between good customer service and great customer service—the creativity. Good customer service will respond right away and actively listen to the problem. If they can’t fix the problem, communicate “Oh, we’re really sorry. This is not a feature that we have, this is a bug that’s taking place, this is a problem that we can’t solve.” Great customer service will say all of that and then say, “However, if you do this thing or do this thing, it’ll fix the problem, put a little band-aid on it in the meantime, or you can achieve the same things doing this, it’s just won’t be as smooth or as seamless as if you did it the other way.”

Sometimes there’s just no fix, but you need to be super-creative to understand when there’s a fix.

Learn how companies like yours are onboarding and training their customer service teams with Lessonly here.

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