The Business Standard (TBS): What does it take to become a customer care executive?
Mehjabin Badhon (MB): To be a customer care executive, acquiring these three skills are mandatory: persuasive communication skills, patience and proactive attitude. Other skills are required too but I think these three are the most important ones.
Customer Service is not always about answering customers' queries or fulfilling their informational demands. Rather it's a tool to create a positive perception among the customers about the overall brand. An executive must be passionate enough to make that impression positive and long-lasting.
TBS: What led you to this profession?
MB: To create a sustainable footprint in the industry a brand always needs to keep its customers the centre of attention. Each strategy is formed based on the customers' desires.
A customer care executive is the front liner of the company who directly communicates with the customers. He/she knows about the level of satisfaction and dissatisfaction and is aware of the needs, complaints and opinion. Once an executive can understand the pulse of customers, it becomes easier for him/her to work in the core of the company. This is the motive which led me to pursue this career.
TBS: Why is customer care so important for a business and how can it impact the wellbeing of a company?
MB: As I already said, customers are the essence of a company. So, if you do not know your centre well, do not care about their demands, and do not solve their complaints, they will stop buying your products. They have little incentive to stick to your company.
If I talk about the major revenue channel of any brand, it's their product and services which they sell to customers; if you cannot retain and acquire customers, how would this sales revenue be generated?
Hence, for a healthy sales revenue and sustainable stance in the industry, customer care is very important.
TBS: Why are there so many customer complaints in Bangladesh? What can be done about it?
MB: Rather than capturing their voices, we have the tendency to put our own judgments on the customers. And we do not feel the urge to solve their problems. We live with the mindset to ignore "one or a few complaints among thousands of customers". But we fail to realise that if we do not take that one complaint to account, that one will not take much time to become 100.
TBS: What are the attributes a customer care executive should have?
MB: A customer care executive should be empathetic towards the customers as well as his/her peers. He/she must have the willingness to learn continuously and to care about the company's goal as his/her own. Most importantly, there should be a passion to learn about the customers' behavioural and psychological aspects.
TBS: How is the future for soon-to-be customer care executives in Bangladesh?
MB: The trend says the demand is going to be high. The market is becoming very competitive. The companies are becoming very aware of their customers. Hence, they are keeping the customers at the centre.
TBS: How much can a customer care executive earn?
MB: It varies from company to company and from industry to industry. For a small start-up, it is Tk7,000 to 8,000 and from mid, to large companies, it is Tk15,000 to 30,000 at the entry-level.
TBS: Can you tell us about a difficult situation you faced while addressing customers?
MB: I actually faced a lot. One of my female customers faced a problem in our Banani Kacha Bazar outlet. As she left the outlet in an angry mood, I was immediately informed. So, I called the customer and she literally scolded me for 45 minutes.
As I realized she was very hyper, I just kept on listening to her. But in the end, I could make her understand that the fault was not from our end.
TBS: Have you faced hardships as a female customer care executive?
MB: Being the front liner representative of the company, an executive faces all sorts of customers. Since the perceptions and mindsets are highly heterogeneous, regardless of gender, we all face problems in this profession. Some customers are extremely rude and harsh. They tend to be very arrogant in their judgment.
TBS: Do you have any advice to someone who aspires to be a customer care executive?
MB: I would suggest improving communication skills, learning persuasive speaking, and practising proactiveness, and most importantly, having a very positive mindset towards the people, society and the world.
Mehjabin Badhon is the Head of Customer Analytics, Process Innovation and Store Strategy at Shwapno (ACI Logistics Ltd).