Professionalism in Customer Service 11 Ways to Improve

Professionalism in Customer Service

Working in customer service can be challenging. Here are 11 ways that businesses can become more professional when dealing with customers.
Guest Contributor
10 min read
10 min read

In a Nutshell

When you treat your customers professionally they are likely to respond in kind. A professional manner in customer service helps your business to build a positive reputation and nurture rewarding relationships with customers.

Table of Contents

There are many challenges that the customer can throw your way when working in customer service. It’s not easy to keep your cool and serve each customer with dignity and respect, but it’s something we must all strive for if we want to deliver a high standard of customer service

As soon as a customer service representative enters the contact center or switches on their headset, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism. In customer service, we don’t behave the same as we would when socializing with friends. Customers expect a particular attitude from your business and if they don’t get it, the complaints will soon be flooding in. 

It doesn’t matter how rude or unreasonable the customer is being. Your customer service reps will have to deal with each and every enquiry in the same professional manner and deliver quality customer service. 

What does being professional in customer service mean? 

Professionalism in customer service means adopting workplace-appropriate attitudes and behaviors at all times. It’s about projecting a professional image of the business in all your dealings with customers so that customers feel respected and valued. 

Being professional ranges from wearing the correct workplace attire, choosing the right language, and behaving in a polite and friendly manner. Professionalism with customers is about bestowing on customers the status of being an individual worthy of respect. 

Projecting a professional image should be consistent at all times, no matter what channel a customer contacts you on or which service rep they happen to connect to. You’re making a first impression that can never be taken back. 

Being professional in customer service means rising above any perceived slights from the customer and behaving in a positive and friendly way. It doesn’t matter if the customer is acting badly, because it is your job to raise the tone and avoid taking the bait. 

Often customers don’t invite professionalism, but they will be impressed by your quality customer service nonetheless. 

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

The importance of professionalism in customer service

If you’ve never thought about customer service professionalism, then now is the time to start as part of your customer service strategy. First and foremost, your customer service reps are the public face of your company who are directly interacting with customers. 

A customer enquiry is an important opportunity for your business to demonstrate its professionalism and earn loyal customers. 

Service reps are concerned with building relationships with customers who have questions or problems. If customers are presented with a professional face of the company, they will know your business is committed to delivering a high standard of customer service.

Customer service reps are responsible for building the reputation of the business. When service reps are professional, they develop a positive reputation for the business that has customers raving about the company. 

When service reps are professional, this indicates to customers that they are competent. Customers are assured that reps have the required skills to solve their problem, and that the business takes customer service seriously. 

If you treat customers with respect and courtesy, they are more likely to respond in kind. They know the business values them enough to treat them well, and they’ll be more inclined to buy from you again even if there has been a service lapse.  

How to deliver professional customer service

Here we’ve got 11 tips on how your business can deliver customer service professionalism every single time. 

1. Engage your service reps

It’s important to treat your service reps as well or even better than you treat your customers. After all, they are the ones actually delivering the customer service. 

Professionalism is more easily achieved when your customer service professionals feel invested in the business. You need to motivate them to adopt the business’s values and project this attitude to customers at all times. Ways to engage reps involves paying them a decent salary, rewarding high-quality work and offering career-advancement opportunities. 

When customer service reps feel proud to work for your company, and that the company appreciates them, this translates into a more professional demeanor. Subtle changes take place in the way they feel about their work which is quickly noticed by customers. 

2. Follow proper email etiquette

If you’re using a tool like Keeping for your email customer service, you’re likely to already be on top of your incoming customer emails. 

But it’s worth paying attention to your email etiquette when replying to customers, since good written communication is essential in customer service. 

It looks highly unprofessional when your emails are riddled with typos and grammatical errors. It also doesn’t look good if you write in all caps LIKE THIS, or send out long rambling emails that take forever to get to the point. 

Customers appreciate it when you write your emails in a professional and yet friendly tone. Address customers by their name and ensure that you sign off properly. If you’re instructing customers on how to troubleshoot something, consider using numbered lists to make your meaning clearer. 

3. Never speak badly of the business

If something has gone wrong, it’s tempting to find someone to blame and for that we need a scapegoat. But there’s nothing more unprofessional than speaking badly of the business, not to mention disloyal and results in poor customer service. 

Often, you want to blame someone else to avoid the blame being placed on you. 

Try to move customer service interactions beyond apportioning blame. It’s possible to recognize that there has been a mistake without pointing the finger at a particular person. Customer service reps need to present a united front for the business while at the same time accepting responsibility to make it right. 

It’s difficult to avoid speaking badly of the business but customers tend to understand that mistakes happen. As long as they’re compensated for their time and their inconvenience, they are highly likely to do business with you again. 

