Are you having a hard time dealing with customers, and is this impacting your relationship with them?
Well, most businesses are sailing in the same boat.
Customer service is challenging. Do it right, and you can dramatically boost your business growth. Go wrong with it, and you lose your hard-earned customers in a blink.
But, turning your customer service from good to great can’t happen overnight. You need to bring a meaningful change in the way your customer service team works.
That can happen if your team inculcates specific customer service skills such as empathy, patience, self-control, and many others.
This blog sheds light on the 20 essential customer service skills and how you can improve them. Before we dive into that, let’s take a brief look at:
What Is Customer Service?
Customer service refers to the act of assisting prospects or customers in solving issues before, during, and after the purchase process. This service can be provided across multiple channels – phone calls, emails, social media, chat, or through in-person interactions.
The primary objective of customer service is to provide customers with delightful experiences that urge them to stick to your brand for a long time. Good customer service puts customers at the forefront. It aims to exceed customer expectations and provide them the best-in-class customer service experiences.
What are Customer Service Skills?
Customer service skills are the qualities needed to ensure a smooth interaction with customers. These skills dictate how a customer service professional interacts with customers, understands their pain points, and provides solutions.
Good customer service leads to happy and satisfied customers, resulting in positive brand perception and word-of-mouth marketing of your offerings. On the contrary, poor customer service can be detrimental to your business. It can leave your customers dissatisfied and frustrated, urging them to criticize your brand through negative online reviews.
Having the right customer service skills such as patience, empathy, respect, listening, among others, helps your service staff deliver excellent customer service. But, when they don’t have the right skills, they tend to commit grave mistakes unknowingly, drifting your customers away.
Why Does Your Business Need to Improve Customer Service Skills?
People working in the customer service department are the face of a company. A significant part of customers’ opinions about your business depends on the quality of customer service you provide.
Happy customers share their experiences in their social circle, bringing you new clients. On the contrary, dissatisfied or disgruntled customers can tarnish your image by sharing their negative experiences with others.
Learning and developing appropriate skills can help you advance your role as a customer service professional. You can provide top-notch services, bring new customers, and become a significant part of your organization’s growth journey.
20 Must-Have Customer Service Skills
Here are the major Customer service skills that can help you ace your game and put your best foot forward every time you interact with customers:
It is essential to understand the feelings of your customers. When you know what customers are going through, it helps you see things from a different perspective. This way, you are better positioned to respond in the right way and provide the right solutions. Your ability to empathize with your customers and communicate in a way that reassures them is all you need to deliver excellent customer service.
Crystal clear communication
Communication is one of the most important customer service skills you must have. If you aren’t clear in what you say, how can you expect your customers to understand the message? Be as simple as you can be while responding to customers. Avoid using terms that they will not be able to understand. Explain the proper context of the issue at hand and then provide the solution. This will instill a sense of confidence in you as well as customers.
To be a great customer service professional, you will have to be excellent at problem-solving. Period. Customers contact you mostly when they face challenges while using your products or services. If you have no idea of the issue, how will you solve it? You need to have an in-depth understanding of every aspect of the company’s offerings. That will help you understand the problem and provide a practical solution.
If you get panicky and restless in no time, you really need to work on your patience level. Customers reach out to you when they are already frustrated and disappointed. In a fit of anger, they might say something that they shouldn’t. That doesn’t mean you should lose your cool and behave inappropriately. Take a deep breath, listen calmly, and then look for a solution.
Some customers keep their voices low while others communicate irrationally. As a customer service professional, you will have to deal with different customers daily. Practicing self-control is one of the best ways to avoid a negative situation. Stay calm and allow customers to vent out their frustration. After that, explain the issue in detail and then work on resolving it.
Heard of the popular saying – “Treat others the way you expect them to treat you.”? Start taking this literally, and you will find it extremely helpful in the long run. If you are in the realm of customer service, you have no choice but always to be respectful towards customers, regardless of what they say and how they say it.
Customers want your undivided attention when they reach out to you. They want you to prioritize their issues over everything else. That’s precisely why you need to show that you are attentively listening to customers’ issues and diligently working on them. If you are in a face-to-face conversation with them, make regular eye contact and gestures that reflect attentiveness.
When customers contact you for help, they are already feeling overwhelmed, insecure, and frustrated. In such a situation, you should exude confidence. That can happen when you take responsibility for the issue. Own the conversation and steer it in the right direction. Be firm, show confidence, and ensure that customer issues are resolved effectively.
