So as to succeed at providing excellent customer service, you need a set of skills that drive customer satisfaction. These skills are the key to making your customers happy and winning their long-term loyalty, so the skills have to be mastered by every employee who is in touch with your customers throughout their buying journey, not just the “customer success” team.
And according to McKinsey your can increase your revenue up to 5% and lower your customer service costs by 20% just by maximizing customer satisfaction.
1. Time Management Skills
Long wait is just bad customer experience, and the PWC’s “Future of customer experience” report reveals that 17% of customers in the US and 49% in Latin America will walk away from a business after just one bad experience.
Customers appreciate a timely service and you have be able to provide it. Your support team must be efficient at quickly responding to incoming requests as well as handling internal tasks. The “initial response time” is agreed to be the most critical customer service metric. And putting your customers on the waiting list forces them to move on to other businesses – with quicker response times.
Your team must avoid this at all cost by being there for your customers when they engage and this can only be achieved when your team knows how to plan their time.
2. Great Listening Skills
Listening, not just “hearing”. Pay attention to the tone and wording. And of course, to the actual problem a customer is trying to describe. Taking your time to understand the underlying issue will help in finding the right solution. And always remember, that customer feedback is essential in improving your customer service as it exposes the loopholes you need to cover up in your service.
According to Thinkjar 70% of businesses that provide exceptional customer experiences embrace customer feedback. Tap in the customer’s voice by listening. Then listen without interrupting, and show appreciation in the process.
It’s no wonder that by doing so you impress your customers as it assures them that you actually care about their experience.
3. Problem Solving
Ah, the infamous “not my problem” mindset…
There’s nothing customers hate more than having to raise the same issue to multiple support representatives again and again without getting a solution. According ta study by Accenture 89% of customers are frustrated if they have to repeat their issues to different people.
There’s no better satisfaction you can give your customers than going the extra mile and (timely) solving their problem. And at the end of the call always ask if there’s anything else you can help them with.
It’s always a good idea to apologize to a customer if anything goes wrong. Never argue with a customer, an assuring “we know how frustrating this must be” does wonders. Your customer support team must be ready and willing to apologize to the customer even when they are not in the wrong. Put this in your internal Wiki somewhere and train your reps to start with an apology. You can even save it into a canned response somewhere. Cool down the customer’s anger and continue from there: “Sorry to hear that you’re unhappy, let’s just work together to make it right.”
Handling an angry customer can be tough, however, your customer service representative must always put them in the customer’s shoes before responding. This helps them understand the customer’s situation as to why he or she is that angry, without taking it as a personal attack. Not to mention the issue that the customer’s raised might actually be valid and you just need to understand his or her emotions and point of view to provide a relevant solution.
Furthermore 70% of your customers’ buying experiences depend on how customers feel you are treating them. And the easiest way to improve on that would be seeing things from the customer’s perspective
Self-control is another great customer service skill that every support team member must train. Why? Because some customers like those who are irate or confused can be annoying to the extent of even abusing.
Calm down. Don’t fight back. Never exchange insults with a customer no matter how many times he or she provokes you or your customer service team. Keep calm even when attacked, stay positive when faced with pessimism and remain professional even if the customer gets personal.
This saves your business’s reputation from being affected with a bad review from customer as a result of being insulted.
7. Product Knowledge
This one is obvious. Deeper product knowledge leads to faster troubleshooting, clearer communication and confident conversations.
It’s always a shame when a customer makes an inquiry about a product or a service and your customer support representative just can’t provide an answer. Worse still, chances are high that the customer is forced to move on and abandon the purchase. In order to avoid such situations, customer service representatives must be well versed with your products, buying procedures and company policies.
Approaching you rudely or even shouting at a customer service representative is one thing, but sometimes customers just don’t “get” it, asking the same question again and again. Relax. Stay friendly, be patient and rephrase your response. Imagine your mom calling the helpdesk line, how would you feel if someone was irritated by her questions? Put yourself in the same camp instead: “Yeah, I also find these things very confusing, let’s walk you through this one more time”. The friendly approach can calm them down and gives your customer support the golden opportunity of solving the customer’s problem and make them happy.
Winning at Customer Service
Companies are always looking for ways to improve their customer service KPIs and improving customer support skills is a good start. Surpass your customers expectations by training your empathy muscle, planning your time, listening actively and going the extra mile.