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The Customer Service Advice We’re Thankful For - FCR - Blog

The Customer Service Advice We’re Thankful For

If you’re having trouble finding something to be thankful for, try emailing a thousand or so of your friends and colleagues and ask them to share what they’re thankful for. That’s what I did recently here at FCR for the fourth year in a row and I sure enjoyed reading the 187 responses. It was humbling in fact.

In this year’s Thankfulness Survey I asked a couple questions. The first had a customer service slant to it:

“What’s one bit of customer service advice you’ve received over the course of your life/career that you’re incredibly thankful for?

And the second was a bit more generic but a cool window into the lives of my colleagues:

If you had to pick just one thing, what are you most thankful for?

It’s not totally fair to force folks to pick just one thing because we have so much to be thankful for, but I appreciate their effort. Here’s what they came up with.

Customer service advice we’re thankful for

For those of us that have worked in customer service or with people in general for any amount of time, I think it’s safe to say that there are days where it’s difficult to find something to be thankful for. In my own career, I can remember where I was when my frustration after getting yelled at by a customer boiled over. I can also remember when I was introduced and who introduced me to concepts like emotional intelligence and how it dramatically improved the way I serve customers. Am I perfect? No — and I never will be — but I’m getting better.

It’s those pivotal moments in our careers where someone offers us advice that helps us do our job better for years to come. As I read the responses to this question, that’s what struck me the most. The fingerprints of managers, supervisors, trainers, and peers who cared enough to share wisdom and speak into the life of another are so evident.

The top five pieces of customer service advice we’re thankful for are:

1. Don’t take it personally

We all have 86,400 seconds in a day. Don’t let someone’s negative 10 seconds ruin the remaining 86,390 seconds of your day. Don’t sweat the small stuff, life is bigger than that. ~Kathleen in Great Falls

This sounds easy but it’s incredibly difficult when you speak with customers all day every day. The nature of this work is that customers have a problem and their recourse to solve the problem is to contact customer service — and some of them are going to be upset. So it makes sense that 24% of responses shared advice along these lines. If you’re looking for a practical exercise, when you feel yourself getting defensive, offended, or frustrated, 4% recommended pausing and taking a deep breath. That might either be done between or during those heated customer interactions.

2. Smile

Smile! It makes all the difference in not only your mood, but the moods of those around you.  ~Meriah in Independence

Have you ever worked in an environment where people had a mirror at their desk to hold themselves accountable to smile when answering the phone? I know it sounds super cheesy but making a conscious effort to smile when working with customers can make a big difference.. 14% of responses recommended smiling before, during, and after the interaction with a customer. If we’re smiling, we’re more likely to use positive, upbeat, and helpful language when speaking with customers and that impacts tone both in spoken and written communication.

3. Seek to understand

Remember the times you needed customer service in your life and listen as you would want to be listened to, respond as you would want to be responded to. ~Daniel in Independence

Listen, empathize, put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and remember that the customer is a human being are all concepts under this heading of seeking to truly understand the customer. This accounted for 14% of responses. Similar to not taking things personally, it’s important to work to understand where the customer might be coming from and what events in their lives might be triggering their response. Once we understand that, it’s easier to provide a compassionate response and move forward with a solution.

4. Treat the customer as you would treat yourself

Treat each person the way you would like to be treated. Even if you believe the other person is wrong. You never know what kind of day the other person has had, or what they are going through, and you have to be willing to put yourself in their shoes. We are all human and a little compassion can go a long way toward making someone’s day a little better. ~Christine in Roseburg

8% shared some variation of the Golden Rule. I was most entertained by the couple folks who said something to the effect of, “Treat the customer as you’d treat your grandma.” This most certainly involves remembering what it’s like to be a customer ourselves and can help us better understand and anticipate what customers need and how they feel.

