In this article, we speak to Ifunanya, a Customer Success Representative at Obiex, about what it's like to work in Customer service and her experiences so far.
Let’s get to know you! Please introduce yourself, your name, your role, and one thing you like.
Ifunanya: My name is Ifunanya Okafor. I work as a Customer Support Representative in Obiex, and I love anime.
What's the part about working in customer support that you enjoy the most?
Ifunanya: The team. We’ve gotten close over the period of working together.
What's the part about working in customer support that you dislike the most?
Ifunanya: Working night shifts and handling very difficult customers because some people can be very rude.
I know, right? Especially when all you are trying to do is help.
Ifunanya: Exactly! I try to be polite as much as I can but end up hearing a lot of nasty things from them. I don’t enjoy that at all.
But has being on the customer support team changed you as a person?
Ifunanya: I won’t say that it has changed me as a person per se, but it has made me more attentive to details. Handling money-related customer issues requires precision.
So, I always have to double-check customer information to prevent errors or scams. I also focus on clear communication to ensure problems are resolved accurately. It's all about being detail-oriented, and this job has improved that aspect of my character.
Even with all the precision in the world, being in customer support still comes with its craze.
Ifunanya: Lol! Don’t even get me started.
Sounds like you have some funny stories from your time in the customer support trenches. Please share!
Ifunanya: Oh, I've got a couple of interesting customer interactions to share!
First, I had this drop-off call with a customer who had been inactive for a while, and things got really off-script. He started asking personal questions like where I live and what I earn.
Ifunanya: Lol. The guy actually wanted to become a customer support rep for Obiex. It was pretty unexpected, and this just happened last week.
The questions were already off-putting. There’s no way you would have told him anything with that kind of approach.
Ifunanya: Exactly. I politely declined.
And then, there was another unique encounter with a customer, an Igbo guy, who identified as non-binary. Even though I wasn't the one directly talking to him, I had access to the conversation on WhatsApp. After our interaction with him, we had to edit his contact info to his preferred pronouns because he was angry that we kept “misgendering” him and threatened to call us out on Twitter for it. We had to ask him what he preferred us to call him.
Ifunanya: Right? It was eye-opening because it made me realise that our customer base is really diverse, with different identities.
What do you like to do for fun when you're not attending to customers?
Ifunanya: I'm a huge fan of anime, so I watch it for fun. Especially One-Punch Man.
Ouu, who is your favourite character?
Ifunanya: Saitama, of course.
I feel you.
Ifunanya: I also enjoy watching funny YouTube videos and checking out live foreign police cam cop shows. And you know what's really entertaining? Old Nollywood movies and unintentionally bad TV shows.
It's the perfect level of cringe for me, and I get a kick out of watching them, laughing, and giving my own critique. Hitting the gym is another passion of mine. I have been at it for a year now!
You sure have interesting ways of unwinding. I’m jealous.
Now, let’s talk about how you manage to maintain your sanity while juggling the emotional rollercoaster of customer support. Would you like to share?
Ifunanya: Omo, I manage my sanity in different ways. I’m not going to mention some (laughs), but for the ones I can mention, it’s still the same answer as before. Anime, YouTube, and the gym.
Hitting the gym is a total game-changer because the post-workout dopamine rush makes me feel accomplished and proud of myself. I'm also a sucker for those hilarious comment sections and memes on social media. They never fail to make me laugh, especially the ones about crazy stuff.
Is it also these things that keep you going and giving your best, even when the going gets tough in customer support?
Ifunanya: No o, those ones are in a different category. What keeps me going at Obiex is the reward system. They offer salary increases and bonuses as a way to appreciate your hard work. So, when you keep giving your best, you're likely to see that recognition in the form of a bonus or a bump in your salary(laughs).
Sweet feedback from customers also makes my day and keeps me giving my best.
Tell me more about that.
Ifunanya: While there isn't one specific message that stands out, I often receive thank-yous and compliments, especially when I provide reassurance or swiftly resolve pending issues. It's these moments that remind me why I enjoy what I do. When you help someone when they really need it, they tend to be genuinely grateful, and it's a great feeling to be a part of that.
Then the tough and angry customers come to spoil all that.
Ifunanya: Those ones can be challenging, but I still tend to them in my own way.
Looks like you have some secret tactics for handling them. Please drop updates!
Ifunanya: So, here’s the deal. When someone gets really rude or difficult, I take a step back and give them some space. If things get too overwhelming, I'll escalate it to my team lead and update her on the situation.
Taking a short break also helps me reset. When I return, I make an effort to be as agreeable as possible. It's all about finding a balance and keeping the conversation on a positive track!
Hmm, that makes sense. What about updates for people looking to pursue a career in customer support?
Ifunanya: When it comes to pursuing a career in customer support, there are a couple of key qualities you'll want to have: patience and self-control. You'll often deal with people who may not be the nicest, especially in a place like Nigeria, where frustrations can run high. Some customers might be rude or even downright mean without considering your feelings. So, you'll need to learn how to handle tough situations without losing your cool. Because your job is to assist, no matter the circumstances.
Final Question: What is one misconception about customer support that you would like to correct?
Ifunanya: One common misconception about customer support is that it's an easy job, just talking to customers. In reality, it's quite complex. We need in-depth product knowledge, empathy, and patience to assist customers effectively. Some customers even struggle to express themselves, leading to misunderstandings that we must resolve. Before I became a rep, I used to call MTN customer support and rant because I thought that all they did was answer calls and say a couple of lines. But after over 2 years in customer support, I have come to appreciate the job.
Alright, thank you for your time, Ifunanya, and Happy Customer Service Week!
Ifunanya: Thank you.