It’s one thing to get customers, it’s another to retain them. If your workers lack good customer service skills especially your frontline workers, then your customer acquisition efforts will be in vain. Customer service representative skills are not to be taken lightly.
This article will show you how these customer service skills affect your brand, profit, public perception, and how you can capitalize on these qualities of good customer service to grow your business.
If the customer is truly king, then customer service skills should be among the priority in organizations. Why don’t you make time out to teach customer service representative skills to your workers?
What are customer service skills?
It’s a known fact that some employees take the initiative to acquire customer service skills to make it easy for them to land that dream job. However, this should not be an avenue for business owners not to train their representatives.
Customer service representative skills are those skills that help workers interface and interact with customers towards giving them awesome customer experience and satisfaction.
Customer service skills range from negligible skills like smiling to the tedious ones like emotional and social intelligence. These skills are needed in every organization.
Who should acquire these customer service representative skills?
Every worker should!
Yes, every worker should acquire the skills though one might be tempted to limit it to front desk workers and marketing representatives. However, if those guys in the production line don’t have the customers in mind in the product design, the product will fall short of the customer’s expectations and will create more tasks for the customer service department as productive time will be used to solve product problems and complaints.
If the board members don’t have the customers in mind as much they desire profits in their decision making, then it will negatively affect the customers.
The best product service delivery is one that makes the customer service department idle.
Here are the top searched 30 Customer service skills to acquire
There are more than 30 customer service skills, some are inborn traits but all can be learned. So, don’t give up or try to write a worker off when these skills haven’t been taught. Here they are;
1. Product knowledge
Customer service skills start with having adequate knowledge of the services and products a business offers.
Customers would ask a lot of questions, from quality to pricing, delivery locations, return policies, damage compensations, bonus purchases, etc. If you don’t have a good knowledge of the business activities how then will you clarify and convince them into more purchases?
With little product knowledge, you would do a little job of a good customer service representative.
This is one of the most needed qualities of a good customer service agent.
Empathy is the ability to really understand people and make them feel understood.
Customers need to feel understood by little acts of care, bending the rules when and where necessary for a win-win. When customers feel understood backed by corresponding action, they will become loyal to your business.
3. Communication skills
When attending to customers, it’s important not only to know how to speak but to know when to speak using the right words.
Communication is key in every relationship and customer relationship is no exception.
If customers must be satisfied and feel understood, patience as one of the customer service skills must be applied.
There are times when certain customers would feel irritated and lash out but you must be patient to listen and understand their plight. Others may find it difficult to express themselves, as a customer service representative, you must overcome that urge to speak on their behalf.
Customer service representatives hear the same case multiple times a day, there is this temptation to cut the customer shut thinking you already know what they are about to conclude on. Just be patient, this ensures you do not jump into conclusion wrongly.
This is one of the most important qualities of good customer service skills that is often left for top managers alone. The truth remains that customer service representatives encounter the problem first hand and then communicate it to the top-level manager. What if they can’t communicate well? What if they can’t solve the slightest of the problem and now have to transfer every single issue to the top level?
Problem-solving skill isn’t just a business skill, it’s primarily a life skill everyone should learn especially front desk employees interacting with customers.
6. Positive language
Learning to show optimism is also one of the important customer service representative skills. Communicate hope! Instead of telling a customer, this won’t be ready until 7days time, why not say, ‘I can help you make this available in the next 7days and ensure you get the best’.
What’s the difference?
One gave hope while still communicating the same thing but in a way that retains the customer and makes him pay for the product instead of walking away. While this may sound like mere optimism, positive language as one of the qualities of good customer service skills is actually a consciously learned art.
7. Positive attitude
Attitude is everything in business. It’s actually one of the first things customers notice in whoever they interact with. With a good attitude, you can sell a product at a higher price and the customer will be willing to pay and still give a tip after paying.
If workers don’t learn to overcome home worries, relationship stress, parental issues, and managerial malfunctions, there are high chances they will transfer the aggression on fellow workers and customers unconsciously.
A positive attitude shapes the belief system of workers to achieve anything despite the hindrance. It builds a conviction that they can win the most hardened customer. It all borders on attitude.
8. Listening skills.
Everyone hears but not everyone listens. While hearing is natural, listening is a learnt skill. Customer service representative skills aren’t complete if one isn’t a good listener.
Seek to understand instead of being understood, showing empathy.
People sometimes don’t listen in a conversation, they are only waiting for their turn to talk so they can unleash all they have in mind. Listen to understand instead of listening to reply. Give eye focus and nod when necessary. Make the speaker really feel understood and truly understand.
