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Customer service is an important part of business which could influence the brand perception as well as customer royalty in a long term basis; therefore we select this top as our group study area. And this learning event has taught me a lot in term of not only the professional knowledge in the topic but also in the group learning and organization. Below let us review the group study events first.
2. Group Dynamics
We spent 10 days (1 hour per each day) together in this learning event, in order to make this learning event more acceptable to each of us, we use equipment such as cabinet, video playing, books and food and beverage. And the advantage of these inputs is that it largely motivated our group members to participate the event which is full of fun rather than boring people.
As part of the group, I had contributed to this group study via three major ways:
2.1 Facilitate the topic selection
In the beginning, we had problems in selecting which topic should be our best topic in this study. My contribution to this selection process was that I recommended that we could list out the advantages and disadvantages of each topic that many of us had mentioned, and then we made the decision based on a voting. And because of the democratic method of selecting the topic, we all accept this topic as the most suitable topic to most of us.
2.2 Design the three games
To make us get familiar with the topic as well as the new group, we all agree that we could start from some game playing. And I had contributed to this part of the study by looking up the fun game from Google as well as collecting ideas from all members of the group. The three selected games are: (a) hot potato; (b) never say never; (c) left hanging. Speaking from the effect of the games, the “never say never” received the most popularity while the left hanging did not achieve my expectation in term musing the group of us. Nevertheless, the gaming playing did cheer us up and the most importantly, it assisted to make all of us stay focused in the learning event.
2.3 Dispute handling
One problem that we can not avoid is the happening of disputes in which some of us may have different ideas and thinking regarding one specific issue, this could be harmful to our learning process as it could directly lead to group failure if it does not receive careful handling. In my contribution to the resolving of these disputes, I always told our group members that we were a new group and it was so normal that we disagree with each other, but we should try to seek that solution and decision that the majority of us could agree with. And I had learnt a number of things in these
3. Individual Learning Needs
3.1 Skills and competencies prior to this learning
Regarding the skills and knowledge of customer service, in my original understanding before this learning I understanding the function of customer in two major ways: on one hand customers is all about handling the difficult customers who come to the customer service center to complain regarding their purchasing behavior; on other hand, I believed that customers is only supplementary business function that a company set up in order to avoid customers’ complains and it would not lead to further increase. But this learning event has finally given me some new understanding regarding the definition and functionality of the customers.
3.2 Skills and competencies after this learning
3.2.1 Communication skills
In the job of the customer service, communication of great important because when we try to decline the request of the customers, they will tend to become very angry or agitated and thus we need use approach to indirect way to tell them why the request is turned off and the most importantly, what we are going to offer to them; or if we can not make other compensations or offer any solutions, apology in a sincere way is very important.
3.2.2 Manage the customer expectation
Customers will come to the customer service staff with not only requests but also the expectations, there are two major misunderstanding that we had: first of all, we always think that if the scenario is the customer’s fault, we should try to turn off the customer unreadable demand by approaching to the higher authority or directly decline the request; secondly, if it is the company’s fault, we should offer the customers with the best offer or compensation based on their demand. But the fact is that customer will never satisfy with our offer and thus it is important to manage their customer expectation. There are two major kind of expectation: on one hand, we need to at the very beginning give the customer a clear decline if we can not help them to achieve what they desire, but still we can use the better and patient communication to persuade the customer to give up their unreasonable demand; secondly, compensation should be provided to customer with clear statement regarding the limitation and relevant term and conditions from which the customers could expect what the compensation would be and what they can do with the compensation such as the vultures, also limitation of the compensation such as the expiry date of the vultures.
To conclude this learning, I have learnt a lot from two major aspects: as a member of a group, I need to contribute to the group study by providing the assistance that I can offer to facilitate the group performance; and in another aspect, in the topic of customer service, a good performance in customer service could actually act as a good source of business competitive and customer would add value to the brand if they receive good customer service.