Acting skills for your customer service
Facing a customer directly requires some essential skills that we are communicating through our emailers and from the Open Mind Blog.
Let’s take a break from the classic favorites like patience, listening with intent, clear communication skills, empathy etc. and try to focus on one skill that is rarely discussed but can have an enormous influence on how a customer service executive deals with a customer.
Surprised? Well, we do use our inherent acting skills in our daily life! Whether it’s dealing with a difficult boss or a demanding partner; we wriggle out of situations by making an excuse or explaining circumstances. In short, we act out a part that is not our real self.
So why not use those skills consciously and methodically? Learning a few basic acting skills helps a customer service executive remain calm and his cheery self even in the event of a customer hell-bent on confrontation for their own reasons, beyond your business’s control.
Where does acting skill fit in here you may ask? Since they are already doing that, how can learning more be of any benefit?
The simple reason is collective brotherhood. Not just you or customer service reps, we all are actors at some stage and at varying levels. It certainly helps if customer service executives stay a few steps ahead in the game so the person on the other side of the phone or table does not qualify you as a fake.
Acting in customer service is not lying; it’s more of listening, focusing, understanding and then replying with a measured response that you believe will soothe the nerves and help in taking the situation under your control.
Here are a few acting practices that can help you in building a powerful customer service team. Or you can simply engage the services of an outsourced customer service firm like Open Mind Services Limited.
- Beginning with being truthful. Actors like Aamir Khan, Robert De Niro etc. are world famous proponents of method acting. It virtually means they involve themselves in the character they are playing. That’s the level of trust a CS executive needs to build. It may mean opening up to uncomfortable conversations that lead to solving the customer issue at hand.
It would do a world of good to remember that Aamir Khan was not a wrestler- he worked hard to understand the man. Similarly, a customer service rep can learn about common customer problems and practice their craft to become an expert in their field.
- Live in the moment. An frequently misused concept, actors use it to their advantage by repeatedly recalling that the role they are playing is a part of them as long as they wear the makeup for it. As soon as the shot is canned, they become their usual self.
Customer service executives can take a leaf out of an actor’s book to learn focusing on that moment, that customer, that call, while not thinking about counting likes on their latest Instagram post or what would be in lunch at the cafeteria, or even about a previous call that went bad or good. This can be incredibly helpful in listening attentively to respond accordingly.
- Listening attentively. Active listening should be made a compulsory subject in every school and college! As a direct upshot of living in the moment; listening is the single most important skill in any communication interface. It’s like the question you have to give an answer for. If you’re unable to understand the question, it will practically become impossible to answer it!
Customer Service Executives must learn the skill with repeated practices and consciously focusing on the words and the tone behind them. Reading point 2 about focusing on the call and not on food and goods shall help.
- Thinking on the feet. Improvisation is the secret weapon of seasoned actors! Nothing gives them more exhilaration than the satisfaction when they can improvise and improve upon a performance dictated by the director. The elemental thing to remember is to improvise within the boundaries of the script.
Customer Service Reps can learn to improvise their responses within the accepted script they’re provided. It’s like a football match where everyone has the skills yet some perform better than others- within the parameters of the football ground.
Role-playing is a well-respected and widely used approach to train customer service executives in dealing with unexpected situations. Using that in aggregation with these simple acting skills offers the potential to enhance CS reps’ skills in responding with exalted dexterity and deeper understanding when faced with unexpected queries.
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Open Mind Services Limited, a specialized Inbound Communications company continues to assist its clients in providing impressive customer service and delivering vital competitive advantage for more than 15 years now.