9. Willingness to go the extra mile.
When we go the extra mile for people, they’re melted with compassion and would want to reciprocate. Do more than they ask for, be more than want you to be. This skill alone would endear customers to you because customers love sacrifices even when they cannot sacrifice for others. Always find a way to ‘wow’ people in what you do.
10. Personal Responsibility
We all have faults and make mistakes sometimes. When customers find a mistake, building a defense mechanism isn’t the best approach. Be bold enough to own up to the mistake and take responsibility.
It’s not a weakness to admit mistakes and correct them. It’s actually a strength as it takes more boldness to admit than trying to prove right. Don’t just admit, go an extra mile to correct or remedy in a way that exceeds the customer’s expectations.
When you are less confident as a worker, it shows in how you handle your tasks. Customers who interact with low confident employees, lack trust in them that their problems wouldn’t be attended to.
One way to boost employees confidence is first to ensure they know all they can about the business and product. This will give them confidence, knowing they can answer any question thrown at them by customers.
Little training and courses to boost confidence, communication, and empathy will go a long way. These customer service skills are not to be neglected.
What would make your employee be selfless in discharging his duties with the customers? Maybe because he likes what he does or maybe he is paid what he likes. Among all customer service representative skills, this is very rare to find among employees.
No customer calls to say thank you, they only call when there is a problem. This means that customer service representatives are faced with unhappy and difficult people every single day.
Customer reps will need to have enough resilience and tenacity to maintain their positive attitude while facing these difficult unhappy customers.
Authenticity goes beyond selling natural products, it extends to how reps pitch their message to customers. Customers love to be treated in an authentic way.
Customer reps should genuinely help customers. The act of care should rather be genuine with empathy.
Some reps only care because they know that if they don’t satisfy the customer, he may leave a poor review that might cause them a salary slash or delayed promotion. Care for customers not because you are seeking favors from them. Be authentic.
What has adaptability got to do with customer service skills?
Customers are different and so are their problems and personalities. The way an employee responds to customer A should differ from customer B, it should match their problems and personality types.
If an employee cannot adopt and wear different suiting moods to attend to different customers, the employee might fall short in discharging duties.
For example, 2 customers who bought a damaged product, the same price, at the same time might react differently. One can afford to simply accept a change of product while the other would turn down both change of product and refund in anger. This angry customer should, of course, be treated better. He is most likely to leave a bad review, spread unpleasant words to everyone who cares to listen, and might go ahead to patronize a competitor.
Customer reps should go out of their way to satisfy a customer like this and adapt to challenges that might come with it.
Of all customer service skills, the ability to adapt was considered the most needed for customer reps and top managers after problem-solving skills.
What would it cost a customer to be treated like he’s the only one that matters?
Imagine going on a date with a lady and giving her all the attention. How would she feel? That is exactly how your customers should feel. Customers might spend undue time on the phone with you when you have other tasks to attend to, maintaining your calmness, and still giving them attention takes a lot of emotional intelligence to achieve.
17. Willingness to learn
Business processes will change, there might be a product redesign or change in policy. Customer rep who interact and educate customers should be willing to learn these changes so well to be able to educate the customers. Before the launch of new products, customer reps should be educated. If they know so little, they cannot teach the customers so much.
Customer service representatives would need to be professional in interacting with customers. Time on a call with a customer isn’t a time to discuss your family problem with the customer or ask for favor or money. Everyone has a problem, you will need to leave behind the relationship break up, or the death of a loved one, wear a smile and attend to the seemingly irrelevant problem of the customer.
19. Acting Ability
There are a lot of things customer service representatives might have to do all at once. Even smiling when that’s the least of the things you feel like doing.
Indeed, sometimes you just need to act it.
Act like you are ok, laugh over the phone when the customer cracks a dry joke, say wow, and act surprised even when you have heard that the 100th time that day. You might have heard the complaint many times that day and had the same discussion a thousand times with other customers but that is the first time the customer is having that discussion with you. You just have to act like it’s your first time and reassure him even when you don’t feel like it. Act it in a reassuring and authentic manner.
20. Quick response Time
Most times, customer service representatives might not be able to attend to as many customers as they should. The reason isn’t that they lack basic customer service skills, it could just be the problem of poor staffing, that is, inadequate staff.
When customers wait too long on the chatbots before being attended to, their anger gets escalated making it more difficult to satisfy. While customer service representatives should learn to manage time, business owners should employ enough hands to reduce the waiting time of customers.
