Communication in the Customer Service Role Essay Sample
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Please note that this Assessment document has 13 pages and is made up of 5 Sections.
Section 1 – Understand methods of communication with customers
1a) Use the table below to outline at least two different customer service situations and the different methods of communication that would be needed in these situations.
Situation Methods of communication 1. A learner calls the centre to enquire about English and Maths I will use verbal communication, via telephone, using phone conversation. courses and qualifications available, their equivalences and some I will have to use an appropriate tone of voice, behave professionally and additional information about the content of the courses. speak clearly and using a formal language.
2. One of my learners has difficulties in using punctuation marks in a In the first part I will use verbal face-to-face conversation, making sure confident way. After a one-to-one session, I print some worksheets I use appropriate language, tone of voice and body language. for her to practice on, to improve her skills. But in the same time I want to assure that the learner will definitely work on them, so IWhile on the second stage I will have to use written communication, where I decide to send her an email where I can inform her of my intention will use appropriate and formal language, additional information and and can attach the electronic form of the worksheets. explanation.
1b) Based on the information you have provided in the table above, outline why the different situations need different methods of communication.
Different customer service situations require different methods of communication, because communication is important in every domain and in every aspect. Different methods of communication are effective and appropriate for different situations and audiences. The methods of communication include verbal communication which is simply speaking. Written communication is also another method which involves writing emails, memos, report or letters and finally non-verbal communication which involves gestures, movement and eye contact.
For the first situation I decided to present, the communication method used is verbal communication, being the most suitable one to send clear and detailed information, answer any additional questions or clarify any doubts. Verbal communication can help me to communicate key messages to my customer and it can help me to establish a rapport with them. But in this situation, in a conversation over the phone, the learner will only be able to hear me and the tone of my voice, so for a better communication, the tone of my voice has to be very confident and professional.
For the second situation the communication method I’ve decided to use a combination of both verbal and written communication. If the first part of the scenario was asking me to use face-to-face communication where I had to use clear, plain language combined with appropriate body language, the second part, the email sent, will ask for me to use written language, with formal and detailed language. I would probably introduce any other details, specifications or explanations.
2. In relation to your current organisation (or one that you know well), complete the table below by listing at least three different examples of customer interaction and identify the most suitable communication method for each one.
Customer interaction Communication method 1. By phone, either having operators standing by to answer calls, or Learners calling to enquire about courses available, the stage of making calls to customers, method that is very useful, giving the their learning or previous enquires, if their certificates are customers the possibility to reach someone who can answer their issued, calling to speak to their tutors or to book any questions or help them with their quires. Sometimes the situation appointments, etc. requires the learner to be putted on hold or redirected to the right department/person. 2. Face-to-face verbal communication, speaking, using words and terminology that the learners can comprehend. Learners attending their booking at the centre, for continuing theirNonverbal expression: The tone and inflection of the voice, facial learning, meeting their tutors, attending the workshops, sitting expressions, posture, and eye contact are also important in the their examinations, etc. face-to-face communication.
Nonverbal communication can sometimes contradict the message conveyed through another method of communication, so therefore we have to be very careful at the way we are using it. Another important aspect of the face-to-face communication is listening, being able to listen to the customer’s quires and needs. 3. Written communication is the most suitable method of communication to be used in these circumstances. Informing learners about any changes, updates, offers or progress. Written communication involves any type of interaction that makes use of the written word. Examples of written communication channels, that are often used to communicate with the customers, include electronic mail, Internet Web sites, letters, welcome packs, advertisements, brochures, and news releases.
3. Complete the table below by identifying at least two advantages and at least two disadvantages of each communication method.
Communication method Advantages Disadvantages Face to face 1. Verbal communication allows the speaker to 1. In the face-to-face communication there is an immediate explain specific details and make any clarificationsfeedback and that are unclear. it gives a personal touch to all the appreciations or critics. 2. Communicating in person offers the listener undivided attention and lets them know they are 2. It can be hard to prove that the communication actually important. took place if there is no written record. In writing 1. Written communication allows the sender to 1. Depending on the channel chosen, however, it can take a carefully consider the message before sending it. while before reaching the recipient. 2. Written instructions can be checked at a later date. It serves as a useful reference. 2. It does not answer questions and there is no immediate feedback. Via telephone 1. Phone calls allow the personal aspect of hearing 1. Poor presentation of the message or the instruction can an individual’s voice, and concerns can be answered result in misunderstanding and wrong responses. faster than written one. 2. Telephone conversations are, on average, shorter than 2. Oral communication allows for immediate feedback face-to-face conversations as it’s easier to control the such as the opportunity to ask questions when the conversation and take the initiative. meaning is not entirely clear.
