Have you ever wondered why you are attracted to working in customer service, and why so few (maybe none) of your friends and neighbors are? People who want to make a career in an area where innovation and growth happens do not typically think of the customer service department first. They are misguided. From the perspective of a business leader, there are some great reasons, both personally and professionally, to be in Customer Service.
- Happiness: First of all, the (well functioning) Customer Service department is the place of happiness within any company. We are not trying to convince a customer to do or buy something. Instead, we have the opportunity to be altruistic; the focus is on solving problems and making the customer happy. Knowing we were able to transform someone’s frustration to satisfaction, noticing their voice tone shift from irritated to pleasant and grateful, and hearing them say they will return to our company with their business is a very rewarding experience, both personally and professionally.
- Innovation: There is probably no other department within the company that is experiencing as much technology innovation at the moment as customer service. Think mobile, social, cloud, crowdsourcing, big data, omni-channel, self service – all of this is happening in the field of customer service right now, all at the same time. There is a company called Satmap that is routing calls based on the psychographic attributes of callers and agents. Have you ever heard of using behavioral psychology to innovate in a finance department?
- Intellectual stimulation: Especially in larger companies, customer service is probably one of the most complex (if not the most complex) functions to manage. Typically we deal with more systems than any other department, we have more process documentation, and more structured training. Thus, not surprisingly, Customer Service metrics are much more complicated than many other departments’ metrics. There is a substantial amount of data that can be collected and transformed into valuable insight regarding customer behavior. This data requires both complex tracking systems and statistical analysis. So there are endless challenges for someone who enjoys being intellectually stimulated.
- Professional growth: Due to the complexity of Customer Service, there are many opportunities to learn new skills through on-the-job training and lateral moves. For example, a representative who excels in customer interactions can become a trainer; or, someone with an interest in processes and data can become part of the business analysis team. In addition, since the Customer Service team tends to be one of the larger teams in a typical company, there can me many layers of management with opportunities for vertical advancement.
- Autonomy: Some companies believe that no news [about Customer Service] is good news: they don’t want to hear about Customer Service until there is an issue so significant that it that requires his or her attention. The upside to not being in the spotlight is that experiments can be made without tremendous scrutiny from upper management or cross-functional stakeholders. The Customer Service organization is the perfect playground for people with lots of creativity and the desire to try new things. However, if you do things well, this will change - see next bullet point:
- Opportunity: The Customer Service department can more than just the place to deal with upset customers. It can be a competitive differentiator for companies that has a direct impact on top line revenue. My wife uses Apple products not because of their looks or functionality, but because she can drop by the Genius Bar whenever a device is not working the way it should. Have you ever wondered about the simplicity of shopping on Amazon.com? Or the friendly faces at Trader Joe’s? The opportunity to help a company make such a transformation is very exciting and should attract great talent to customer service.
Por Marton Jojarth, VP Customer Sucess; a Silicon Valley Executive who is passionate about Customer Service.