The Real Key to Happy Customers

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First off, what is customer success? How is it different from customer service? I didn’t know the difference before this week. Customer success is anticipating customer problems before they need help. You are optimizing the customer experience. Customer service is solving problems as they happen. 

What Do I Need to be a Customer Success Rep?

There are plenty of skills that make someone a great customer success representative (CSR). To be a CSR, it is important to have empathy. If you can relate to someone, it will improve their experience. This goes hand in hand with personability. Customers remember whether you went out of your way to improve their experience.

Problem solving is important for customer success. You need to be fast on your feet and solve problems quickly. You also need to let hurtful comments roll off your back. If you focus on the problem and customer rather than your hurt feelings, it will be easier to solve the issue. The customer is more likely to leave satisfied. 

Customer success is a great starting point because it can combine sales, marketing, and operations. If you’re interested in one of those, starting with customer success gets you a lot of experience. 

My Experience

I work in a retail job at Barnes and Noble. My main job as a bookseller is to give great customer service. This includes dealing with angry customers. I still need to learn a few of the skills I mentioned already. This is especially true for not taking criticism personally. This can be hard because I pick up on emotions quickly and they affect me. Customers unfortunately sometimes leave angry. I try to relate to them and fix the problem, but sometimes it doesn’t work.  

The point is to do your best, and make sure that you learn something. In my 10 months at Barnes and Noble, I have gotten better in these situations. 

One time a woman came into the store. She was looking for a specific book but she wasn’t wearing a mask. At that time we were still requiring masks at all Barnes and Noble stores. I wasn’t allowed to help her because she wasn’t wearing a mask. I politely asked her if she could wear her mask and I could help her find what she needed. She kind of argued with me and I told her I was very sorry but it was our store policy and I was just doing what I had been told. She eventually put on her mask and I helped her find the book. 

We went back to the registers and she complained to me that it was getting ridiculous how everyone had to keep wearing masks. I listened to her and apologized for the inconvenience. She left the store satisfied. This was definitely one of my better encounters because I was able to help turn her experience around and it didn’t turn into a scene.


There are a lot of skills that will make you a good CSR, but you don’t have to know how to do them right away. There’s time to learn. No one expects you to know the skills immediately. Definitely look into customer success if you have any of the skills we talked about or you feel like it really resonates with you. I hope this has been beneficial and you’re ready to tackle a customer success role! 

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