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Defining Customer Service: It's Obvious, Isn't It?

Here’s a simple question:  What is a CSR? 

Here’s the simple answer:  A CSR is a Customer Service Representative. 

Here’s a simple follow up question:  What is the purpose of a CSR? 

Here’s the obvious answer:  To serve a company’s customers.

That’s pretty obvious… or is it?  What if you decided to do a study to find out just how “obvious” it is to people employed as CSR’s, what their primary function is on the job?  Aararat Consulting asks these kinds of questions for our clients because for over twenty years, part of Aararat Consulting’s work has been to perform socio-economic research in the realm of employee mindsets, attitudes and work ethic.  As it relates to our employee research, when we ask the question “What does it mean for you to be a Customer Service Representative?” the answers we’ve received from surveys and interviews would astound you.

The term CSR refers to a “representative” of a company, whose job it is to engage with “customers” for the purpose of providing “service” to those customers.  To paraphrase our definition, we could say that a Customer Service Representative is someone who’s function at work is to be:

  1. actively communicating and participating in customer interactions
  2. with the goal of creating a satisfactory experience for the customer
  3. in a manner that establishes the reputation of the company in a good light corporately, and simultaneously reflects well on the CSR personally

Once again, this may seem obvious.  Except Aararat Consulting’s research shows that less than 10% of employees have any focus on ensuring that customers have a “satisfactory” experience.  Further, research shows that less than 8% of CSR’s give any consideration to the manner in which they perform their CSR duties (where “manner” means their actions, communication style, attitudes and mindsets) in the cause/effect relational sequalae of how their manner reflects on the company’s reputation.

Aararat’s research is supported by similar research by the Gallup corporation.  According to Gallup’s ongoing research, over 87% of employees are not “engaged” at work. Yet if the purpose of a CSR is to actively communicate, and actively participate, in customer interactions, for the purpose of creating a satisfactory experience for the customer, and in the process, establishing a good impression in the customer’s mind…consider that every italicized word is a verb. 

Customer service, therefore, is an active process of interaction and the end goal is to serve the needs of the end user.  All to often, those employed as a “CSR” are not focused on the customer’s needs, they are focused on their own needs.  This is an equation for failure, and this is why Aararat Consulting entitles on of our CSR training programs: 

Customer Service – Isn’t.

Because even if the purpose of the job is defined by the very words “customer” and “service” and “representative” the fact of the matter is, what should be obvious to every CSR…

Isn’t.

BOTTOM LINE: Customer retention is a function of customer service. Rersearch shows that it costs 900% more to attract to a new customer, than to retain an existing customer.  The math makes it obvious: investing in training your CSR's to develop a better mindset, attitude, and manner in their approach to "serving" the needs of your customers is a far more profitable strategy than wasting advertising and marketing dollars in an attempt to replace the customers lost because of failing CSR protocols.

 

Contact Aararat to incorporate our methodology of CSR training that will transform the mindsets, attitudes and mannerisms of your people.