5. Put the customer first

This (and every) interaction is a “moment that matters”. Customers don’t call to say things are working perfectly. They need help… your help, and will be grateful to not feel like a number in a transaction or that they should have leveraged the website before calling. ~Dan in Eugene

Sometimes we have to be reminded of the main thing when it comes to customer service. We can become preoccupied with a variety of activities, policies, and distractions and forget that our job is to take care of customers and solve their problems. It’s easy to look up at the call queue and start thinking about our next call but we’re most effective when we’re present with the current customer. 5% of the responses echoed this sentiment.

We are thankful for…

Enough work talk. It’s a holiday and while work is critical on so many levels it’s not always the most important thing. Before I get into how the majority responded to this question, I’m grateful to those folks with one-off responses like chocolate, boots, carpool karaoke, a drumset, and the dinosaurs (Yes, the extinct ones). All very important things for sure.

In past years I’ve shown a pie chart for this question but I’m not sure it’s necessary this year. The reality is that it’s the people in our lives that really matter. I think of my colleague Kathryn in Grants Pass whose sister lost her house in the recent California wildfires. There was fear and uncertainty when she couldn’t reach her sister for some period of time only to find out later that she was alright. We’re so grateful for some good news amid a tragedy that has been in so many of our thoughts and prayers.

While most of us have been fortunate not to face such difficult circumstances, it’s clear that we’re grateful for the precious gift that is great friends, family, colleagues, significant others, children, and grandkids. 64% said they were thankful for one or more of these groups — 67% if you count fur babies (AKA pets) — which I’m totally willing to allow.

Maybe that’s the best way to end this article. This Thanksgiving let’s take the time to remember and be grateful for the people in our lives both past and present. Things can often be replaced but people can’t. Think of those during the course of your customer service career that cared enough to help you grow and develop and then think of those who’ve stuck with you for better or for worse. Happy Thanksgiving!


Publish Date: November 21, 2018

2023 Buyers Guide Speech Technology

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Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.


VoiSentry is a voice biometric engine for speaker verification / identification. It is delivered as a virtual instance to be controlled by an application via APIs and can be deployed in whatever is the most appropriate environment i.e. public cloud, private cloud or on-premise. It is generally deployed as a white-label or OEM product, whereby Aculab’s partner integrates it into their own solution/platform and offers it as an integral part of their service. Unless they go public with it, none of their clients would even know that it was Aculab’s VoiSentry engine under the hood. As with any biometric speaker verification system, VoiSentry is language and dialect independent.

3.) Agara

Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.

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Listen in on and highlight common patterns in order to execute triggers to initiate a new action or workflow, such as emailing a manager if the word “cancel” is spoken on a call. You can also set up to automatically redact content from a transcript, such as sensitive health information transmitted on a call.


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InTone Suite - Emotion Detection via Voice Analysis
InTone™ is a voice analysis tool geared to detect genuine emotional and cognitive reactions regardless of the speaker’s language or chosen intonation.
It integrates into existing contact center environments and provides realtime indications of both client and agent emotional reactions throughout all ongoing calls. This unique set of indications assists managers and call center representatives to truly understand the client, improve call center performance, easily detect angry calls, elevate training efficiency and provide a tailored customer experience in every single call.

Nemesysco's contact center technology is also available in API and SDK forms.
Please visit our website for information about our product portfolio.


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- Long term recording storage for historical analysis

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View more from FCR

Recent Blog Posts:
When Friendly Customer Service is SecondaryFebruary 20, 2019
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FCR Solutions Spotlight: 5 Contact Center Tech Upgrades to Consider in 2019January 11, 2019
How Chat Analytics Differs from Voice AnalyticsJanuary 3, 2019
Sad and Happy GoodbyesDecember 21, 2018
Creating A Customer Service Quality Assurance Form Doesn’t Have To Be Scary (Here’s How)December 14, 2018
A Miscellaneous Lot of Thoughts on Quality ScoringDecember 10, 2018
7 Essentials for a Customer Service Voice and Style GuideNovember 29, 2018
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Customer Experience Insights From the InnovatorsNovember 15, 2018

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