4 Qualities a Customer Service Professional Should Have
By Mary Aaron
Customer service is a skill which requires both thorough training and progressive experience. These skills are so important in IT they’re literally built in to benchmark best practice IT Service Management (ITSM) concepts like the ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library).
Customer service is an absolutely fundamental part of ITSM and the roles of individuals. It embodies all the primary functions of IT management at all levels from a workplace help desk to critical client relationship management roles. This is to some extent a difference in scale, but in is present in all ITSM functions as a primary role for all types of IT service. Customer service skills are therefore critical professional skills.
The four essential qualities of customer service professionals
In customer service, there are four absolutely essential skills:
* Acknowledgement of the customer’s time & money investment
* A knowledgeable support person
* Progress on their incident or request.
These skills must be integrated into every role in IT customer service. IT is always a matter of practical service provision, and any customer service issue directly relates to both the customer’s and the IT support service’s core business.
Respect is the basis of any good relationship, and with customers, it’s also an entitlement. A customer has the right to know that their issues and concerns are being dealt with on a good faith/best practice basis, and that the IT customer service person is supportive of their interests. Respect is very much a quality marker, denoting high value professional service.
2. Acknowledgement of the customer’s time & money investment
The recognition of customer interests is absolutely critical to good service quality. Knowing what’s important to a customer, and recognizing their business interests and commitments is also essential to providing effective, efficient services. IT customer service must identify and clearly understand the priorities and elements of risk for customers ASAP, to provide best quality service. For example, the issues related to downtime are the classic instances can be extremely expensive for customers.
3. A knowledgeable support person
The support person’s expertise is a particularly important reassurance to customers. It’s also an encouragement and trust-building effect in terms of customer relationships. This is critical in terms of core business for IT support services, and is also useful in managing complex issues, providing some “moral support” as well as the physical.
4. Progress on their incident or request
IT support services are all about getting results, solving problems, and achieving goals. It’s a reasonable expectation of customers that the progress of an issue is measurable, and provides useful information regarding operational and business considerations.
These qualities translate directly into conduct and methods of service:
* The IT professional must communicate to customers clearly and understand information received from them clearly.
* IT issues must be clearly and helpfully mapped out for customers.
* This process includes reports, situation evaluations, briefings, consultations, formal business practices, planning and contract management.
One of the reasons problem solving functions are built in to ITSM systems like ITIL, and included as a part of ITIL Certification is specifically because this role is so critical to all IT operations. It’s advisable to use structured methodologies like ITIL to conduct a thorough evaluation of all customer service roles, and plan training accordingly.
By the way, do you want to learn more about having a better customer service? If so, I suggest you check ITIL and ITIL Certification.