Crucial Customer Service Skills for the Digital Age


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Some of the old customer service skills can still work in modern day online operations. However, it remains up to the individual agent to upgrade their customer service skills.

With more and more technology coming into the customer service call center, agents can easily feel like the personal aspect is being taken from customer service. However, the right type of customer service skills are what’s needed in order to engage with customers in today’s digital age.

Some of the old customer service skills can still work in modern day online operations. However, it remains up to the individual agent to become apprised of newer management techniques.

Online Customer Service Skills

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Phone customer support is no longer enough.

Customers are sour on phone customer support. Digital devices and social media are not entirely to blame.

We, as a customer service industry, have completely bungled delivering customer service over the phone. It’s not just about lacking proper customer service skills.

Customers today endure IVR phone menus mazes that must have been designed by Satan himself. Couple this with marathon sessions of waiting on hold to talk to a customer service agent, and the phone becomes toxic, and literally the object of hatred and scorn. Customers today would gladly choose a spin of Russian-roulette than to try to tackle the epic challenge that is obtaining customer service over the phone.

-Flavio Martins

Today’s customers are much more digitally connected than before. This means your customer communication channels now expand beyond the phone. You have to develop your customer service skills for the digital age. You have to master phone, email, live chat, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and even Google+ (yes, it’s growing and you’ll need to be there).

The fine folks at the customer service skills masters at Zendesk get it:

Your customers are using more avenues than ever to reach out to you.

That means Tweets telling you how much they love your tea, Facebook posts asking why you just sent them a blue sweater when you ordered the red one, and emails asking you to help them reset their password.

Can you deliver the expected customer service experience your customers want on these channels? Or will your customers be disappointed when they find no one there to help them? What are you doing to acquire the right customer service skills to master these new channels?

To help you start making the necessary changes to catch up to today’s customers or to sharpen your existing set of customer service skills, here are 3 free customer service tips. These are part of the customer service skills needed for customer service that today’s customers expect you to master. They most likely will be the most important customer service skill you can be working on right now.

1. Old school customer service skills in the new age of the Internet

Regardless of whether you approach customer service skills from “old-school” or “new-school” perspectives, one thing remains consistent about both sides of the customer service coin.

For instance, an agent with sharp customer service skills will nearly NEVER forget to practice that skill set even when things are going greatly for the business.

Perhaps you might liken the above statement with common practice in sports activities. For example, star basketball players almost ALWAYS practice their foul shot, even outside of “scheduled” team practice time. Are you practicing your customer service skills outside of the call center?

2. Make customer engagement the ultimate customer service skills metric

They know that, even though things are quiet right now, the pressure may be “on” during engagement with the audience, teammates, and the strong opposition that generates during actual “show” time.

Customer service skills are very similar in that way. For instance, days or even weeks may pass without a complaint or serious need for in-depth customer service agent interaction with a client.

However, a sudden barrage of crucial plus sizable inquiries can quickly appear — and, during this type of “showtime,” practice must already be well in place far in advance of consumer demands or needs.

3. Upgrade your customer service skills and actions

It can also be helpful here, to briefly review these monumental customer service skills:

Prepare an updated list of “positive counter responses” to customer frustrations. However, the emphasis here is on the avoidance of “CANNED” replies or responses, which display a lack of care and initiative, plus further depreciate the internal feelings of an already suspecting client. It takes real customer service skills to personalize preset responses to really engage with the customer.

Seek out new and improved ways to make online interaction with your business as easy as possible. Often, good customer service skills comprise the “gateway” to a comfortable user experience. Expanding your business presence to social media is a great way to connect with customers where they are.

At almost all times, remain cognizant of your clients’ “news reporting” ability… especially in today’s social network media, good words on your behalf can spread like wildfire. Social media gives each of your customers a world-wide megaphone to tell about your experience. There’s real power in that, don’t ever underestimate your customer. The customer service skills master is humble enough to understand that.

Maintain a “healthy” obsession with performing customer service in a way that is markedly better than current competitors. Price, features, function, product all matter A LOT. But those are EASY to DUPLICATE by your competitors. Service? A much harder hill to climb and it often takes much longer to implement. If you get service to your customers right, you cement the foundation of a customer relationship that will weather the storms of doing business today. The right customer service skills for today will help get you there.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!


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