How many times have you been in a shop – or in the last year – on the phone or in a ‘live chat’ and while the person you are conversing with is being helpful, efficient and friendly, what you are asking seems to be above their pay grade and it’s time to escalate?
You may be needing some extra information, returning something or even asking for a discount, but for whatever reason the customer service representative in front of you or in your ear just ain’t cutting it.
Your frustration is building and close to spilling out and, sensing this they know it’s time to call in the reinforcements. They speak those magic words: “I’ll have to fetch the manager.”
Cue angels with trumpets, raining tickertape, champagne corks popping – the customer service specialist is saddling up and coming to the rescue!
Customer Service Representative or Specialist?
Representative or specialist? Well, the latter has many more bells and whistles. Both though are customer service roles and are both important in the customer service journey from that initial point of contact, advising them in making the purchase and providing that all important first class customer experience. It doesn’t stop there either because they also are there for post purchase support, if required.
To be a success in either role, or indeed any customer service job, there are common traits. A beaming smile and an open manner go a long way, plus empathy, patience, a thick skin and of course great communication skills. In other words that indefinable being known as a ‘people person’.
As discussed elsewhere in the blog section of this website, the customer service specialist is similar to a customer service rep, in that both also reach out to customers with product or service offers.
However, a customer service specialist has more seniority, borne of knowledge and/or experience and as such will likely serve as an intermediary between customer service reps and the customer service supervisors or managers and even be required to fill in for those roles when necessary.
Great communication skills are of course still a must, but leadership skills are also now key for this role, given that such a person may be asked to fill in for the manager if they are unavailable. And although within a manager’s role, a specialist should be able to handle any conflicts involving customers or employees and help train new reps and monitor their progress.
The developing of new staff is always enhanced by those who have recently trod that path. A customer service specialist is an advocate of customer service and as an expert in an organisation’s products and/or services, a specialist will be expected to share their knowledge with the wider team and colleagues.
A specialist will also gather and analyse data and customer information that influences change and improvements in service. Utilising both organisational and generic IT systems to carry out the role an awareness of other digital technologies has to be a given. This could be in many types of environment including contact centres, retail, webchat, service industry or any customer service point.
Saddling up and being part of the cavalry though is what a specialist should be good at when the infantry needs a hand. Riding in and being the escalation point, dealing with complex customer requests, queries and complaints are just all in a day’s work for the friendly, ‘gun-slinging’ customer service specialist.