Customer service is the linchpin of any AGRR business. Done correctly, it can maximize a company’s profits and public profile. Done incorrectly, both can be severely damaged.
Rose Williams of Mel’s Auto Glass in Erlanger, Ky., knows a thing or two about customer service. She’s been doing it for 37 years, and in early October that experience paid off when she was named the gold medalist of the inaugural Auto Glass Customer Service Representative (CSR) competition at Auto Glass Week in West Palm Beach, Fla. She took home a prize of $2,500 and bragging rights as the best Auto Glass Customer Service Representative in the world.
So what’s the biggest piece of advice she has that can help other CSRs out there deliver the best possible customer service?
“No. 1 is just to be positive and really listen to the customer and what the customer wants,” she says. “A lot of times we know what we think they want, but just listen to what they want. Be positive and patient. Put yourself in their shoes. All the rest falls into place if you do that.”
Honesty is the first principle of great customer service, Williams says.
“First of all, always tell the truth,” she says. “Do not lie to a customer. Be honest. That always pays off. Listen to their needs and wants as best you can.”
She says dealing with upset customers isn’t always fun, but great CSRs love to rise to the challenge. Again, listening and being empathetic is crucial.
“As long as they’re not cursing or threatening, your job is to use your resources to correct their problem,” Williams says. “I like those situations. I like helping people when they’re really upset. I like to walk them off that ledge. Say they can’t get something approved through their insurance companies that should be approved. I like being an advocate for people. A lot of times they don’t know all about their situation or what is best for them. They test you sometimes, but remember, they’re the reason you’re here.”
Knowledge is a two-way street when it comes to keeping customers happy, she says. You have to gather it, but more importantly, you also have to dispense.
“Customer service is just getting as much information as you can and making sure you keep that customer safe at all times,” Williams says. “It’s a challenge. You really have to take that extra step because there’s so much competition out there. And you have to be knowledgeable, too.”
That’s where training and education come into play — and it’s also why they’re so important for businesses.
“You’ll hire a CSR and next thing you know, they’re on the phone in two weeks,” she says. “You go to all this work to get accounts and get your name out there, so you really have to be careful. We have a really intense training program where we make them listen to us and not take calls for a while. It’s very important that they are knowledgeable on that.”
Williams says she’s looking forward to defending her CSR competition title at next year’s Auto Glass Week, which is scheduled for September 27-29, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas.
“ It’s important for CSRs to get recognized,” she says. “They basically sell the job. It was a great experience.”
She’s also got a suggestion for 2018’s competition.
“Next year, I’d like to see a little more product knowledge in it,” Williams says. “Maybe a question about lane departure or rain sensors.”