Customer service is an all-encompassing experience, as we are on the frontline.
When a client contacts us, our customer service representatives (CSR) shape the perception of our company. It’s important we set the right tone. The image we provide reflects not only our organization, but the company as a whole as well.
I am a customer service operations manager for Europe, based in Piešťany, Slovakia. I’ve been working for our company for more than 19 years; I started as a CSR and advanced through the customer service organization into leadership. As a company, we have transitioned over the years; I admire our evolution. We are dynamic, and what we say, we do. Our core values of integrity, respect and initiative inspire the way we operate and interact with one another. That’s how I treat my colleagues. That’s how they treat me. It’s how we treat our customers.
I enjoy talking to people, engaging with colleagues and customers with different cultures and viewpoints. This is a crucial part of my role, I guide how my organization communicates with both internal business units and external customers on specific issues related to service. I believe it is critical that we are proactive with our alerts in terms of order deliveries, placements and other key subjects. In summary, we make sure the customer receives their part when they want it, in the quantity they ask for and without any quality issues, and we communicate with them every step of the way.
Whatever our customer needs, our priority is to be available to them. We operate in B2B business environment and our customers are from automotive, medical, aerospace and industrial areas, well-established brands, and active in these markets. We are a commercial department, so we rely heavily on our partners in the organization with the background that provides support to respond to questions or concerns about planning, finance, logistics and even quality. In turn, we deliver information and insights back to our internal partners; it is a constant cycle of feedback.
For example, if the customer production schedule changes and there is need to deliver a product sooner than expected, we go back to the planning team and see what is possible. If we are suddenly expecting a late delivery because we have an internal struggle, we need to deliver information to customers as soon as we determine the next course of action.
What we do is more than delivering information. We don’t just hand over a report and walk away. There is an open and ongoing dialogue with our customer. We are mindful to challenge our internal partners or our customer when we see something unusual. When a problem does appear, we respond efficiently and give key information up front. However, every customer is unique and it’s our job to equip our CSRs with the tools and data to succeed.
Building a good relationship is important in our line of work as well. We strive to have a level of intimacy in our rapport where a customer feels comfortable sharing internal information and feedback to elevate their experience.
Likewise, each CSR has his or her own playbook, so they know what to do and when depending on the expectations of the customer. My team understands the processes when problems appear because we take the time to proactively create contingency plans and tools for anticipating what could go wrong.
I am proud of my team members and their desire to succeed. When looking at the structure of my team, I have a good balance with all colleagues. There is strength in diversity of thought, and each member brings unique experience, views and ideas that complement the others nicely. I am able to coach the best of each one and collaborate for a really good outcome. They know exactly what to do, and if they need additional support, they have a great, knowledgeable team behind them and always a colleague to consult.
One of the most important aspects of customer care is taking the time to build a strong relationship, and the customer relationship contributes to new business and succeeding over critical situations. Believe it or not, the relationship makes the difference on how effectively we can manage the situation. A strong relationship can withstand any issue and build even stronger solutions.
For me, customer focus means a proactive approach to service. We anticipate expectations so we can drive activities to meet them. When a customer is upset, we have a discussion to find a beneficial solution. Instead of waiting for questions, we push out information as soon as we know, so our customer can make the best decisions. At the end of the day, our mission is to have satisfied customers who get the components they need, when they need them so they will continue to choose our company for their current and future business needs.