Customer Service Representatives (CSR) are professionals who work with a company’s clients.
Often seen as the face of an organization, they are usually the first person a customer speaks to when they have a question or concern. These types of jobs include salespeople, operators, administrative assistants, receptionists, and bank tellers.
No matter what industry you pursue, being able to work effectively with others is invaluable. Furthermore, customer service experience can help you develop soft skills that can be applied to a variety of roles
We’ve compiled a list of a few of the skills you may have picked up along the way.
In customer service, this skill translates to the ability to stay calm and manage your emotions when confronted by disgruntled or confused customers.
How will patience help you in school? In class, there will sometimes be people who take longer to grasp the material. Therefore, your professor may focus more on those areas and it will be up to you to manage your emotions and not get annoyed. You can never get enough practice with course material, so follow along anyway. Besides, if there ever comes a time where you need extra help, you would expect the same respect from your peers.
After you graduate, patience will come in handy when you are starting a new job. It can be frustrating when you don’t understand something on the first try, but if you are able to stay calm and patient, you will get the hang of it faster.
Active listening means giving a customer your full attention so you can accurately assess their issue. It involves carefully listening, asking for clarification when necessary, and waiting until a person has stopped talking before responding.
How will it help you in school? Well, it’s going to make lectures a lot easier. You will be an expert at paying attention to what your professor is saying, as well as waiting for appropriate moments to ask questions.
After you graduate, active listening will be essential when you interview for jobs. You will know how to give the interviewer your full attention (through body language and eye contact), to ask for clarification when you need it, and to wait until they have stopped speaking before you do.
Good communication is knowing when to listen, when to speak, and how to speak to a customer. The ‘how’ involves being polite, positive, and professional while accurately providing relevant information.
How will this help you in school? Communication skills will come in handy with group projects and presentations. You will have to work with your group to decide what topics to cover, how to designate roles, and how to approach the assignment. Giving your opinion and listening to the opinions of others in a polite manner will be crucial in making that happen. How you communicate will also be important when you give your presentation. You will need to speak to your peers professionally as you present all the relevant information.
After you graduate, communication skills can be directly transferred to work presentation and meetings.
This skill refers to the ability to reach mutually acceptable compromises between you and a customer while reconciling differences.
How will this help in school? Negotiation skills can come in handy if you ever need an extension on an assignment. For instance, there may be times when you have several papers or projects due at one time or a personal or family matter to attend to. Don’t be afraid to go to your professor and explain your situation – prepare what you want to say so you are able to make your point in a compelling manner. As well, be willing to adjust what you are asking for so you are able to reach a compromise that’s acceptable for both of you. Lastly, remember to save these skills for times when you really need them, and not because you don’t feel like finishing an assignment on time.
After you graduate, negotiation skills can be applied to the beginning stages of your career. They can help you reach a compromise on salary, vacation days, benefits, and more. Just make sure your requests are fair and appropriate to your position and seniority; you don’t want to lose a job due to over-the-top demands.
This is the important ability to manage one’s own time and that of others in an efficient manner.
How will it help you in school? During your years in college or university, there will be months that are much busier than others. You will have readings, assignments, and exams that you will need to prepare for, plus extracurriculars and a social life. Being able to prioritize and take care of everything efficiently will make your life a lot easier, especially when you’ve got two assignments due on one day. Use a planner to keep organized and write down how much time you can allot to each task.
After you graduate, time management will be important for the same reasons but in different contexts, such as, work assignments, deadlines, meetings, a relationship, and family priorities. If you can hold on to the time management skills you learned in customer service, you will be able to balance your life more easily.
Don’t underestimate the value of a Customer Service position! Skills like these can help you through your college or university career and long after you graduate.