The Customer Experience Series: The 7 Traits of a Great CSR


Wait, what’s a CSR again?

CSR stands for Customer Service Representative. For some of you this might mean anyone who answers your phones. It might also mean everyone on your sales team. You see, any employee or manager on your frontlines should be solving customer service issues; and anyone who should be solving customer service issues is a CSR.

Over the years I’ve met bad, good and great CSRs, and I’ve noticed seven common traits of the great ones:

  1. They’re Patient.

First and foremost, great CSRs are patient. They are patient with their coworkers, they are patient with their supervisors, and they are especially patient with customers. They know how to treat customers like orphans. They don’t force them to speed up or ask them to get to the point. Instead, they are patient as they allow the customer to explain the issue in their own terms.

  1. They’re Attentive.

While great CSRs are practicing patience, they remain attentive to the customer. This means they listen. But, more than that, they listen with a goal of understanding the customer completely. They’re not trying to think about responding as the customer speaks, they just listen with interest.

  1. They Genuinely Care.

Great CSRs actually care about the customer. They take pleasure in helping others and it shows. They never look at the customer with an issue as a problem; instead, they see issues as opportunities to help others.

  1. They Communicate Clearly.

It doesn’t matter what language is primary for a great CSR, they are all clear communicators. This means they speak directly and with purpose. They don’t use weak language and their customers don’t have to guess at the meaning of their words. Moreover, they don’t use a lot of colloquialisms or words and phrases that will confuse your customers. They express themselves clearly, they enunciate properly, and they make sense when they speak.

  1. They’re Knowledgeable About Their Products.

Great CSRs possess product knowledge – they have to. These are frontline employees, and if you expect them to actually solve customer issues, they’ve got to have better than average product technology. They don’t need to be experts, of course, though the more product knowledge they possess, the better they are at solving customer issues.

  1. They Have an Ability to Read Others.

Just like great salespeople, great CSRs possess the ability to read others. In CSRs, this trait allows them to understand what they can and can’t say to a customer. It helps them present their solution in a way that’s personalized for the customer; in a way to keeps friction low and satisfaction high.

  1. They’re Goal-Focused Closers.

Beyond being able to stay focused on the primary goal (to solve the customer’s issue), great CSRs are also goal-focused closers. This means they use language just like a sales closer. They speak using clear verbiage that ensures the customer understands the solution, any next steps, and (more importantly) agrees and accepts the solution.

For example, just like a sales closer, a great CSR would say something like, “Okay, Mr. Stauning, it sounds like if we do A, B, C, 1, 2, 3, that’s going to resolve the issue. Is that correct?”

When the customer responds in the affirmative, a great CSR reconfirms in no uncertain terms. “Great, Mr. Stauning, that’s what we are going to do. We are going to do A, B, C, 1, 2, 3, and I’m going to put it in motion right now. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

The Customer Experience Series

This post concludes The Customer Experience Series (which was presented in 23 separate lessons). If you’re catching these lessons for the first time, you may want to begin with the first post in the series: Why Does Good Customer Service Matter?

About TheManager:

Steve Stauning, creator of The Appointment Culture and an expert in The Customer Experience. He is also an extremely popular keynote speaker, writer, and industry consultant. Learn more about Steve at