Fast little loans
Update your skills in customer service – because according to Natalie Rabson of Boston City Campus and Business College, the following few months could prove rather trying for most people.
For one, there aren’t any long weekends lined up until September. Second, the current economic pressures are not expected to ease any time soon. And don’t forget it is winter.
“This combination of short days, less time to achieve goals and financial difficulty is bound to turn us all into difficult customers,” she comments. “Those entering or working in the customer service industry will have to deal with their own rough circumstances as well as face the added challenge of keeping demanding customers happy.”
Rabson believes that having the appropriate training and qualification in customer service will enable anyone to perform their job well and with confidence.
“Good training prepares you to deal with all types of people and to understand the importance of customer service in today’s competitive business environment,” she says.
“If you are well-trained, difficult customers fail to faze you; if you learn about difficult situations and imagine them in your mind, it’s easier to remain calm when faced with such a reality. “
Customer service people are needed across the board regardless of industry. This includes face-to-face customer liaison officers, PR officers and call centre operators.
Enrol for accredited courses that will give you the necessary skills, such as customer liaison consulting; call centre operations; and public relations practice, she says.
And remember that even if you’re employed, you can still enrol for stand-alone modules to improve or gain new skills – you don’t need to complete a full qualification.
“To accommodate the different needs of people, we at Boston offer a variety of short courses, skills programmes and FET certificates,” Rabson explains. “Our courses can, for example, be done by someone who has a degree in business administration but who lacks exposure to and knowledge of customer service.”
Customer service is an essential part of every job, whether you are serving customers or dealing with inter- nal staff, she points out. Often people become qualified in a specific profession, such as IT, and though they develop great technical skills, they do not have the necessary skills to deal with their customers.
How customer-friendly is your IT department?
“Everyone has customers – this is something that we sometimes forget,” she adds. “Internal customers are your colleagues, while external customers can be walk-in consumers.
“If you look at the number and intensity of service delivery protests in our country, it is clear that local government officials could also do with some skills training as well as customer service training.”
Traits like friendliness, a genuine concern for people, social skills, good communication abilities, self-confidence, patience and kindness, and a willingness to serve others are highly desired by employers and customers alike.
A welcome trait, which is sometimes underestimated, is having the ability to make customers laugh. William Fry, a Stanford University Medical School professor, has studied the effects of laughter upon the human body. He says laughing 100-200 times a day is the cardiovascular equivalent of rowing for ten minutes.
Researchers at Indiana State University studied women who laughed out loud at funny films, compared to those watching a boring tourism video. They found that when samples of natural killer immune cells (which attack cancer cells) were mixed with cancer cells, the immune systems of the people who laughed out loud were boosted by up to 40 percent.
The 20-year Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement showed that a more positive view was connected to an increased lifespan of 7.8 years.
Says Rabson: “We take laughter so seriously that we use it in our classrooms to aid in knowledge retention and focus – for all students, not only those in customer service.”
Boston City Campus & Business College offers over 80 dynamic career qualifications over 40 branches nationwide.
Unisa degrees and media studies are also available at selected branches. Contact Boston on 011 551 2000, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.boston.co.za, or Facebook.