21. Time management skills
We all have limited time to do so much work. This is one of the customer service skills that is used to test the efficiency and productivity of customer service representatives and top managers as well.
This is where time management skills are crucial.
Customer support teams have a variety of responsibilities to juggle each day when it comes to strategizing time management, including:
- Which customers will need a little extra love, costing the service rep more of their time?
- How long onboarding calls will take?
- How much time to budget for responding to emails?
- When preparation is needed before meeting with a customer
- How to prioritize time spent researching answers to unusual customer questions
This chart shows simple things one can do to manage and take control of his time.
22. Decision-making skills
One of the most important customer service representative skills that makes all the difference is decision-making.
One wrong decision can mean the end of the business.
Decision making is an everyday event. From which call to pick first, to which medium to use to best attend to customers to how much resources should be apportioned to customer service. These and many more are decisions customer service representatives face every day.
This chart below can guide the decision-making process for everyone not just for the customer service representative.
Now that customers communicate virtually without coming to the office to meet the front desk officers, the skill of smiling might seem so irrelevant.
However, customers need to feel your smiles from the chats, emojis can help. They also need to feel the smile from the emails and phone conversations. At every little opportunity you’ve got, express yourself with deep smiles, they are contagious and can calm the nerves.
24. Ability to Over-look
Call it a forgiving spirit, you are right.
Customers will vomit all manner of words on calls and chats. You need to overlook those words and not let them get at you. You will need to hold your temper and try not to flare up on the call. Stay in charge of your actions, yes, you are human and it’s normal to get angry but you just need to put up a smile while reassuring and calming the customer.
If you take all the hurting words to heart, you might quit your job as a customer service representative. Learn to let go.
Whether you run a hotel, tourism or real estate business, hospitality is the silent need of every customer. Showing care is good but knowing how best to show it to mean a lot for customers is another thing. This is one of the customer service skills your workers should have in the very fabric of their beings especially your customer service representatives.
26. Emotional intelligence
Sometimes, if we don’t get hold of our emotions, we spoil things out of anger.
Because customers can get on the nerves, mastering the emotions is very important. Wear a smile while angry with the customers and still give them the best.
This is one of the best customer service skills to master but its worth is beyond the work environment, it extends to our everyday relationships with people.
27. Social intelligence
Social Intelligence (SI) is the ability to get along with others and to get them to cooperate with you.
Sometimes referred to simply as “people skills,” SI involves an awareness of situations, the social dynamics that govern them, and a knowledge of interaction styles and strategies that can help a person achieve his or her objectives. Also, it involves a certain amount of self-insight and a consciousness of one’s own perceptions and reaction patterns.
This is one of the essential customer representative skills every employee should have.
From the standpoint of interpersonal skills, Karl Albrecht classifies behavior toward others as falling somewhere on a spectrum between “toxic” effect and “nourishing” effect. Toxic behavior makes people feel devalued, angry, frustrated, guilty or inadequate. Nourishing behavior makes people feel valued, respected, affirmed, encouraged, or competent.
A continued pattern of toxic behavior indicates a low level of social intelligence – the inability to connect with people and influence them effectively. A continued pattern of nourishing behavior tends to make a person much more effective in dealing with others; nourishing behaviors are the indicators of high social intelligence
28. Intra-personal relationship skill
We always want to be at our best in relating with other people, but do we really take enough time to evaluate how we relate with our own selves? If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for others for a long time.
You will need some time off to refresh, distract yourself from the work environment, and have some fun. This way you won’t be weighed down or trapped in other people’s burdens. How do you handle negative thoughts, internal pressures, and other personal challenges that affect the mind? If you don’t handle these effectively, it would affect how you handle the problems of others.
This is similar to attentiveness but sensitivity means seeing and hearing the unsaid words, unseen behaviors, and the tears behind a smiling face.
A customer might be making inquiries but a sensitive customer service representative can discern the customer’s true need and unspoken challenges that might hinder the customer from purchasing. If it’s the pricing, he may indirectly refer the customer to free products or those with a trial period to help the customer raise money without making him feel poor or of a low class.
The ability to hear the unspoken words is key.
All Customer service skills are very important but a lot of them would need a high level of diplomacy to execute. The ability to say the truth without hurting the customer’s ego. Ability to pass a message without causing resentments. Customers are sensitive and a customer service representative would need lots of diplomacies to be able to flow well without causing more issues.
All these 30 skills are important. Which do you consider as your strength? Tell us in the comment session. We might have a free course for you.