4. Be swift with your apologies

If a customer is contacting you about an issue that is the business’s fault, it’s common politeness to reply with a heartfelt apology. You don’t necessarily have to take the blame for the situation if you’re truly sorry that the customer has suffered. Quickly offering a genuine apology is the way to ease a customer’s pain and show that your business cares. 

If you don’t apologize, this may be construed as unprofessional and like you possibly blame the customer for getting themselves into the situation. Saying something like “I’m so sorry this has happened to you. We’ll get it put right straight away,” is an easy way to defuse the tension and get the customer back on side. 

In fact, offering an apology can be the difference between retaining and losing a customer. 

5. Use customer service response templates

It can be easier to deliver professional customer service if you’re not working from scratch every single time. Customer service response templates can drastically cut down on the time it takes to respond to individual customer emails. 

You can save them to your help desk software if you use a tool like Keeping and then quickly insert them whenever you get a common customer inquiry. The advantage of using templates is they have already been proofread to ensure they meet professional standards.

Using customer service response templates doesn’t mean you lose the personal touch with your customers, but rather free up time for more complex queries.  

6. Engage in proactive customer service

It’s the height of professionalism when you can proactively anticipate customer problems and deal with them before they even arise. For example, if an order is predicted to be later than usual, sending customers an update to keep them informed can increase customer satisfaction. 

Proactive customer service means you’re not just waiting around for customers to contact you. Taking the time to reach out to customers is more professional because it shows you understand customer expectations.  

It’s the type of service that keeps customers coming back for more and telling their friends about you. 

7. Hire capable agents

You won’t be able to deliver professional customer service if you don’t hire agents that are capable of meeting the required standards. You need customer service professionals who can react well to pressure and keep their cool even if customers are being demanding. 

Naturally, you need to hire the best candidates who have a temperament that is well-suited to working in customer service. Some individuals cope better than others when it comes to working in customer service. 

We’ve come up with a list of common help desk interview questions that you can ask all your prospective candidates before hiring them.  

8. Always deliver on what you promise

It’s unprofessional when businesses make promises they can’t keep. If you say you offer 2-day deliveries, then make sure it’s a target you can hit. Even more so, if you claim that customers are your highest priority, then ensure this is something you can deliver. All your policies and processes should be geared towards fulfilling the promises that you make to customers and maintaining the highest standards of professionalism. 

When customers see that you keep your promises, this builds trust in the business and enhances your brand’s reputation. Your business becomes known for upholding the highest professional standards and this draws in new customers. 

Businesses that keep their promises become more respected in general and have stronger brand equity. 

9. Quickly deal with customer enquiries

Nothing annoys customers more than being kept waiting. It’s professional to answer customer enquiries promptly and efficiently, or customers will soon be taking their business elsewhere. 

This means minimizing the amount of time your customers spend on hold and potentially implementing a call-back solution. You can save time for customers by offering them a self-service knowledge base that answers common queries, providing an instant way to get customer support without having to wait for an agent. 

When you get back to customers quickly, they know you value their time and have invested the appropriate resources into customer service. 

10. Don’t take things personally

It’s much easier to stay professional when you don’t take the behavior of customers personally. As a good customer service professional, you may be representing the business but that doesn’t mean the customer’s problem is your fault. Maintaining a mental distance from the situation is a crucial part of being professional, without coming across as uncaring or dismissive. 

Train your agents to be objective and impartial when handling difficult customers. Being able to address the situation in a calm and confident manner will make your service interactions much more successful. 

Service reps who can stay detached will be more resilient to stress than their overly invested counterparts. 

11. Focus on the solution

Customers who are unhappy may be inclined to wallow in self-pity or vent their rage, but this is not constructive. Try to direct the customer’s attention towards possible solutions for the issue instead of obsessing over what went wrong. This helps make your relationship with the customer less antagonistic and more cooperative. 

Offering solutions to customers is the way to deliver a professional standard of customer service. Customers expect you to solve their problems and fulfill the promise the business has made to them. 

Ultimately, the sign of a professional customer service interaction is one where the issue is fully resolved. 

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

Wrapping up

When you treat your customers professionally they are likely to respond in kind. A professional manner in customer service helps your business to build a positive reputation and nurture rewarding relationships with customers. You don’t have to sound like a robot in order to communicate with decency, courtesy and honesty in all your dealings with customers. 

The last thing you want is for your business to be considered rude to customers. If customers have taken the time to get in touch with you, then they deserve to be treated with consideration. Being professional is the foundation of good customer service

Catherine Heath
Catherine Heath
Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She is often writing case studies, help documentation, and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at https://awaywithwords.co.