Why Customer Service Is All About Personality

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Customer service usually makes you think of the banal interaction of buying and selling. The action of selling a product requires someone to interact with a customer, and essentially “serve” them. However, what puts the “service” in “customer service” is personality.

I spent seven years in the retail industry, providing excellent customer service every day. But it didn’t come naturally to me. Not at first. What I thought I knew about serving customers was far too basic and simple that it made my job boring and the customers’ experience uneventful. When I started my position in late 2011, I was nervous and had little to no idea of what to do or say to these people – essentially strangers to me – who were only there to purchase something. In a way, it all seemed so surreal an environment I could easily have been put off due to this clinical way of thinking of customer service.

I used to say Hello, just being polite, scan the items, bag them, take their money, give them their change, and say Bye. Simple enough, but the repetitiveness became robotic and boring and it wasn’t really going anywhere. It was just doing the job and nothing more. There was something missing. Something that I had already but wasn’t conveying: my personality.

When I say “my personality” I mean my personality, not just any old type of personality. I think that makes the difference. Everyone is different, and because there are myriad personalities, it makes meeting new people a good thing, a positive encounter, which ensures a fantastic customer service experience all round.

Some of the things I’ve learnt over the years which helped with my way of thinking…

  • Almost anything/anyone is interesting
  • The problem that happened might not be a big deal
  • No one’s out to get you/catch you out
  • We’re all kind of in the same boat together
  • Calm down and enjoy the day

These little tricks in how I think has helped me stay calm under pressure. It a necessity to remain calm in a customer service environment because so much is going on all at once and so many people will be vying for your attention. I’ve seen people working in the retail environment crack under the pressure, they panic and become very stressed. My trick was to stay calm and enjoy the day – if you lose enjoyment in the job, you end up hating your job. Most problems will eventually get resolved, so you should understand it’s not the end of the world. Because I remained calm for the majority of my tenure as a sales assistant, my personality shone through as someone who was professional, knew what I was doing and enjoyed the job.

My personality could be described as friendly with a blunt sense of humour, but I was always able to think on my feet. I think this conveys both the type of person I am and the ability to do the job. When I began utilising this and becoming aware of myself in my working environment, my personality shone through.

My interaction would still be Hello, but I’d talk to them and listen. I’d have a conversation and show genuine interest. Of course, it’s all down to selling the product. But if the customer had a good experience and basically liked me, they’d more likely come back and purchase again. That’s something I learnt while working in retail.

Customer service is all about personality because both the sales assistant and customer will have a positive experience of the interaction. This will make it more than just a banal exchange of product and money, but an actual human interaction that’ll grow from the employee’s personality to the company’s personality.

Michael Holloway

Lead Writer

Written for Dr. Mark D. Yates, the LinkedIn Expert’s Expert

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About the author

Michael Holloway is the Lead Writer at LBM and is an author and content writer from Liverpool. He studied English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Central Lancashire in 2008 and gained his Masters in Writing from Liverpool John Moores University in 2012. In February 2017, his novel was longlisted for the Penguin Random House WriteNow event in Manchester.

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