Skip to Content

Your Introverted Customer Reps May Be Some of Your Most Effective Employees

Your Introverted Customer Reps May Be Some of Your Most Effective Employees

Customer service is inherently people-oriented. However, introverts often make very effective reps due to their listening skills, empathy and more.

There are many different ways you can write a posting for a customer service job, but most employers don’t start off with the words “INTROVERTS WANTED.”

Customer service is an inherently people-oriented function within a company. That’s why, whether it’s spelled out in the job description or not:

  • When customers have to come forward with a question or a complaint, you want employees to greet them with a friendly attitude.

  • If their problem isn’t entirely clear, you need a rep or agent who can draw out all the necessary details.

  • If frustration mounts for any reason, a customer service team member has to be able to turn the conversation around in a more positive direction, even when there’s a marked difference in personalities.

Discover how 8000+ service leaders are driving cost efficiency and meeting real-time customer needs.

See how trends like AI are shaping the future of customer service. Get the report Sales Cloud Demo

At first glance, these might sound like the classic personality traits of an extrovert. We all recognize these people – they’re the ones who can walk into a room and immediately strike up a conversation with a stranger. They seem to thrive on the back-and-forth interactions with others, in some cases becoming more visibly energized. Extroverts are also assumed to be great candidates for sales jobs, but the psychology of sales is actually more nuanced than that.

Extroverts are also sometimes assumed to be go-getters with plenty of initiative to spare. They might get tapped for promotions and leadership positions because they’re ready to confront challenges and take action.

Contrast this with how we traditionally think of introverts. The term was coined by psychologist Carl Jung just over 100 years ago, and primarily focused on the notion that introverts are more focused on thoughts and ideas than the objective world around them.

In fact, being an introvert should not be equated with shyness. There is probably also no such thing as a “pure” introvert, just as no one is extroverted 100 per cent of the time.

Introverted behaviors are more about how someone takes in and processes information, as well as how they respond to external rewards. For customer service managers, this means introverts can make incredibly effective reps. Here’s why:

Introverts tend to be attentive, active listeners

Yes, resolving customer service issues means being able to walk people through troubleshooting tips and explain company policies, but you have to clearly understand what the customer needs first.

Rather than talking over customers or rushing to anticipate what they’re going to say, an more introverted rep or agent might take the time necessary to ensure customers feel truly heard.

Introverts often approach conversations empathetically

Customers don’t just want company to sympathize with the fact they’re having a problem with their purchase. In other words, having a rep or agent convey that they understand a customer is unhappy may not be enough.

Empathy means an agent will convey that they can put themselves in the customer’s situation, including the emotions they’re going through. Whereas an extrovert might rush to judgment, an introvert can connect on a deeper level about why a customer is feeling unhappy and communicate that back to them.

Introverted reps or agents might be well suited to working from anywhere

Meeting customers where they are is leading more businesses to operate from a digital HQ, rather than a traditional office space. As a result, employees need to be empowered to perform just as well at home or another location as they could in a contact centre.

Rather than pining for water cooler chit-chat, introverts tend to be more comfortable working alone for longer periods of time. They’ll still be engaging with customers, of course, but if their environment is otherwise quiet, they won’t necessarily feel the need to fill it somehow.

Introverts are ideal to offer omni-channel customer service

While many customers might continue to reach out for help by picking up the phone, many others are turning to other options. These include e-mail, text messages and social media posts.

What many of those channels have in common is the use of text-based communication. Introverted people may be more predisposed to answering questions in writing because it gives them time to formulate their answers and to do so thoroughly.

Introverts are likely to be in a continuous state of self-optimization

All customer service reps make mistakes at some point. What’s important is how they deal with those mistakes, and try to prevent them in the future.

By taking greater time for reflection, introverts might be better able to identify recurring patterns or common actions that lead them into error. As they do so, they’ll be ready to correct their behavior and improve the way they resolve customer service issues accordingly.

Introverts will work towards creative solutions to complex problems

Like many areas of the business, digital transformation is creating opportunities for companies to introduce automation for greater productivity and efficiency. Within customer service, this often means arming customers with self-service tools like chatbots, leaving agents freer to handle the tougher questions.

The thoughtful nature of introverts not only makes them calm during stressful customer engagements. It also makes them consider their approach with great care, and to synthesize information in such a way that leads to innovative solutions to problems. It’s no wonder so many artists and other creative professionals throughout history consider themselves introverts.

A Few Final Thoughts About Introverts In Customer Service

Of course, being successful in any job, including customer service, depends on more than a personality type. Reps or agents still need to be well-trained, given proper mentoring and coaching, and equipped with tools like Service Cloud to maximize their ability to make data-driven decisions.

It’s also important to be careful about labelling someone as an introvert and making assumptions about them based on that characterization. The most successful employers simply make it clear that introverts are welcome on their team, and when employees self-identify as an introvert, it should only serve to enhance the way you help them develop their talents.

Much like the need for companies to strive for a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce on the basis of race or gender, introverts deserve to feel they have the same opportunities as anyone else. Your organizational culture will be stronger as a result – and so will your ability to provide top-level customer service.

Get timely updates and fresh ideas delivered to your inbox.