Customer Service Skills
As the eyes, ears, and voice of a business, customer service representatives have the most customer interactions. As a result, it’s important for your organization to put its best foot (best customer service professionals) forward. Although some people may be innately equipped with the essential makings of an amazing customer service representative, most people must be educated on these certain skills. The following information highlights the 20 most essential customer service skills that should be used to look for when hiring customer support staff as well as to focus on when training current staff.
1. Listening Skills
“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.”
—Zeno of Citium
The best customer service representatives have the uncanny ability to not only listen, but actively listen. Active listening entails asking questions and being able to regurgitate the information to the customer. This skill shows the customer you care and intend on offering a viable solution
“He that can have patience can have what he will.”
No matter the industry, it’s highly likely that one day you will have disgruntled and upset customers. As a result, it’s imperative for customer service professionals to have the patience to sift through the mess to find the solution.
“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”
It’s important for customer service professionals to be transparent and honest with customers, even when the message they are sharing isn’t necessarily what the customer wants to hear. Ask great customer service interview questions when you’re hiring in order to assess a potential employee’s honesty. This demonstrates your interest in satisfaction and happiness.
4. Aptitude for Learning
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
Customer service professionals must have a high aptitude for learning. They should learn all about the products and services that the business sells. In addition, they should understand the different customer situations and how the company’s products and services rectify the problem.
“With confidence, you have won before you have started.”
In customer service, confidence is key. When the customer service rep sounds confident in the solution, it will be much more likely the customer will be on board with the projected solution.
6. Ability to Follow Through
“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.”
— Rosalynn Carter
Since a broken promise is essentially a lie, it’s vital for customer service professionals to have the ability to follow through. This entails staying up-to-date on the latest company policies and procedures to ensure they can follow through with their promises while adhering to the rules.
7. Body Language Control
“I see tendencies, I see body language.”
— Michael Chang
According to the University of Illinois Extension Statistics, first impressions consist of 55% of your body language and appearance, 38% in your tone of voice, and only 7% of what you say. As a result, it’s imperative for customer service representatives to control their body language and tone of voice to project a positive image, even when they’re on the phone.
“It is not the strongest or most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
— Charles Darwin
Working with customers entails countless surprises, some good and some not so good. However, the best customer service professionals are always prepared and able to adapt to any situation.
9. Thrives Under Pressure
“Everything negative — pressure, challenges — is all an opportunity for me to rise.”
— Kobe Bryant
In customer service, every day is different and most days resemble a pressure cooker. As a result, it’s important for customer service professionals to understand how to thrive under pressure and think ahead toward the solution.
10. Computer Skills
“Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn.”
— Steve Jobs
Stellar computer skills are a necessary facet of any customer service professional. Customer service representatives must be able to quickly communicate with customers, clients, and other stakeholders in the business in today’s digital age.
“There’s an app for that.”
In addition to computer skills, the best customer service professionals are highly mobile. According to Forrester Research, 29% of the global workforce is anywhere, anytime information workers who use many apps and devices to get the job done. As a result, it’s important for customer service professionals to start becoming comfortable with mobile technology for a business to reap the benefits.
12. Going the Distance
“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.”
— Roy H. Williams
The best customer service professionals are able to go the extra distance to exceed the customer’s expectations and raise the bar.
13. Leadership Skills
“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”
— Ray Kroc
Being a leader means taking ownership of the customer’s problems as well as the ability to offer a solution and see it through.
14. Time Management
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
— Bruce Lee
Since there are only 24 hours in a day, customer service representatives must be able to effectively manage their time. Whether it’s a call center setting or face-to-face customer interactions, customer service representatives must be able to effectively manage their time.
15. Ability to Analyze
“When you see opportunities in your life, you’ve got to analyze, ‘Why was that choice given to me?’”
— Tom DeLonge
Customer service representatives must be able to receive large amounts of input or customer complaints and quickly analyze the situation to find the problem and the best solution.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
— Steve Jobs
Customer service representatives must be innovators by fearlessly and tirelessly searching for new and innovative ways to solve common customer problems.
“Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.”
— Carrie Fisher
Since customer service professionals are often the face and voice of the business, they must be able to negotiate situations to render a win-win situation.
“The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.”
— Martina Navratilova
Closing isn’t just for sales professionals. Customer service workers must also have the ability to finalize a solution, which is imperative to the process of effective communication.
19. Acting Skills
“Comedy is acting out optimism.”
— Robin Williams
Although customer service representatives may never be nominated for a Golden Globe, they must have basic acting skills. These skills come in handy when dealing with difficult people or those who are just plain grumpy.
20. Ability to Read
“There’s so much more to a book than just reading.”
— Maurice Sendak
While phonics may be essential for one type of reading, understanding the basic principles of behavioral psychology will help customer service professionals “read” the customer’s emotional state. By understanding their emotional state, customer service representatives will be better prepared to create a personal experience for them.