Thinking as a Customer

Nancy Anderson
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If you are looking to work or currently working in the customer service field, I would like you to pause for a moment and put on your customer hat. Let's do some role playing and put yourself in the customer's shoes before starting to service them.

In the retail business there are still a lot of people out there that more or less impulse buy; but there are even more that buy after first doing a little research. Many times after doing research myself, there may still be questions I have between a few various brands. What are the differences? Which will be best suited for my needs? Things that maybe the research didn't fully reveal or convince me of to the point of knowing exactly which way to go brand wise. So when I make it to the store, what I need is that last piece of quality information that will push me to one side or the other of the fence.

That is where you, the customer service representative comes in. That is why it is important for you to know the items you work with, and have enough valuable knowledge to be able to answer my questions and assist me in determining which items is best for me - even if that means the ultimate decision is not made for the specific item you represent. While that item may be excellent, it may not be exactly what I need for the job.

If you are just in the numbers game, and just seeking that next sell, no matter what has to be said, then you are not really servicing your customer as much as the company. So, a week later when it is determined by the customer that the item you sold them is not what was needed, does not live up to the demands of the customer, and is not going to work, then a couple things have happened.

First, the customer is frustrated now, and that frustration and anger will be directed at your company. Second, a week or so has now been wasted with an item that is not satisfactory, and has caused the wasted time fighting to find out it wouldn't work. Now, the customer has to return the item to you, and it will come along with frustration and complaining.

This may well lead to an unhappy customer who can spread his dissatisfaction to all his friends and hurt business further. I know for me personally, when I have had that (rare) experiences where a service rep has steered me in the direction of a more suitable product that was not their brand, it gave me a sense of trust that they were looking out for me, and not just a sale. That gave me the confidence to continue to shop there in the future, and put them on the top of my list for telling others of their service. Do you remember the movie Miracle on 34th Street? Do you remember how Macy's marketing came up with the concept that if the store does not have what the customer needs, they will direct the customer to the right place? This concept still holds true today.

So, when you go to service that next customer, put yourself in their shoes and give them what they need, and do not just try to convince them they need your particular brand of product. It can pay off in the long run.

Jeff McCormack resides in Virginia Beach, VA. where he works as a web designer by day. In his off time he is a husband, father, and musician. Aside from being a freelance writer for this Customer Service Jobs blog, he also seeks to assist in career choices and information by contributing to other Nexxt blog sites.
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