4. When responding to a customer query in writing, outline the content that could be included in a standard letter.
Written Communication involves expressing yourself clearly, using language with precision and constructing a logical argument. Communication in the form of a letter should always be written in a professional and courteous manner. The written response and requests should be clear, informative and timely. When I’m responding to a customer query in writing I have to state the main point clearly, right at the beginning. I have to get the most important message out right away, even it is bad news, and then add all the details that support and/or explain that main point. I will have to respond clearly and directly to the customer’s specific questions and concerns. Use the right tone and formal and professional language and I have to keep sentences and paragraphs short. Letters should contain:
– My company’s name and address
– The customer’s name and address
– A reference or order number if appropriate
– The date
– A polite greeting ‘Dear Sir/Madam’
– The message that I want the customer to receive
– Any action I want the customer to take
– Polite closing
– A signature and printed name for the customer to respond to or contact
5a) Explain what is meant by the term ‘active listening’.
Listening plays a major part in effective communication. Active listening is a process of communication that involves actively paying attention to the customers who are talking to a customer service member of staff in order to fully understand the messages which they are sending, not just the individual words. Active listening increases understanding of the customer queries and establishes a rapport between the speaker and the listener. Rather than passively listening to the speaker (or not listening at all), the active listener pays close attention to both verbal and body language that will be helpful in sorting out any problems. By showing that you value the customers’ opinions, you can quickly build trust and a durable rapport. It’s also a perfect way to avoid misunderstandings. Because I will repeat back a summary of what I heard, the customer then has a chance to correct anything that I didn’t understand, or make any other clarifications.
5b) Why is active listening important when dealing with customers?
In customer service, active listening shows to my customers that I am taking part in the conversation and that I am interested in understanding what they are saying. In addition, if there is a problem or complaint, with active listening I am showing empathy and a common goal to solve the problem. In active listening I will have to clarify any doubts, by asking open-ended questions to clarify content and to gain more information. I will have to paraphrase and verify, stating in my own words what I heard, so the customer can confirm that I heard correctly. Use phrases like “If I understand you correctly . . .” or “So what you are saying is . . . .” If my understanding is incorrect, the customer will be able to correct the misunderstanding and avoid conflict. This way my response or any actions I’ll take will definitely meet the customer’s needs and expectations. The next step will be to reflect or empathize. Reflecting does not mean I agree with the customer’s perspective, but rather that I comprehend what he or she is feeling and thinking. Summarizing is briefly sum up what has been said. I will have to ask for confirmation or agreement from the customer.
6. Use the table below to describe the standard greetings of three different organisations and how these greetings impact on customers.
Organisation Standard greeting Impact on customers Organisation 1 A friendly approach: The friendly approach is a suitable way of greeting “The weather certainly seems to be very cold outside the customer who enters the shop and is giving out no A charity shop that presents donated today.” clues about what he/she wants from you or the store. goods for selling for obtaining money The customer will feel welcomed and more likely to to sustain a charity cause. have a conversation with the seller. This will make the customer feel appreciated and more likely to spend more time in the store and buy more. Organisation 2 A service approach: The customer will appreciate that he or she is immediately served and his/her time is not wasted. A GP surgery “Good morning and welcome!
Do you have an appointmentThe customer will notice the professionalism of the with us today to see your GP? nurse and will be respectful as well. Organisation 3 A merchandising approach: The merchandise approach is a very efficient way of leading into a sale, as it immediately begins to discuss merchandise, without spending time on general A clothing shop that sells clothes for“Would you like to take that into a fitting room or comments or greetings. The customer gets the both men and women. do you want to pay for that now?” information he or she needs straight away and it gives him or her the option to ask for other services.
