Essential Customer Service Skills
Customer Service Skills
Customer service skills have to be defined acutely in accordance to your company’s brand. It helps to hire the right people to emulate it, to train them for consistency, and to plan for knowledge growth. From your customer service job description to your go-to customer service tips, we have some guidance.
Recognizing the Perfect Customer Service Resume
When rifling through resumes to find the candidates for you team, keep in mind the characteristics you want in a candidate and how those are exemplified in action. For example, if you’re looking at a call center resume, and the person notes one of their strengths as listening — even if they’re shy — they could be a great candidate. But if you are glancing at a retail resume, you might want to note the experience that requires a lot of in-person communication.
When interviewing for a role, make sure the candidate has a clear understanding of what they’ll be doing. It’s important that the candidate is just as informed about the position as you are about the candidate. List the customer service duties and responsibilities required for the job, and allow the candidate to elaborate on their own list of good customer service skills.
Customer Service Training
Once your ideal candidates sign the contract paperwork, it’s training time. Customer service duties will vary day-to-day and between companies. You’re going to need more than free customer service training materials from a third party to get your team in tip-top shape. We have a few resources on customer service training ideas, but we’ll brief you on a process here.
When you’re building out your customer service training, be sure to mix up the methods of which you use. Many companies are using on-site training, but augmenting it with online customer service training. Like mentioned above, by creating your own, customized training, you’re given the opportunity to mold your learners to the messaging of the company. They understand your product and your practices faster with indigenous learning content.
Holding customer service training activities during your on-site sessions will not only help your team get comfortable with each other, but it will also open up different perspectives to problem-solving. You can cover your daily customer service duties list in elearning. Use in-person training to discover the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Break the ice with customer service games. Have open conversation about what bad customer service looks like and examples of good customer service skills, while making it fun. Need ideas? We have a few customer service resources to start you off.
Back to training as a whole, you shouldn’t expect your customer service team to ramp up in two day’s time. Sure, you can spend your first week intensively training, but set a pace for your learners in their first few months. Send a weekly lesson highlighting your employees’ great customer service skills. Examples from the actual context of your company are a great way to praise and encourage actions from your employees.
Sculpting the Good Customer Service Skills
Customer service, whether it’s over the phone or in-person, can’t be learned in a day. Keen knowledge learned will be the difference between good customer service skills and bad customer service skills. To always keep your employees aware, create a customer service skills list they can keep at their desk or by a register.
The skills list can outline the overarching characteristics employees must convey to customers when helping then. You can always elaborate each skillset in your elearning, but it’s nice to have something in-sight for triggered remembrance. Here are some realistic contexts we see our learning impact everyday:
• Retail Shops – Customer service duties in retail is extremely correlated to sales. From the moment a customer is greeted when they walk in to the time they cash out, that customer’s experience will weigh heavily on your customer service. Good customer service skills in retail come from every role. As a cashier, you have to know how to appropriately do returns and explain any policies to customers that may not understand. If you’re working a floor, you have to be able time accurately inform customers of current sales and new products, while keeping in the customer’s best interest. All of this requires good communication, and in your training, you need to detail what that good communication looks like.
• Call Center – Generally in a call center, all communication is executed online or over the phone. This can prove to be a challenge when customers are confused or frustrated. Load your call center customer service tips up with discovery questions and particular methods of phrasing to problem-solve in the politest way possible. We call this a communication skills list. This can consist of customer service phone tips and tricks to get customers on the line, understanding, and buying. Customer service tips for call center agents is also great material to refresh and assess learners on. In fact, when covering customer service duties — call center or otherwise — it’s important to assess your learning to make sure everyone is on the same competence level. We’ll get to that in a bit.
• Medical facilities – The medical field is one that slips from the top of the mind often. But, “bedside manner” is a colloquial phrase for a reason. As patients endure medical ambiguity and confusion, it’s helpful to have someone compassionate at their side. If you’re training a team in the medical field, provide them with internal customer service tips on how to share and explain news and comfort patients during their stay.
As mentioned, these are just a few examples of contexts where customer service makes a world of difference. The important thing to do as a manager is to make sure every one of your employees is learning the right things in the right way and retaining the information. If you’re looking for more customer service training tips, check out Lessonly’s page of free customer service resources.
As a buffer, here is a list of customer service skills we think necessary in any industry. By taking these skills and honing them for your employees in accordance to your company’s messaging and values, you’ll be right on your way to smooth, consistent customer service:
• Patience – Patience is a virtue. And it’s that kind of virtue your representatives need to maintain a healthy relationship with customers and with themselves. Representatives that are patient will exude that patience to customers. If everyone remains calm and collected, problems get solved more easily and customers remain loyal.
