It’s not that hard to notice when you’re dealing with a customer support rep who is less than sincere. They tend to say some of the same things over and over, such as, “I can understand why you would feel that way and we are sorry for your inconvenience.” It’s as if they are reading from a script… because most of the time they are. I actually had one customer service representative repeat that phrase so many times that I asked them to not to say it anymore.
They aren’t really sorry. At least they don’t appear to be. What they appear to be doing is regurgitating the responses they learned in their customer service training classes or what’s printed on a piece of paper. Maybe they really are sincere; but their company forces them to appear to be insincere, because they are required to go by the script.
The bottom line is this: You can’t script sincerity!
The best customer support people, leaders, co-workers – really anyone you work with – don’t get to be the best by being fake or insincere. No, they have empathy, concern, and genuinely care about who they work and do business with.
And, if you can’t script sincerity, you probably won’t be able to teach it either. If people aren’t cut out to be empathetic and caring, you probably won’t be able to teach them, at least not before they potentially do damage to the relationship with the customer.
That said, some people can fake sincerity, at least for a short time. Eventually the effort and pressure to be someone that they’re not will catch up with them, and can manifest itself in potentially angry behavior. That’s why some employees lose their cool. It’s not that these people aren’t nice. It’s just that their personalities don’t have the patience or empathy needed to deal with confrontational customers, especially if they are upset and acting unreasonable.
The bottom line is that insincerity is a loyalty killer. And, while they may put up with it, customers shouldn’t have to deal with a customer support rep who is scripted, apathetic, and isn’t customer focused. How can a customer have a positive emotional connection to the company if the employees come off as fake or insincere?
So, how do we go about getting good, caring people? It starts before you even hire someone. The leadership has to define what good customer service looks like in the organization. Once defined, you hire good people who can support that initiative. Then you train them. Accolades from leadership for a job well done makes employees feel good, especially after handling complaints and problems on many of their support calls.
Getting great people who are customer-focused is of the utmost importance. (I recently wrote an article on ten ways to hire the best people for customer service for Forbes.)
The best customer-focused people care. They have empathy, sympathy, patience, tolerance, understanding, passion and, of course, sincerity. So hire customer service reps that care, and who already have the personality to succeed in a customer service position.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright © MMXVI, Shep Hyken)