The Customer Service Difference Maker
By George Louris, Vice President of Technology, Marcum Technology
Good customer service typically means providing timely, focused, and attentive service to a customer. It also means making sure their requests are met in a manner that reflects positively on your service desk and your organization.
Numerous factors go into delivering extraordinary customer service. Sure, some are more important than others, but a strong case could be made that the most important factor is this one. Without it, no one will want to call your service desk, help desk, or call center. In fact, when I’m looking to hire new staff, I look for this one thing above all else. Above technical skills, above experience, and above the number of certifications held — because without this one thing, none of those other things matter. This one thing can make or break your service desk, your network operations center, and yes, even your company.
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
– Winston S. Churchill
Staffing Your Organization
Whether you’re outsourcing or insourcing your technical support or IT team, nothing is more important than having a team that portrays the attitude properly representing your department or company. Without the right attitude, nothing else matters. Yet, many of us continue to hire people based on their technical merits and employment history, or outsource to organizations who don’t make hiring people with the right attitude a priority. I know that one of the key factors in our high customer satisfaction ratings is the attitude of our team. A team with a good attitude is a team or people who work well together and have the best interests of our clients and each other at the forefront.
Hiring for attitude is about hiring someone for how he or she approaches the work, team colleagues, and your customers. To hire the right attitude, you need to interview for the right attitude. Asking about a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses are questions that are somewhat outdated and don’t really help you get any closer to finding the right candidate with the right attitude.
Here are some of the questions I like to ask a potential candidate for our team:
- When was the last time you had a project that really energized you?
- How do you react when asked to do something beyond your capabilities?
- Have you ever felt that your skills were being overlooked? What did you do to improve the situation?
- Tell me about a time that you caused an issue with your team and how you managed it?
- Have you had any differences with your previous managers? If so, how did you handle them?
While direct questions about how a candidate was treated in previous jobs should be avoided (it can lead to possible legal action), you can listen for how the candidate handled various situations with co-workers and managers.
The Right Attitude and Customer Service
Although there are a myriad of ways to provide exceptional customer service and thousands of books have been written on the subject, it really starts with one simple concept: focus on the customer in front of you. The next time you’re helping a customer, clear your mind of everything but that customer. Forget about your next ticket, your next call, your next project. Forget about what you’re going to have for lunch or that fight you had with your spouse that made you grouchy this morning. Remove all distractions. If your mind is cluttered, you won’t be there for the customer in front of you. You won’t be listening, and if you’re in the customer service business (which is really what all IT support is), you must take time to listen – with a positive attitude. Clear your head of all the other “noise” and focus your complete attention on serving the customer.
I’ll leave you with my favorite quote on having a positive attitude:
Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.
– Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
At Marcum Technology, the cornerstone of our success starts with our people. Marcum Technology consultants are focused on helping you reach your company’s full potential by exploring creative ways to integrate tomorrow’s technology into your business today, securely and efficiently – for immediate impact. If you are looking for a technology partner that puts people in the middle of solutions, ask Marcum.