How to become a CSR expert

Peyton Duplechien • 15 Aug 2021 • 5 min read

Do you ever feel anticipation before a customer service call, not knowing how it’s going to turn out? It’s up to chance whether your next interaction will be a difficult conversation with a frustrated customer, or simply a very pleasant talk with a person that surprises you with their kindness.

Either way, it always pays to be well-prepared for any potential calls you might receive so you can work toward the optimal outcome.

Nowadays, call center agents can receive up to 50 calls a day, so having all the tools and know-how at your disposal will make this sort of workload a much smoother ride. Which is exactly why we’ve pulled together this guide on customer service representation.

Read on to learn all about what CSR is, and how best to implement it in your business.

What is CSR in business

As you may have already guessed, CSR stands for customer service representation – at least in the context of call centers and call-handling roles. At the most basic level, people in this sort of role act as the first point of contact for any customers with questions or problems relating to your business.

Typically, this will involve answering inbound phone calls, addressing any questions received, processing payments or returns, and directing customers in the right direction if they can’t resolve their issue. However, there is more to it than this.

A good customer service representative will also need to be able to professionally represent their company, regardless of the attitude of the customer on the phone. This means maintaining a patient, empathetic, and encouraging tone while they try to meet a customer’s needs.

What is a remote customer service representative?

While a typical CSR is someone based directly in the business they’re representing, a remote CSR is an individual who is not directly employed by the business, but who still performs the same role.

Essentially, they work externally for your business, which enables you to save money through outsourcing such a role. However, other than this, there is no difference in what they do. Think of them like an external Live Answering Service or Virtual Receptionist.

What makes a great customer service representative?

When it comes to being a good customer service representative, there’s far more to the role than just answering the phone in a polite and professional manner. So, to help you master this skill set, here are our top tips to be a good customer service representative:

1. Set up your tech correctly

First things first, any customer service rep worth their salt will always put in the time and effort needed to perfect their set-up.

So, before you start handling any calls, you want to double-check you have a reliable internet installed, that any essential software you use is updated to the latest version, and that all your necessary hardware is connected and running properly.

Once this is all sorted, it’s then best to carry out a sound check to make sure everything is working as intended and you can be heard clearly.

2. Prepare your environment

Just as important as checking that your work gear is functioning correctly, getting your environment ready and comfortable will go a long way towards creating a relaxed and calming environment for yourself – this is particularly important if you work from home.

So, try to find a quiet space where you can take calls from and try to keep the potential for disruptions to a minimum. And when it comes to your personal workstation, remember to order it in a way that lets you focus on your work. This means buying a comfortable chair and a suitable desk.

Try to surround yourself with everything you might need – pens, pencils, notepads, etc… – and it’s always a good idea to have a glass or bottle of water around, just in case you end up with a dry throat during a call.

3. Make information accessible

As the old saying goes; knowledge is power. Therefore, it’s absolutely essential that you organize your computer workspace in such a way that you can easily access any information you might need on a call.

It goes without saying that having to click through multiple files or tabs to find what you need could leave a customer feeling frustrated. And neither do you want to have to click out of numerous tabs of cat memes and Facebook conversations, so keep these out of your workspace.

Ideally, you only want to have open what is most relevant to the job at hand – such as your company’s knowledge base. This means you won’t have to transfer or put customers on hold or wrack your brain trying to remember every single detail of a certain topic, and it’ll also make you feel much more comfortable when explaining things to customers.

4. Always take notes

Pen and paper are a tried-and-true method of recording information quickly, so there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be using it as you take calls. As many as 41% of customers said stopped using a product or service after having to repeat themselves over and over on calls, and notetaking is a great way to prevent this.

Not only will this method make note-taking swift, but it saves you from pulling up additional windows that you may have to click between when searching for information. However, just make sure not to record sensitive information for privacy reasons.

5. Always follow proper phone etiquette

Needless to say, every customer call, while potentially similar, is going to be unique in some way. But while the circumstances of a call can always change, there are some rules of thumb you always keep in mind.

For example, never forget to make the best use of the tools you have at your disposal, such as using the mute button when you need to cough or sneeze, and (again) making detailed notes.

Alongside this, if your role requires you to always be available to the customer, you don’t want to leave them waiting for too long. Therefore, it’s recommended you answer the phone after three rings. This gives you enough time to prepare while also making sure the customer isn’t startled by a sudden answer.

6. Maintain a level and professional tone

Once you’re on a call with a customer, you want to be sure that you maintain a calm and friendly, but also professional demeanor. Doing so will set the tone for the coming conversation in a positive light and help even agitated customers to relax.

To make this easier, it’s always a good idea to take a moment before answering a call to check your posture, breathe, calm your mind, and smile. The latter is a cliché that’s old as time, but even by trying to smile, you subconsciously signal to your mind to be more optimistic, helping you answer the phone in a more inviting manner.

7. Avoid using jargon

If there’s one thing most customers universally hate, it’s excessive jargon being used when trying to fix their problem. Simply put, unless the customer themselves is an expert on the topic, using jargon is just going to confuse them. After all, if they understand the technical side, there’s a good chance they could fix the problem themselves.

Thus, it’s always a good rule of thumb to avoid using any jargon where possible. And if you do have to use some, then you should make an effort to explain it in as simple terms as possible so the customer can understand.

8. Provide an honest answer if you can’t help

Last, but not least, if you find that you can’t help a customer resolve their issue, then you should always answer this honestly before transferring them to someone else or ending the call.

In most cases, transparency and honesty will go a long way to improving your business’s reputation, even if it turns out you can’t help them, so it’s always best to practice it when possible.

Outsource your CSR needs with VoiceNation

Hopefully, you should now know enough about CSR to become an expert in no time. Of course, you won’t become a master customer service representative overnight, so if this is something you want to improve quickly, then you might want to consider using our call services at VoiceNation.

Whether you need a full live answering service or a handy Live Chat, our professionally trained receptionists have you covered. Get in touch today to learn more about our pricing and free trial. And don’t forget to look at our other informative articles as well. Such as how to improve your customer experience and the impact of bad customer service.