Welcome to our four-part series on better customer service training.
Customer service is important to every industry and businesses of every size. From small, local businesses to large, Fortune 500 companies, the direct interactions with customers, users, and the people you serve have one of the largest impact on your organization. Success and growth are directly tied to a company’s ability to serve and connect with the people behind your revenue.
While we all strive to provide a positive experience each and every time, the truth is, sometimes these experiences fall short. You can probably think of at least one interaction you’ve had as a consumer recently where the service was a bit less than you were looking for.
The good news? Improving customer service skills is possible. You can do this! You can even improve those customer service skills that live under other names like ‘soft skills’ and ‘people skills.’ Despite the names, these skills take intentional practice and conscious investment. But the time invested in skill building will enhance the experience for both employees and customers alike. Below are five customer service skills to boost in your organization if you’d like to become a star in the eyes of your customers.
Patience is the antithesis of rushing. It’s the reverse of jumping in too soon and it’s the opposite of frustration. Many of the interactions you’ll have resulted directly from a problem or a concern. Working through problems is not always easy and irritation often follows quickly. A customer service professional who brings a level of calm to their interactions and works at a pace the customer feels comfortable with is much more likely to create a positive experience. Patience is an irreplaceable tool in the customer service toolkit. Maybe you were born the most patient person alive, but more likely than not, you’ll need to practice. Start by noticing when you get impatient—what is the cause? Why do you feel rushed or frustrated? Finding the root of our impatience (so you can get ahead of it!) is often key to unlocking more patience in the future.
Everyone wants to be heard. We express ourselves through words, tone, and body language. The key is to engage in active listening, not a passive experience. You can move to an active listening state by reducing (or eliminating!) distractions, confirming your understanding by reflecting back what you heard, and asking for clarity to close the gap between you and the other person. Build your active listening muscles by practicing with colleagues or by creating training opportunities where you reflect back what others say and ask open-ended questions to discover what you may have missed.
Whatever it is you do, know it well. Know where your products shine, where assistance is typically needed, and what your services can do to make someone’s life better. Then, connect the dots to what the customer needs. Since we can’t anticipate every need someone may have, a powerful addition to your knowledge skills is to learn where to go when you don’t know the answer. Leadership can enable knowledge by creating opportunities for learning, encouraging consistent training, sourcing materials for further learning about products & services, and providing timely resources when new offerings arise.
Customer service employees are the ultimate problem solvers. Remember the dots that we just talked about connecting? Here’s your chance! Effective problem solving includes identifying the true issue, gathering up the available tools to tackle that issue, and beginning the process of deploying those solutions. It also can involve mid-way course correction if the initial solution doesn’t pan out as planned. Learning to problem solve also involves gaining new knowledge of resources, providing feedback on solutions in a practice environment, and sharing ideas between colleagues.
Commitment to learning and growth
Working in customer service is unpredictable, but you can be ready by committing to learning and growth. A strong customer service professional is ready and willing to absorb new changes, adapt to new processes, and uncover new solutions. They welcome opportunities for growth and chances to recharge their skills. In fact, they have likely developed their skills for truly listening and problem-solving with patience through a passion for growth! Leadership can feed a culture of learning by offering easily accessible training, sourcing relevant maternal, and creating opportunities for professional development.
World-class customer service teams use Lessonly to Do Better Work
Lessonly is powerfully simple training software that helps customer service teams learn, practice, and perform like never before. Managers and trainers deliver effective onboarding, proving ongoing training, and share best practices. The results? Effective team learning, happier employees, and extraordinary experiences. Learn more, and demo Lessonly today.