We often hear that it is important for any Customer Service person to have the RIGHT attitude. It is important that Customer Service agents do not have a BAD attitude to the Company, the Customer or, indeed, to their role. Identifying a bad attitude in someone is easy; we see it all the time. But what is the ideal focus and attitude? This article will help identify a positive, assertive, Customer focussed attitude.

In Customer Service, the outcome for the Customer and for the Company is in the hands of the professional Customer Service person. How well they perform in each contact with their Customers depends on a number of factors. Their training will have an impact, as will their knowledge, skills and motivation. One of the strongest influencer on their performance with the Customer will be their ATTITUDE.

If you are a Customer Service person, or are building a Team of Customer Service people, it is important that you work at developing the RIGHT attitude, values and beliefs. We all recognise someone with a bad attitude, someone who thinks Customers are stupid, or annoying, or someone who hates their job or their Company. These types of attitudes ensure that these Customer Service people are guaranteed to give their Customers a very bad experience.

Identifying the IDEAL Customer Service attitude is important, so that we can build this ideal attitude in ourselves and in our Teams. We call this attitude an Assertive Customer Focussed Attitude.

An Assertive Customer Service Team
In Customer Service, the ASSERTIVE zone is one of mutual respect, having a positive, respectful attitude to the Customer, the Company and to themselves.
This compares to –
• An aggressive attitude, trying to put the other person down
• A submissive attitude, feeling weaker and pushed round by other people
• A defensive attitude, feeling weak but lashing out to protect this weakness
Assertiveness in a Customer Service Team is that zone of quiet confidence and helpful competence that Customers will like and trust.

Identifying Positive Customer Focus
To identify the right Customer focus for ourselves or our Team, we again look at the place we do NOT want to be. We will compare 3 types of attitudes typical in Customer Service Teams –
1. Poor Customer Focus
2. Overly Accommodating Focus
3. Positive Customer Focus – the ideal

1. Poor Customer Focus
Characteristics of someone with poor Customer focus are –
• Thinks negatively about customers
• Thinks of THEIR OWN feelings and interests before that of the Company or the Customer
• Thinks he/she knows better and they already know what the customer needs
• Is uncomfortable with new people contacts or different types of people
• Is unwilling to handle complaints or special requests
• Does not listen well to customers and does nothing in response
• Is defensive and blames the customer
• Is afraid of difficult situations or people and may react with aggression. They might say, you can’t handle people like that.

2. Overly Accommodating Focus
Characteristics of someone who is overly accommodating to Customers are –
• Overly responsive to customer demands
• Negative about the Company, its organisation, its products and services
• Too willing to change established processes and timetables to respond to unreasonable customer requests
• Makes too many exceptions and does not form consistent policies, practices and processes for others to learn and follow
• Does not look for other workable options to solve customer problems and can resort to blame game
• Has real difficulty with complaint handling
• Has long, ineffective interactions and has difficulty steering back on track
• Sides with the customer too much

3. Positive Customer Focus – the ideal
Characteristics of someone who has the RIGHT Customer Focussed Attitude are –
• Wants to serve customers, to work with them to ensure every customer has a good outcome wherever possible
• Believes in the Company and our products / service. We have something valuable to offer
• Believes that every customer and every situation is worth the effort, and the skills
• Displays sensitivity and empathy for customers
• Works at building skills and continuously improving
• Reacts to customer feedback and drives improvements
• Sees irate customers as a positive challenge to demonstrate the high quality of their skills
• Learns from their experience, continuously seeking to do/be better
• Is interested in the job. They talk about it , share experiences with others and learn from others’ experiences
• Will always seek to go the extra mile, occasionally taking risks for customers
• Will work as a Team to continuously improve the level of service they deliver
• Takes great pleasure in success

Author's Bio: 

Kate Tammemagi runs a Training Company in Ireland. She provides fully customized Customer Service Courses in Businesses and Call Centres.