Along with the verbal communication every customer service staffs should also need to ensure that their body language is open and inviting, not closed or aggressive, their attitude and appearance.
Section 2 – Understand how to handle customer service information
1. Explain what information may be held about customers by an organisation.
When setting up a system for storing information about customers, three things should be taken into consideration; what should be stored, where it should be stored and how it should be stored. Basically, everything that could be required in the future needs to be stored. Most organisations will have much of their information stored electronically, but even in these, paper copies will be stored also. There are different types of customer information, such as: – Personal or profile data
– Data about transaction they make
– Details of communication they’ve had with the organisation and their preferences.
What type of information the organisation collects will depend on the products or services it offers. For example, a learning centre will hold more personal details and learning history about a customer than a retail store. Anyway, every customer service staff should follow her/his organisation’s guidelines for collecting, recording, storing and updating customer information accurately, holding customers’ personal data being restricted by the Data Protection Act 1998.
2. Outline at least two examples of ways in which customer information can be kept secure and confidential.
The security and confidentiality of customers’ personal information is protected by the Data Protection Act 1998.
Customer information may be sensitive. I must not leave on the printer or electronic storage devices lying around. Organisations have a duty to ensure the information is kept secure. Correct use of a computer password will prevent unauthorised access to customer information stored on my computer. To comply with the data protection Act, my organisation has procedures that I should follow when storing and handling customer information in a paper-based system. Files containing confidential information must be stored in a locked cabinet. When posting confidential information, I should mark the envelope according to my organisation’s guidelines, for example: “Strictly Private and Confidential” even when using internal mail. Sensitive documents must be shredded and not put in the recycling bin.
3. In relation to your current organisation (or one that you are familiar with):
• Give at least two examples of information about the organisation that should not be disclosed to customers.
Not all customer requests are reasonable; sometimes a customer will demand something which I, or more importantly my company policies, cannot allow, for example providing some kind of information about the organisation that should not be disclosed to customers. If you are a public authority you have a legal obligation to provide information through an approved publication scheme and in response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. But in some certain circumstances confirming or denying the request of disclosing the requested information can be under an exemption. Information should not be disclosed to customers of public sector organisations, if that would affect a person’s health and safety. If you think the information you’ve been required to provide is sensitive and should not be released, you may particularly want to consider the exemptions for personal information (section 40) and for confidential information (section 41) in the Freedom of Information Act. In the commercial sector, organisation’s budget plans, passwords, personal data about employees and customers should not be disclosed to other customers.
• Explain why this information should not be disclosed to customers and the implications on the organisation if it is.
For the first case presented, if a member of staffs discloses any information that will automatically have big implications on a person’s health and safety, then the entire organisation will suffer from this, being possible for that organisation to be penalised, financially or juridical. For the second example, in a commercial sector any disclosure of information that is denied by legislation could affect the organisation’s reputation, could lead to possible loss of customers or loss of intellectual property.
Section 3 – Understand how to work as part of a team to provide effective customer service
1. In relation to your current customer service role (or one that you are interested in doing in the future), what are the limits of this role when delivering customer service (e.g. what are you able to deal with as part of this role and what situations would you be unable to handle without assistance from others)?
I am a learner mentor in a learning centre and my main job responsibilities are to plan and deliver lessons, assess the progress of my learners and complete all the required paperwork. The learning centre where I work is a big centre that delivers different courses at different levels. Here is an example of the limits of my role. A learner has successfully passed her exam in Literacy level 1, this way managing to complete her programme. She asked me if she can be enrolled on the next level, Level 2. Although I know the eligibility criteria, the steps in her assessment process and enrolment process, I must not overstep the boundaries of my job role. Therefore I reassure the customer of the possibility of being enrolled on the next programme, mentioning briefly, of course, the steps she’ll need to take.
I will recommend her to have a small conversation to one of our IAG advisers, which might benefit her by obtaining all the information she might need for her educational future. After the IAG session, the adviser will then invite her to follow to the Front Desk room, where the learner will be introduced to a Front Desk member of staff, who will ask her to fill-in all the necessary forms and book her an appointment with an assessor, for her Diagnostic assessment in English. After she will complete the Diagnostic assessment she will be referred to one of our administrators, who will then fulfil all the necessary requirements for enrolling her on the programme. After completing this step, the learner will be introduced to her tutor and she can start her course immediately, with the mention that I might be her tutor for this level 2 in English Skills.
