Great customer service can only be achieved with a mixture of professional skills. Clients need customer service when they're first engaging with a company, when they're placing their orders and when they need technical support – all situations that require a different set of skills to handle well.
Just like any other skillset, customer service skills can be improved over time. Knowing which ones are the most important to cultivate can be a great way of learning which ones to focus your training on.
Getting to Know the Customer
Whether a customer is placing an order, making a complaint or requesting product support, one of the most important things the customer service representative can do is to make them feel heard.
Basic friendliness is an often-overlooked trait that can instantly put customers as ease, reminding them that you're on their side and there to give them the best experience possible. Likewise, having empathy for their situation – particularly if they are having issues with your product or deliveries – goes a long way to making them feel heard and understood. Empathy also makes it easier to work out the best way to help them with their query.
Customer service workers who practice active listening will have the most success. This involves listening intently to what the customer is saying and responding to them with understanding. Clients respond well to active listening because it shows they are being taken seriously and the company is making a proper effort to engage with them.
These so-called "soft skills" are extremely important for setting the right tone with customers and leaving them with a lasting, positive impression of your organisation.
So much of our interaction with companies is automated. Though this has of course brought great benefits in terms of convenience, it would be easy to neglect the "human touch" of positive direct interactions. Prioritising the customer experience from their first interaction to their final one pays off for companies who make the investment and treat it with the importance it deserves, whether that's in person, online or over the phone.
Helping the Customer
Customer service roles also require good problem-solving skills. Making sure customers have a seamless, pleasant experience with your company means prioritising, working out creative ways around issues and working to resolve issues satisfactorily.
Another area that should not be ignored is product knowledge. One of the tools customer service staff need to do their jobs effectively is a solid knowledge in the product or service your company offers, allowing them to give good advice and guidance to customers when they contact the company. They should always be kept abreast of new upgrades, developments and product launches.
Customer Service Training
Like any other skillset, customer service skills can be trained and improved upon. It pays to keep customer service skills fresh and up-to-date.
Customer service training gives all staff a thorough grounding in the important skills and attributes needed to succeed at customer service.