Self-Confidence in Customer Service
A frequently overlooked aspect of providing a great customer experience is the self-confidence of those working with customers. Nevertheless, self-confidence is a very important facet of giving good customer service. This is because it is inextricably linked to competence. This article will outline the importance of self-confidence in customer service and looks at ways to develop it personally, or within a business.
Where Does Self-Confidence Come From?
It is important that people feel comfortable in a customer service role. They must be comfortable with social interaction; comfortable with their previous experiences; and comfortable with their skill levels. This comfort fuels self-confidence. Therefore, in general, we find self-confidence coming from three sources:
As a customer service representative, it is essential to be comfortable when working with people. Being a human-focused industry, customer service requires the self-confidence to be able to communicate effectively with people to achieve a resolution. People who are comfortable with these social interactions are generally better suited to customer service roles.
We all learn with experience. Those who are more experienced in customer-service roles tend to have greater levels of self-confidence fuelled by their knowledge of the industry. When more comfortable with the customer service environment, representatives develop better self-confidence from the experiences they have encountered over time.
If someone knows they are good at their job, they will tend to have strong self-confidence. When a customer service representative is skilled and knowledgeable about their job, they should perform well at a high level. This helps fuel self-confidence. When representatives understand their requirements of knowledge and skills thoroughly, they will be more confident, and this confidence will feed into customer service interactions.
The Importance of Self-Confidence in Customer Service
When customer service representatives are not confident whilst dealing with customers, they tend to deliver average, or poor, customer service experiences. Lacking self-confidence can often result in customer service representatives struggling to perform well. Consequently, the confidence of the customer being dealt with by the representative will also decrease. This effect can influence customer perception of the competence of a company.
There is a clear link between confidence and competence in customer service. It’s important for both people working in customer service, and for customers reaching out to customer service. When a customer has a negative customer service experience with a representative, they will often judge their skills level based on their behaviour. Examples of this could be a representative who appears unsure in their communication; is not certain on important information, or appears intimidated by customers. For many customers, competence is a clear symbol that a customer service representative has the right skills and qualities to help them with their issues. Without self-confidence, it is very difficult to present yourself as competent in a customer-facing role.
You may also find Zing 365’s top tips helpful on Essential Customer Service Skills.
Improving Self-Confidence as a Manager
Great customer experiences can only be delivered if customer service representatives have the ability and knowledge to facilitate them. Alongside these competencies, representatives need to have the self-confidence permitting them to use their skill and understanding to create moments of excellent service at the appropriate time.
Through a managerial lens, it can be difficult to ascertain a team member’s level of self-confidence. Therefore, it’s important that some techniques are kept in mind. These key techniques can easily help determine if a customer service representative lacks self-confidence and highlight a potential challenge for that person.
There are clear indicators of a lack of self-confidence that we can pick up on. These include:
- Unclear, nervous communication
- An inability to respond to questions well
- Excessively asking for help
- Deliberately avoiding specific situations or customers
It’s important to have non-judgemental discussions with representatives about inadequate customer service levels. Without doing this, it is difficult to encourage self-confidence and improvement. Try to assess where the shortcomings are by asking a customer service representative questions like:
“Do you often find situations like that challenging?”
“What do you think might help you improve in this area?”
Practical Methods for Customer Service Success
There are also some more practical ways to promote self-confidence within employees and help them succeed.
- Provide Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement makes everyone feel good. However, it is essential to the customer service industry. Employees tend to be subjected to more stressful situations and potential confrontation than a lot of other industries. This is often for issues that aren’t within their sphere of control. As a result, positive reinforcement and displays of appreciation are very necessary. Show people their work, feelings, and opinions are all equally respected. This, in turn, will bolster employee self-confidence levels.
- Practice Scenarios
Representatives need to be aware of the common situations they will find themselves in before they encounter real customers. Target training that shows people how to deal with these situations and representatives will have the self-confidence, and competence, to deal with them professionally.
- Encourage Brand Knowledge Through Engagement
Customer service employees represent the company they work for on the frontline. Consequently, they need to have an in-depth understanding of what their business does; why it does that; and what it stands for. Install this at an early stage, and keep making sure this knowledge is strong. Customers can always tell when a representative actually understands the business they represent. This is an important step in building self-confidence.