2. Identify the other people (or groups of people) who may be involved in the customer service function.
In the centre that I work in, the customers can get into contact with most of the member of staff: marketing team members, front desk members, assessors, IAG advisors, administrators of the programmes, tutors, invigilators, managers, for solving bigger issues, and customer advisors. All of them have the same aim: to deliver an excellent customer service, meet the needs of the customers and retain customer’s loyality.
3. If you were faced with a customer query outside of your individual responsibility, what sources of help would be available to you?
There are several sources of information and assistance I can get, to help me deal with a customer query: – More experienced colleagues that can advise me or might take over to control the situation; – Team leaders or Centre Manager, who have greater responsibility or more relevant experience; – Internal or external specialists, who might have all the necessary resource to deal with that query; – Colleague at another stage in the customer service process, that can give better advice and support to the customer; – The company’s handbook or the organisation’s policies and procedures.
4. In relation to your current organisation (or one that you are familiar with), explain how other team members can assist in offering excellent customer service.
In the centre everyone has to try to offer excellent customer service. Other team members can assist me in offering excellent customer service by offering me support, suggestions, advice and viable solutions, giving me feedback, helping not only me, but the customer as well to address any concerns, answer any queries or handle any complaints. Team leaders and managers play an essential role in delivering excellent customer service; their knowledge, training and experience makes them more likely to anticipate a customer service need or complaint and they can assure that the customers have a pleasant experience in the centre. Being driven by the same aim- to deliver excellent customer service- we all have to do everything possible to collaborate together and exchange ideas, offer support to our colleagues and build strong relationships with our customers.
5. Explain the importance of keeping colleagues and others informed of customer service operations.
The changes are inevitable and sometimes recommended in customer service operations to make the business and customer service experience run more effectively and be up-to-date with any changes. Whenever I come to know of any changes I will also need to feed the information back up to my colleagues, so they are informed and updated and they’ll know I am doing all I can to implement the changes. It is also always essential that everyone involved in any change to customer service knows of that change to avoid embarrassment if they were to be asked about it and to maintain the professionalism standard in the business and the smoothly run of the service. By effective discussion and communication between the members of staff and departments, companies ensure that their customer service remains the best it possibly can be.
6. Give at least two examples of how customer queries can help you and others to develop customer service skills.
New customer service queries, that haven’t been encountered before can challenge even the most experienced member of customer service and the other colleagues, but can benefit him or her in gaining new knowledge and improving the way they deal with the query. This way they learn how to ask for help from others, all for the customer’s need.
A customer walks in a public library and enquires about some specialist books, which are not available in that particular library. The customer service offers her help to look for the required books in the online database of all the books in the library. She can’t find the requested titles, but her search option shows her other variants. The customer insists politely for those precise titles. She then calls her Team Leader for contacting other public libraries from the same borough and asks for availability. The Team Leader has the authority to call and search for them. He finds the books available in another library and asks the customer if he wants them to be reserved, for they are borrowed at the moment. The customer accepts the terms and declares himself please. He mentions that those titles became very popular lately and suggest the library to have them in stock.
This way our customer is pleased and satisfied, the team members in the library collaborated successfully to deliver excellent customer service and they know about the new demand in those titles, and can be forwarded as a suggestion to their manager, to improve customer service relationships.
I am in a local pharmacy and I am interested in a particular product. I’m asking for support and advice from a customer service advisor. She helps me and provides me with all the information I’ve requested. I decide to buy that product. On my way to the till I remember I have a loyalty card and I have some points available on it. I ask the customer service advisor if I can use the points on the card as a partial payment. She is not sure about that and she decides to ask for confirmation from her Team Leader. The Team Leader confirms the possibility of partially payment for that product using the existing points on my card. When I am at the till and I present the card and the money the cash boy says the machine can’t accept partial payment. I ask for the Team Leader again, but unfortunately she is having her lunch. Then the Manager is asked to come and after apologies and few taps on the screen I can pay for my goods, use my points and walk away happy.
