The CSR is a key position for most every company. CSRs play a critical role as the interface between customer and company, but the position does not always get the just dues it deserves. Some people look at the position as a generic, entry-level slot, and many others see it as a short-term position until something better comes up.
Have you stopped to think of what such a position could lead to if you applied yourself? Let’s take a look at some of the tools that you could use to go further in a CSR position, turning it from a short-term slot to a career.
Of course, there are many variables since there are many types of CSR positions out there, so here are just some generics to consider. If you are in a position where you are face to face with a customer, then you need strong interpersonal skills. This requires strong verbal communication and listening skills, as well as a large amount of patience. You must also have great and quick thinking problem solving skills.
If you are dealing with people on the telephone, these same skills are a must-have. However, most positions are pushing for online interfaces, so a CSR must be capable in face-to-face as well as electronic communication. Are you confident and proficient with computers? Do you have strong typing, spelling and writing communication skills? If not, consider taking some classes in areas like computer skills, English/grammar, and business. Gaining strength in these areas can help you to become a better CSR, which in turn could open doors to advancement opportunities.
What about public speaking? Some positions may lead you to address a larger crowd of people, whether it is your co-workers or a group of customers. Dealing one-on-one with customers in itself is a form of public speaking on a small scale, so if you have issues with confidence in this area, there may be classes locally you can take to brush up on these skills. I know in the past that many companies I have been with have had connections working with groups like Toastmasters International, which offer “a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere.” Visit their page and read through some of the testimonies of people who speak of losing their job due to a horrible presentation. If that sounds like something that could happen to you, seek the skills to improve in that area.
Depending on the position and customer base, speaking additional languages may be a big plus. Phone-based CSR positions may run into customers whose primary language is not English, and so being able to provide them service in their native tongue helps them as well as makes you a more hireable candidate. There are many ways these days to acquire additional language skills, from online courses, classroom courses, and programs like Rosetta Stone.
The important thing to do as you are seeking your CSR position, is to take a quick self-evaluation and determine where your skill weaknesses are, and then be proactive to strengthen those areas. Also, speak to others in the industry that have successfully made it a career and ask them how they went about it. Knowing what skills are needed, and applying yourself to acquiring them, could assist you in moving up the company ladder quickly, which is worth investing your time in early on. Many times there are very inexpensive ways to gain the skills and bolster the confidence in those areas you are weak, if you just do a little research to find them.
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