One thing that can separate a company from its competitors is providing consistent quality customer service. However, customer service representatives (CSR) know for a fact that that can be a challenge because people are different and complicated.

Some customers call in happy, confused, sad, or angry because of an issue with a product or service. And, no matter what mood they’re in, it’s a goal for CSRs to end the call with a satisfied customer—and using a little bit of psychology can help.

Psychology, a science that focuses on human behaviour, can help CSRs understand and respond to the underlying needs of a customer. By applying the right psychological concepts consistently, CSRs can deliver outstanding services, saving the company from losing customers and helping it gain new ones.

Great First Impressions

For CSRs to deliver quality customer service, making and maintaining a great first impression matters. Being able to do this leads to the halo effect.

The halo effect is a psychological phenomenon that happens when we believe that everything that a person does in the future will be positive because of the great first impression they made.

The fact that 73% of consumers stick with a brand that have friendly CSRs tells us that having a friendly and welcoming attitude can help keep a customer loyal and satisfied. In order to maintain that, CSRs must say the right words and answers to avoid customer complaints—something similar to Freud’s pleasure principle, which we’ll discuss next.

Instant Gratification

Sigmund Freud’s “pleasure principle” is defined as a person’s immediate instinctual action to gratify desires and avoid pain.

In using this concept, CSRs must be aware that delayed and wrong replies can generate more frustration in their customers. That is why it’s critical to train them to be knowledgeable about their products in order for them to provide the right information to their customers.

With sufficient training, CSRs can instantly respond (gratify) to their customers’ concerns and appease frustrations (pain). However, it’s also important to remember that no matter how knowledgeable and skilled one is, mistakes can happen anytime. Regardless of how the customer would react to that, always apologise with sincerity.

Apology Accompanied by Empathy

Apologising should be an immediate response whenever a mistake is committed. However, it is not the words that can make an impact but how it is said. CSRs should recognise that customers aren’t robots; they are people like themselves. This is where empathy comes in.

Being empathetic gives CSRs that chance to show that they are truly apologetic and completely understand how the customer feels. In fact, an apology added on top of a compensation/gift from the company can result in a boost in customer satisfaction rates.

However, there will be times when a customer won’t take the CSR’s apology seriously and dismiss it. One way to avoid or remedy this situation is to listen.


In psychology, listening not only gives people the chance to open up about their frustrations, it can also save lives. Think of this as being aware of a person’s internal struggles—how many times do you think suicide would’ve prevented is somebody listened? In the context of how it affects a CSR’s performance, it helps retain customers.

This skill requires CSRs to listen without judgment and interruption which is similar to what a therapist does. By listening, customers can explain what they feel which would eventually calm them down and bring back their rational state of mind. Also, it helps to repeat (paraphrase) what the customer said to show them that you were indeed listening.

When done right, this can make customers trust you more and convince them to give the company a another chance. Listening, no matter what the profession, can deliver quality results.

Get the Support You Need

Companies should make it a priority to hire a team of CSRs that put the concerns and feelings of their customers first and use a little bit of positive psychology—something we at Forward BPO practice. We are an outsourcing company that caters to international businesses from the UK, US, AU, and NZ. Our highly-trained customer service representatives are more than ready to deliver a quality experience to your customers, helping them stay loyal to your business and improve your overall customer satisfaction rating. Want to see for yourself? Contact us now.