They‘ve learnt from each other how to collaborate together to handle the situation and avoid a complaint, obtain profits for their company and retain my loyalty.
7. Explain how customer service information can be shared (disseminated) for the benefit of colleagues.
The importance of communication with your team on a regular basis on how well or poorly you are doing with regard to customer service performance should reflect in the following methods:
– One to one, in an appraisal (formal) or a casual chat (informal) – Group meetings (formal) or a casual chat such as a quick update meeting at the start of a shift (informal) – Written in memos, meeting minutes, appraisal documentation, copies of customer letters, emails etc.
Section 4 – Understand how to meet the needs of a diverse range of customers
1. In relation to your current organisation (or one that you are familiar with), identify the main types of customer that may need to be dealt with. Include at least three different examples in your answer.
In the learning centre that I work, I can identify different types of customers: Loyal Customers: They represent no more than 30% of our customer base, but make up more than 50% of our achievements. .
Impulse Customers: They do not have in mind a particular qualification at the top of their list, but come into the centre on a whim. They will access what seems good at the time or they want a sense of experience.
Need-Based Customers: They have a specific intention to get enrolled on a particular type of course or programme.
2. Describe at least two aids that can be used to assist customers with special requirements.
Being a learning centre some customers might need additional and specialist support related to their learning style.
I often meet learners that have dyslexia or visual difficulties and therefore I have to assure and supply them with visual, coloured and magnifying tools and resources. Because we offer English courses we have a record number of requests from learners to be given these courses. But sometimes the simple process of asking for information or other details or even understanding the information is difficult for some customers. That is why, we sometimes, try to get the help from interpreters who can translate to them, in their own language, all the information.
3. Outline the steps you can take to make sure you respect cultural diversity in customer service.
Equality and Diversity is highly appreciated and respected in our centre. This aspect can be noticed in the diversity among our staff and our learners/customers. Therefore the organisation puts a lot of accent on the cultural diversity by providing the staff with regular training, continually updating and improving the policies related to this aspect and providing a customised service to all our customers, reflected in the types of courses we offer.
As a member of staff that comes into contact with learners from all the backgrounds and from different cultural communities, I pay a lot of attention and respect to cultural diversity. Although I receive training on Equality and Diversity on a regular basis or news and updates from the organisation, I put a lot of effort myself in doing my own researches on this theme and undertaking trainings or courses outside the organisation.
Being in contact every day with diverse learners from different cultural backgrounds I have the chance to discover new things about different cultures, I have the chance to speak to the learners and get to know them better and this way I’m able to identify their needs. And because my job role involves teaching, I get the chance to customise my lessons, introducing activities and resources that will be tightly connected with the cultural diversity.
All the trainings, courses, resources that I access and conversations I have with my customers, they all combined together will help me understand better cultural diversity in customer service and respect it on its true value.
4. Complete the table below by explaining how to recognise the types of customer listed and how to deal with each type of customer.
Types of customer How to recognise them How to deal with them Angry Angry customers can be easily identified by their facial The most important thing when dealing with this type of expression who is angry, their raised tone of voice and customers is to remain calm, to be assertive and very their movements that include aggressive body language and professional. Take the customer aside, in a quiet environment, verbal communication. They are usually very agitated, listen patiently to what they have to say, ignore any personal impatient and exaggerate the situation. insults or comments and give them all your attention. Apologise for the current situation and explain to them with lots of details about the circumstances and the solution you have. Distressed Distressed customers have a sad look on their faces, You have to listen carefully to what they have to say, show sometimes they can moan about something; some other times sympathy and empathy and offer a solution that will be they can make accusations, which imply a distressed tone convenient for both of you. of voice or a rude attitude.
Be ready to spend some time in explaining the situation and Their body language can show distress if they concentrate convincing the customer his or her issue will be corrected. their movements on another thing. Upset Upset customers can be recognised by their facial Being calm and patient is the secret to deal with these expressions and their body language. They are unhappy customers. Listen to everything they have to say, acknowledge about something and they show it in a combination of an it, assure them you understand the situation and assure them arrogant attitude and a raised tone of voice. Their you are going to find an appropriate solution. communication can be rude or incriminating.