You need to have an optimistic state of mind while interacting with customers. Even if the situation is worse or the customer issue is challenging, look at the positive side. Think of how you can correct the situation and solve the issue. When you are positive from the inside, it will reflect in your words as well, and you will be able to leave the right impact on customers.
Determination is key to resolving customer issues in a limited amount of time. It is all about going to all heights to give customers a satisfactory experience. Be determined to find customers the right solutions. If you are laid-back and not willing to go the extra mile to address customer concerns, you will leave your customers disappointed.
This is one of the major skills for customer care excellence. When you interact with customers, you can’t be someone who can’t make decisions quickly. If you do that, it will give the impression that you are less experienced or don’t have the required knowledge to make good decisions in favor of your customers. Be confident, use your knowledge wisely, and make decisions that help you solve customer problems quickly.
A creative mind can help solve a wide variety of issues as no two problems are the same. Try coming up with creative solutions every time you come across a regular customer issue. Creativity simply means doing things differently. When you approach the same issue from different angles, you will have a better idea of how effectively and timely it can be resolved.
If you want customers to take you seriously, listen to you attentively, and confide in the solutions you provide, you have to develop this customer service skill. When you are assertive, and have well toned conversations backed with solutions, and customers instantly start trusting you.
Customers are stubborn. They want everything, and they want it now. Is that really possible? We all know the answer. Therefore you need to develop your persuasion skills. Understand customer pain points, be practical about the solution, and persuade customers to wait for a particular time. Besides, if customers do not trust the solution provided, you will have to convince them why this solution will work.
You will be dealing with multiple customer issues in a single day, and all of them are important. But, you can’t solve all of them at once, right? That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize customer issues. Every customer wants your attention and timely response. You need to be a better judge of which issues require more attention and which can be tackled later.
Desire to learn
Products, services, and procedures will change constantly. You should be fully abreast of those changes so that every time you interact with customers, you are able to provide a better solution. Keep enhancing your knowledge about your company’s offerings, processes, projects, and more to ensure that you have accurate information at your fingertips while dealing with customers.
When customers approach you with a problem, they don’t care if you slept well last night or had a fight with someone. They want a solution, and they want it now. Understand that it’s a challenging profession that requires you to be professional with the right state of mind whenever you interact with your customers.
Being a customer service professional, you might have to deal with scores of customer issues every day. To ensure that you give enough time and attention to each issue, you need to manage your time well. This is where time management comes in. It’s an important customer service skill that helps you become more efficient at work and structured in your approach.
Set some goals for yourself. When you have pre-defined goals, you get a defined path to walk on, and customer service becomes a breeze. If your goal is to address X major issues and Y minor issues in a day, do that. If you aim to get a good rating from some of your major clients, ensure that you provide them exceptional services whenever you have the opportunity.
When it comes to customer service, one thing that can make you stand out is how humble you are in your dealings with customers. It’s wrong to expect yourself to be always right and know all the answers to customer questions. Humility starts when you realize that you can’t be perfect at everything, and it’s completely okay to admit when you are unsure of something or don’t have the right answer to a particular question.
How to Improve Your Customer Service Skills
You might have most of the qualities mentioned above in the customer service skills list, but it’s important to hone them from time to time. Improving your customer service skills will help you perform better and keep your customers delighted.
Ask for feedback
Any kind of feedback – negative or positive, helps you grow. It introduces you to your shortcomings and helps you realize the areas you are good at. That’s why taking feedback from customers as well as your colleagues is crucial.
The problem arises when you receive negative feedback. That’s where the real challenge lies.
The best way to handle negative feedback is not to take it personally. Think of it as a challenge, conquering, which will help you grow professionally.
Leverage the right tools
With the right tools in place, you can take your customer service to a whole new level. You should have a tool that can streamline your work and help you manage and resolve customer issues in a hassle-free way.
Such best help desk software tools. It brings all your customer issues on a single platform, where you can manage, resolve, and track them easily. No long email threads or excel sheets to monitor your open, closed, and pending tickets.
Such ticketing tools make you more productive and efficient in your work.
Take Your Customer Service to the next level
Most businesses have stellar products and services, but they are still not able to do well in the market. One of the major reasons can be poor or inadequate customer service.
To keep your customers delighted, you need to take your customer service to the next level. That can happen only when you know the profession in and out and are ready to go the extra mile to improve your customer service skills.
You might be really good at some skills such as time management, humility, and creativity, but when it comes to others like empathy, self-control, or taking ownership, you might need some work. Identify the skills you are good at and the ones that you need to work on. Accordingly, start taking baby steps to improve your skills.
Don’t expect miracles to happen in a single day. You will have to work on each of the skills every day, and slowly you will witness a significant change in yourself.