Most companies understand that providing poor customer service can ruin their reputation. A report from RightNow states that “82% of customers stopped doing business with a company after a bad customer service experience.” Technology has contributed to the rapid growth of the customer service sector. We are currently in the era of integrating AI-driven bots into business processes.
However, it’s impossible to leave everything in the hands of machines. Employees need other skills apart from soft skills to boost their efficiency and deliver extraordinary service. These skill set are essential for establishing a cordial relationship with your target customers. It’s imperative to look out for the following skills when recruiting new team members.
1. Genuine empathy
Today’s customers can see through any fake attempt to please them. “Around 89% of customers will start doing business with a competitor after a negative service experience,” VPI Corp. Contrary to popular opinion, robots can’t replace humans completely in the workforce. It’s impossible to automate certain attributes like emotions and empathy. This is the more reason why you need to recruit staffs that can empathize with customers. Such agents are equipped with the ability to mirror customers’ language and search for cues. Enrolling in acting classes is among the surefire ways to hone empathy skills.
This trait is one of the most important customer service skills but it’s difficult to develop. People who are patient can still lose their cool when it gets to a stage. Almost every customer wants their problems to be solved instantly. Some of them are not aware that certain issues can take a couple of minutes or even hours before they are resolved. Never take things personally when dealing with a difficult or frustrated customer. It’s better to engage in an uplifting internal dialogue with yourself and treat each customer with respect and kindness. There is no need to overcompensate customers if it’s going to leave a hole in your pocket.
3. Positive Tone
Interacting in a positive language can convince customers to make a purchase. In light of this, avoid using negative words, phrases, and questions. This is applicable to every interaction via email, phone calls, live chat or social media. Start by substituting words like “unfortunately” with a positive alternative. Endeavor to communicate in simpler terms instead of technical jargons. In addition, discover healthy ways to handle everyday stress.
4. Attentive listening
Customer service agents usually come in contact with people from different backgrounds. There isn’t a one size fit all approach to meeting the varying needs of customers. Many people use hearing and listening interchangeably, but they differ slightly. The latter should be in your arsenal because it’s crucial for smooth communication. In fact, it can help your team to arrive at a lasting solution.
The ideal thing is to allow customers to speak without arguing with them or interrupting. Repeat their questions and ask further questions to avoid miscommunication. This can turn a frustrated customer into a brand advocate that will even refer your brand to others.
5. Time management skills
Highly skilled customer service agents are good at multitasking. They can attend to different customers at once. Asides that, they will treat the most urgent query first and know the best ways to curb distractions. Email and live chat agents should hone their time management skills from time to time.
6. Understand when to outsource
Outsourcing is very important in business, and customer service is no exemption. Smart brands leverage the best cms software to allocate tasks to the right employees. When it comes to customer service, customers tend to use the channels that are very convenient for them.
An online visitor can ask any team member complex questions that are beyond their scope. Each employee should be able to recognize when to outsource and direct customers to the right channel promptly. Brief the concerned staff about the issue at hand before transferring the call.
7. In-depth knowledge
Brands that can thrive and survive without understanding their customers don’t exist. Companies need several tools to expand and beat the competition. However, companies don’t need to hire more employees or rob the bank to do this as they can employ total productive maintenance for the smooth running of their business processes. Know your target customers to offer a consistent and personalized experience.
It’s not enough for your employees to have a general knowledge of your audience and product. Make sure that you provide all the necessary resources they need to handle customer service with confidence. Encourage them to stay abreast of the latest features and benefits of the product or service. This will enable them to upsell or cross-sell as the situation demands. More so, they won’t need to always outsource for help.
Establishing yourself as a glowing example can motivate staff to do better. Organize training and conferences for team members on a regular basis. Track the progress of your customer service efforts and analyze the results at least once a week. Taking these steps will reveal what’s working and what areas you need extra effort.