Violent Violent customers make use of their physical attributes toThis situation requires a higher grade of assertiveness and make themselves heard. They might knock the things down, clear and quick judgement from you. Take the customer in a hit the table or push the things around them. Their tone different room away from other customers and make sure you of voice disseminates fear and anger. Their body language inform other people of the situation. First listen to all they is very aggressive and their language could be very have to say; only talking when they give you the chance and inappropriate. only for reassuring them you understood correctly. Remain calm and don’t take it personally. Use appropriate language, avoid raising your tone of voice to make
yourself heard and be concise on everything you have to say.
Section 5 – Understand the importance of promoting and evaluating products and services
1. Describe how an organisation can promote its products and services. Include at least two examples in your answer.
Every respectable organisation should have a Marketing team who will do its best to promote the organisation’s products and services. Marketing specialist have the necessary training to know where to go in the communities and who to speak to, the people who need most the organisation’s service or products. The marketing team will concentrate in keeping in touch with the existing or prospect clients and their mission is to put the organisation’s services and products in the correct light according to every customer’s need.
Advertising nowadays plays a huge role in presenting and selling goods or services. There is a whole range of advertising methods, which are designed for different types of customers: from online advertising (for younger customers) to billboards or outdoor advertising (for occasional customers) to radio, TV or newspapers advertising (for a larger category of customers).
2. Explain the importance of evaluating customer service.
Evaluating customer service experiences is important for many reasons. First you will discover the good parts and the bad parts; this will make you improve good parts and correct bad parts. Secondly you will know the trends regarding customer’s satisfaction and services needed in your organisation. Another reason for evaluating customer service being important is for reducing costs in services or products not needed or wanted by the customers.
All these reasons can lead to customers retain and loyalty, which is important for the organisation’s survival and good name.
2. Identify at least two methods that can be used to evaluate the customer experience.
The most common used method of evaluating customer service experience is the Feedback. Feedbacks can come under different ways (from a paper based survey to an official inspection or audit). Customers’ feedbacks should be treated seriously because in them there is the true perspective of the product or service you have for delivery. Customers’ feedbacks are like the mirror of the entire organisation, with all the staff efforts and all the utility of the product or service provided.
Another form of evaluating the customer experience is the Key Performance Indicator, a very concrete form of evaluation, where every single factor from customer service is represented by accurate numbers. This gives you an insight of all the organisation’s departments and it reflects not the opinion of the customers, but their actions.
4. In relation to your current organisation (or one that you are familiar with), how is customer feedback communicated (disseminated) to colleagues.
Customers’ feedback is available to all the members of staff from our organisation. On the organisation’s Intranet there is a special section dedicated to customers’ feedback and evaluations. Figures and number represent the customer’s satisfaction on different topics. We are encouraged to check the updates in order to be aware of the real situation. Weekly meeting and weekly bulletins present the customers’ feedback and the mission of offering great customer service is reminded to all of us this way. Appraisals, focus groups, the Quality Team’s updates and emails, the Flash News on Intranet, they all contain customer’s feedback in them and this way they are never ignored or forgotten.
5. Explain how evaluation can lead to customer service improvements.
Before you can improve, you have to evaluate the situation. And before you have something to evaluate you have to have the feedback, the opinion, from the person who’ve used your service or product. So once you have the opinion (good or bad) it is time to evaluate it: dissect it, study it and understand it. Once you know the roots of the good or bad feedback is time to try to either keep the standards high up, or even try to improve them, for favourable feedbacks, or to try to make the necessary changes, so that the negative customer experience don’t repeat again. Looking into every customer situation matter makes you aware of your weaknesses and strengths. Weaknesses can be addressed with training or a change of attitude and strengths can be perpetuated by a continuous professional delivery. Knowing the true façade and inside of the organisation, with good parts and bad parts can determine you to become better and improve the delivery of the customer service.
Both positive and negative feedbacks have a huge impact on the organisation. And you are part of the organisation. You have to improve the customer service experience, so that you will prosper along with the organisation.
Once you have completed all 5 Sections of this Assessment, go to www.vision2learn.com and send your work to your tutor for marking.