National Customer Service Week 2023: Customer Service as a Profession
The third theme for Customer Service Week in October 2023 explores the role of Customer Service as a valued career and profession. So, we were keen to approach our own Customer Service Manager, Tracy McCaskie, and share her views on the topic which she is most passionate about and one where she can speak on her own successful career progression with Hill Waste Solutions.
I was delighted to be asked to write a blog for Customer Service Week because the topic “building recognition of customer service as a valued career and profession” is something I feel passionately about. I saw this as a chance to share a little about my own experiences of growing within the customer service profession to become a manager with a great team, after starting at Hills Waste Solutions as a part-time, temporary employee, more than 9 years ago.
While temping, one of the managers in the business asked me if I would consider moving to a part-time time role within the company, rather than continuing to temp. The reason for the approach was because I was seen as having a very enthusiastic approach to work as well as my previous experience in working in Customer Service.
For me, that was the start of a great relationship with Hills and their customers. I got the chance to help some lovely customers and build strong relationships that have lasted. So much so that some customers will still ask for me by name even today! From this first rung on the career ladder I quickly became a supervisor.
More recently, despite the arrival of Covid, one of the most difficult periods in the company’s history, I spotted an opportunity to create a manager role within Customer Service, to help the business and our customers through this awkward time. After talking to the Director about the opportunity I was given the chance to define the role and prove that I could do it. Within 12 months of that conversation, I had secured the managerial role permanently and I took on the responsibility for managing the whole Customer Service team.
As a result of my hard work and opportunities that came my way, I now have the opportunity to provide a similar level of support and encouragement, with one of my own team members, who has just become a mother for the first time and due to return to work shortly!
So as a career, I have first-hand experience of just what a great profession Customer Service can be, it offers lots of opportunities for those who want to follow a challenging and rewarding career path and I feel I’ve definitely been given the recognition for my own efforts. I would also say if you enjoy talking, then so much the better too!
From a professional perspective I’ve seen so many changes during my time with Hills, and the respect and recognition of the work done by the customer service team has grown greatly over the years.
When I first started out, call recording was not something that had been set up, digital signing of contracts and documents was not available, and telephone training wasn’t a key area of focus. As a result of the changes that I introduced or supported, with the full backing of senior management, Hills customers now have a much better experience and all of these important activities are now enthusiastically supported by the team I run.
In the time I’ve been at Hills we have seen our inbound customer support calls reduce, reflecting the improvements to both service and reliability. This has allowed me to improve our customer service in other ways too. For example, my team is now much better equipped to problem solve, handle difficult tasks, and provide quotes for customers who need to change their arrangements with us, as their business ebbs and flows.
At the centre of all improvements are my great Customer Service Team, where everyone supports each other and where there is genuine camaraderie between the team members. So, teamwork is strong, the staff are happy and most importantly, so are the customers. Many of the excellent Trustpilot reviews are as a result of their skills in helping their customers.
So, the professionalism we have in dealing with all our customers is key to our good customer retention rates and as a result we’ve managed to move the narrative from only being price focussed to being more customer service oriented. We win business simply because we’ve answered the phone!
With my teams’ genuine desire to help customers; our determination; having a continually positive attitude; great relations with other internal teams, positive results and feedback from both Customers and internal management, I believe that this all demonstrates the value that customer service has to the business and makes it clear how helping customers is valued in the business as a profession and a career.
About the author
Tracy McCaskie, Customer Support Manager, Hills Waste Solutions
Tracy is driven by her desire to provide excellent customer service.
With the enthusiasm of her team Tracy, is able to have very happy customers and maintain high customer retention rates.