Becoming an exceptional customer service advisor
Being able to interact with customers, be compassionate, and solve any issues they have, is a great skill not everyone has or finds easy.
Across Sigma Connected, however, we have many first-class examples of customer service excellence both in the UK and South Africa – through people who are at the top of their game and always looking for the best outcomes for our clients’ customers.
One of those exceptional people is Cape Town-based advisor Mogamat Ismail Jacobs who works on our busy and demanding campaigns for a large UK-based energy client.
So here for our latest website Q&A, we caught up with Mogamat to find out more about him, his role and what drives him.
Q. Can you give us an overview of your job as a customer service advisor?
I’ve been at Sigma for over four years now and love my role as a customer service advisor. I work in a team of people based here in Cape Town and we are responsible for delivering campaigns for a large UK energy company.
I support customers on both inbound and outbound calls, also helping respond to emails when customers need additional information on products and services. It’s certainly a busy and varied role, but one in which you can really thrive and achieve.
Q. So what advice would you give to someone who is looking to take up a similar customer-focussed role? How can they be a success?
I think making any role a success really depends on the individual, and what drives and motivates them.
However, to me, there are several key attributes which can unlock the door to being a successful customer service advisor.
A positive attitude each and every day is essential as that ensures you can find the right outcomes for customers, even if personally you are having an off day.
So attitude is key, but what is also vital is that you need to be a fast learner. It isn’t unknown for a client to change focus or set new targets on a campaign. It can happen regularly so you need to be on your toes and ready to think differently as often there isn’t lots of time to implement the changes. So picking things up quickly in any training is an important skill.
There can also be pressure, and at times the role can be demanding. So I advise anyone to be aware of their targets and objectives, and not to lose sight of them despite any pressures.
Strong communication skills are also essential. I know from personal experience that I can find myself having some really difficult conversations, especially with vulnerable customers. It can be heart-wrenching at times, such as do they heat their home or put food on the table for their children? You need to listen to what they are telling you and understand the reasons why they might not be able to pay their bill. So listening skills are so important, alongside a problem-solving mentality if you are to help customers effectively.
Finally, it’s also important to see the bigger picture. To me, it’s not just offering the best service to your clients’ customers, but also your colleagues, your manager and even the senior management team. That’s an important skill to have.
Q. And what are the challenges advisors could face?
I think the biggest challenge is not getting distracted. I have to make sure I stay in the moment and listen carefully to the customer and exactly what they need. Any mistake can have an impact on the relationship I am building with the customer.
Also, time management can be an obstacle. I have a set amount of breaks each day, but if the phone lines are very busy it can impact on my schedule adherence. Therefore, its important I try and stick to the break times as much as possible.
However, if a call is taking longer than expected I personally prefer to let it eat into my breaktime to help the customer. I think it’s our role to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Q. And finally, going back to you personally, what does 2023 hold for you?
As a business, we continue to grow extensively not just here in South Africa, but in the UK too. So my aim is to grow alongside that and add to my experience.