“To the customer, you are the company.” Shep Hyken.
That’s one of our all-time favorite quotes in customer service. It’s also a cliche that many businesses think they emulate, while, in reality, their support agents feel that their work is not valued as highly as that of other departments.
We believe in the power of great customer service. We love the support folks who love their customers. We want to #EmpowerCustomerCare and make all the people do it too.
That’s why we’re starting discussions around feelings of inferiority in customer service. We’re publishing an article series dedicated entirely to this topic.
#EmpowerCustomerCare raises the awareness of people in customer service who struggle with feelings of inferiority on a daily basis. Join the movement:
- Share your experiences and opinions with the hashtag #EmpowerCustomerCare;
- Tell us your story with feelings of inferiority in our online CX community Quality Tribe;
- Let your customer care team know how much they matter.
How to handle feelings of inferiority as a customer service agent
You’re a professional doing the job you’ve been hired for. Everybody talks about the importance of customer relationships and excellent support these days. Yet, you’re still feeling less ____ than other teams in your company.
Find out more about the most common signs that hint to feelings of inferiority to understand how this can affect support reps’ lives.
Here are seven ways to deal with feelings of inferiority, regardless of whether they are caused by your own fears or insecurities, or people around you.
- Voice your feelings. Let your manager know what you’re dealing with, discuss this issue with your colleagues, and – most importantly – speak up when somebody is putting you down.
“You’re making me feel like my work is less worthy,” might be enough to help people understand they’re being unfair. You’ve been hired to do the job because it matters; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Be kind to yourself. People who struggle with feelings of inferiority can be irrationally tough on themselves.
Recognize the fact that you’re dealing with this psychological problem and be mindful of self-care. Go the extra mile to make your work life more enjoyable by, for example, treating yourself with a cup of your favorite tea after solving a complex support request, or decorating your workspace in a way that makes you feel at ease.
- Surround yourself with people who uplift you. Spend time with people who understand and value your work. Move away from toxic workplace relationships.
Being surrounded by people who root for you gives you a bigger motivational boost than always trying to prove somebody wrong or level up to their standards. You’ll feel better, too.
- Learn to say no. People who struggle with feelings of inferiority want to please others so much that they can’t say no to them. Fulfilling others’ requests that have nothing to do with your duties as a support agent won’t help you feel better in the end.
Moreover, learn how to focus on your own tasks and goals. Try not to obsess about what other people think and stop looking for validation in everything you do. You’re a professional capable of doing the job you’re hired for, period.
- Be more assertive. Your work life and career depend on your self-confidence and happiness. Be open to trying new things, taking on more responsibilities, and initiating ideas that you believe in.
People battling with feelings of inferiority tend to be the first ones to stop themselves from moving forward. Learn to recognize how you put yourself down and replace that with an internal pep talk to push yourself towards becoming more assertive and successful.
- Recognize your strengths. You know you have them. Don’t get caught up in things you are not. Build your self-perception around your strengths.
Voice your strengths to your company. Let your colleagues and managers know what you’re good at and how to make the most out of your experiences. For example, if you know that you’re an excellent wordsmith, why don’t you offer your help to polish the support knowledge base as the next quarterly goal?
- Embrace what makes you different. You might not know how to code, run ad campaigns, or create financial forecasts – and that’s not what makes you weak, it’s what makes you different from your colleagues in other positions.
You are good at helping your customers (programmers, marketers, and accountants don’t know how to do that as well as you do). Embrace the fact that you’re a great people person and an excellent customer care representative. That’s exactly what the business and your colleagues need from you.
Becoming conscious of the problem is the key to overcoming it. As soon as you understand what triggers the feelings of inferiority at your workplace, and how to ease those emotions, you’ll gain control over situations like this.
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Join the #EmpowerCustomerCare movement
We can all contribute to the change and raise a new generation of support folks who don’t know the feeling of inferiority. We can all make an effort to make customer service agents feel better about their impact.
- Start by talking to your support team. Find out if your colleagues are struggling with feelings of inferiority. Use these guidelines to face these issues and overcome them once and for all.
- Spread the word using the hashtag #EmpowerCustomerCare to raise awareness of the issue and encourage customer service teams to stand up to what causes the feelings of inferiority for them.
- Join the discussion in our online CX community Quality Tribe. Share your stories to make people aware of the problem. We’ll publish them (anonymously, if you’d like) in our article series dedicated to the #EmpowerCustomerCare movement.
Thank you for your dedication to customer care.