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What to Look for in a Good CSR

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Jennifer Burtis thrives when working in a team atmosphere. And she plays a key role at Brown’s Collision Center in Bentonville, Ark. 

Each day, Burtis establishes the tone of the customer experience at her workplace. 

“I love what I do—I feel like I make a difference,” says Burtis, who has helped her shop improve its CSI scores each of the last three years to an all-time high of 97 percent. 

When FenderBender initially interviewed Burtis, in June 2016, (fenderbender.com/compassionatecare), she spoke of the sympathy she extends to customers following their car accidents. Others appear to have taken notice: Brown’s Collision Center has earned “Best of the Best” in auto repair in consecutive years from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and Burtis is confident that customer service has helped pave the way for such accolades.

“The people that are walking through the door—the customers coming in—that’s my first priority,” says Burtis, whose shop always searches for new ways to appeal to customers, such as recently hosting a $50 gift card giveaway for customers who leave online reviews. 

In her three years working in Bentonville, Burtis has given great thought to the most important elements of her role. A customer service representative (CSR), in her observation, can set a shop apart. 

In that spirit, FenderBender caught back up with Burtis recently to get her thoughts on what shop operators should look for when hiring CSRs.

 

Find the Most Selfless 

Perhaps the greatest trait a CSR can possess is a generous personality, Burtis notes. That’s why she goes to great lengths to make customers feel appreciated, even taking steps such as giving customers her personal cell phone number. Later, in the days following a customer’s visit to Brown’s Collision center, Burtis will often send out thank you cards.

Burtis also suggests hiring CSRs who make an effort to learn everyone’s name whom they encounter, and generally have a work history of leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to keep customers happy. 

“Details matter,” she says. 

 

Seek Positivity

Tentative people aren’t ideally suited for a customer service role. Body shops need personable, energetic employees greeting customers.

“You know, nobody wants to be at a collision center,” says Burtis, whose shop boasts an average monthly car count of around 125. “We want it to be a friendly atmosphere, where you have answers to all the questions they may have. If I don’t have the answers, I always let them know that I will get the answers for them.” 

 

Seek the Compassionate

Customers notice when a business’s employees are empathetic. That’s why Burtis makes it a point to study customers’ body language once they’ve arrived at the shop, typically after an accident. If the customer appears overwhelmed, Burtis doesn’t hesitate to console them.

She also takes pride in passing out “goodie cups”—featuring key chains, pens, tape measures, and Tootsie Rolls—when customers leave the facility. 

“I just know that every day I go in and I’ve got my mind set to help people, and make a difference in their experience,” Burtis says. “When it comes to some of this, it cannot be taught. You have to actually have a love for people.” 

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