• Attentiveness – This is a no-brainer. If your employees aren’t observant and constantly aware, they’ll miss opportunities to help or even sell. Listening and inquiring play a huge part in the attentiveness skillset. Your reps should be able to ask the right questions and listen and record responses for further assistance.
• Communication – Communication is key. Yet, it’s a broad skillset. Consider the mediums in which your employees will be communicating every day. If it’s over the phone, in-person, through online chat messaging, or all of these things, build out detailed guidance in your training for employees to go by. They type of communication you want to elicit from your workers should be exemplified and reinforced by you.
• Time Management – It’s super unlikely that your reps will only deal with a customer who has one, simple problem-solution scenario at a time. It helps if, in your training, you condition your reps for dealing with different scales of problems at one time. For example, if a rep has to take a phone call for a customer, but also help one in-person, be sure they know how to gauge the immediacy of each problem and prioritize which one should take precedence.
These four skills aren’t the only skills your reps need, but they are necessary. As you build out your employee training for customer service, definitely include these four skills as courses. If you’re looking for more skills to consider in your learning, check out our list of 20 essential customer service skills.
Customer Service Training With Lessonly
As mentioned throughout this article, using elearning to augment training is a great way to assure the best learning for your employees. At Lessonly, we provide an automated platform that gives managers the tools to create, deliver, and track employee learning.
We help people do better work so they can live better lives. If your employees are learning well, then in turn, they will perform well. By using Lessonly’s learning automation platform, you enable employees to create and learn great content. It’s that great content that engages learners, keeps everyone consistently on the same page, and raises your bottom line. With Lessonly, you’ll get your customer service trainees up-to-speed and keep them there.
There are two sides to the user interface in Lessonly: the administrative side and the learner side. Administrators in Lessonly are the shot-callers of the platform. They designate roles and groups, can see all performance data, and can create and assign materials at-will. Administrators can assign managers to learners. Managers have the same action abilities and access to data as admins, but only for a designated group of learners. For example, an admin can assign a sales director as the manager of the group “Sales Team.”
Administrators can also designate employees as creators. Creators are the people creating the learning content. Because essentially any learner can be a creator, this democratizes learning. Your employees can learn from each other. If someone in HR needs more insight on a sales role, they can have a sale rep jump into a lesson and edit the lesson to be more concise to the role. The ability to shape and acutely define material proves nothing but beneficial to an employee’s performance and the efficiency of the company.
Despite the ironic lecturing on the administrative side first, at Lessonly, we put learners first. Before we make improvements or adjustments to our platform, we think, “How will this affect the learners? Will this make learning better or worse?” The truth of the matter is, your company’s customer service is only as successful as its people. If they’re not all on the same page, the same learning curve, then the result will be knowledge and communication gaps — which can have a huge, negative impact on your customer service reputation. We’re aware of the domino effect, and we witness it time and time again when prospects come to us, frustrated with their learning system and neglectful of their learners.
When learning managers are spending all of their time managing a clunky, outdated system, the actual retention of the employees falls to the wayside. It’s ironic that the learning management system was created to help learning, but with the progression of learning technology, many systems aren’t keeping up, and companies find that the content produced is too little quality for the time it takes to create.
You can’t expect your learners to learn something in a day. Furthermore, you can’t expect your learners to want to retain copious amounts of content that isn’t engaging, entertaining, or frankly, precisely informative. Learners will turn to you for answers to questions or fill in the gaps with their own assumptions, and though these instances are inevitable, great elearning can answer a lot of these questions from the start. Less questions, more productivity.
Learners like Lessonly because the interface is easy to navigate. Learners can access learning when they want, where they want before an assigned due date. Lessonly has the mobility and ease of use for learners to retain in their best environments. General learning can be accessed in the learner’s Learning Library; a place where content doesn’t have to be assigned to be accessed. Learners are informed by automated triggers of when a lesson has been assigned and the day that lesson is due.
By incorporating these automated actions, little by little, learning customer service becomes less dreaded and more engaging. Creators can have fun with content in Lessonly; incorporating GIFs, videos, audio, and assessment questions to make for a mix of media in each lesson. Administrators can tell who is doing what, when, and how well — focusing on the progression of each learner, as opposed to simple knowledge maintenance.
Interested in more about Lessonly? Check out a few of our case studies on customer service teams. Or, don’t hesitate at all and jump into a free tour of Lessonly.