What are customer service skills?
Customer service has always been a very important aspect of every company. But the role of customer service in today’s business scenario is much more significant than just attending to customers and resolving their queries on the phone or face-to-face.
Customer Service Professionals have become powerful decision makers, who can either make or break a company.
Customer Service is an art and not everyone possesses the skills to deal with customers in the right manner. They should be able to do all the right things at the right time and deliver top-notch customer service. But how do you know which skills are required to be a successful customer service professional? Do you have these skills already or are they something you need to acquire?
Customer service skills can be learnt, but only if one is dedicated towards developing them. With the increasing need of customer service professionals in today’s business and technological environment, companies have become more selective while hiring candidates for these jobs. Having said that however, with proper customer service skills training one can excel and stand out from among the competition.
This tutorial attempts to identify customer service skills required by a professional working in this area.
A customer service professional needs to have all the below mentioned soft skills. These are basic yet very important.
Active listening is the core of a good customer service experience. It helps one to address the concerns and problems faced by customers in an effective manner, which eventually leads to more business for the company. Listening is half the battle won in any situation.
Customer service professionals should be able to listen closely and understand customer requirements. To do this they have to pick up on cues like body language, tone of voice, facial expressions etc. A customer service professional has to be a good listener while dealing with customers over the phone or face-to-face.
Problem Solving Skills:
A customer service professional should possess the ability to solve problems faced by customers in a quick, efficient and effective manner. The solutions offered at this stage should be realistic and practical. Any excuse or promise which cannot be met when it comes to implementation can cause further loss of customer confidence. So the best way is to try and solve the problem at its root cause.
Customer service professionals should be able to deal with a variety of problems faced by customers such as billing issues, complaints about defective products, delayed or damaged shipments etc.
Time Management Skills:
Customer service is basically all about time management. A customer service professional has to manage his time effectively in accordance with the customer’s requirements. They have to pay attention to details like deadlines and promises while dealing with customers.
Customer service professionals can manage their time better by learning to prioritize tasks, delegate work as and when required, set aside some time every day for administrative work etc.
Interpersonal skills are an integral part of the customer service professional’s personality. They are a must for a successful business and can make or break a company in the competitive environment of today’s market.
Customer service professionals need to have good interpersonal skills especially when dealing with difficult customers on the phone or face-to-face, handling complaints etc. They should be able to effectively communicate with customers and employ tact, persuasion and diplomacy.
An excellent customer service professional possesses skills to empathize with customers, respond appropriately to verbal and non-verbal cues etc.
Strong Communication Skills:
Communication is an important component of customer service. To communicate effectively it does not only mean speaking well, but also listening well. Listening is a very important part of communication which is often overlooked.
Customer service professionals need to be honest and clear while communicating with customers. Misunderstandings can lead to problems stemming from customer dissatisfaction, lack of commitment etc. so customer service professionals should always do their best to keep the customer informed at all times about everything concerning his/her order, shipment etc.
Customer service professionals are the first ones to have contact with customers so they should always maintain a neat and tidy professional appearance. They should wear appropriate clothing in accordance with office rules, which is clean and well-ironed.
They need to pay attention to details like neat hair style, polished shoes etc. as these things help to enhance the overall professional image. Since customer service means face-to-face interactions, the way a customer service professional presents himself is also an important part of customer satisfaction. A positive attitude and eagerness to please customers are assets which can go a long way in ensuring customer loyalty.
Customer service professionals should be able to put their personal feelings aside and offer solutions that are acceptable to both parties. They should be able to handle customer complaints, errors and disagreements with tact and diplomacy.
They can try finding a solution by humbly admitting the error of their ways or pointing out possible solutions which are acceptable to both parties. By following the above tips customer service professionals can enhance their career prospects significantly. A good knowledge of customers’ requirements makes a customer service professional more valuable for an employer and helps to make him/her stand out from the crowd.
How to Improve customer service skills?
If you are one of those who think that customer service skills can never be learned then let me tell you that it is possible to learn and improve customer service skills. The ability to communicate effectively and professionally with customers is an important component of customer service so the first step would be learning effective communication skills such as listening, speaking etc.
The next step would be learning to deal with difficult customers, angry customers etc. which is one of the major challenges in customer service.
It can help a lot to try and understand every side of any situation before coming up with a solution that might work for both parties involved. The next step would be learning how to empathize with customers so you can understand their requirements better.
The most important step would be learning to follow instructions and procedures accurately so that there are no errors or mistakes involved which might lead to dissatisfaction among the customers. In a customer-oriented workplace, a customer service professional’s ability to take initiative is appreciated by his/her employers as it helps to solve customer issues with greater efficiency.
Customer Service Skills Examples
Here are some examples of customer service skills you might want to learn more about:
1 . Taking initiative – being proactive in taking action – solving problems before they become too big.
2 . Analyzing and qualifying customer information – taking a quick look at the information a customer is giving you and make decisions on how to deal with the customer if necessary.
3 . Serving customers – trying to solve a customer’s problem – what are the best things they can buy from us? What do they need from us? How can we help them better?
4 . Problem solving – quick thinking – when a customer is having an issue with their product or service then you need to be able to come up with a solution quickly without making the customer feel like they are being inconvenienced.
5 . Interpersonal skills – dealing with upset customers and trying to solve all problems for them.
6 . Good listening skills – ask questions as needed – listen closely and try to understand what the customer is saying – what are their needs?
7 . Dealing with conflict resolution – this can be done in many different ways – some people might like to take a more diplomatic approach but others may be more direct.
8 . Patience – dealing with upset customers and trying to solve all problems for them.
9 . Communicating in writing – it can be very difficult to listen to someone talk about a problem while trying to write down what they need. If you can practice listening and communicating in writing at the same time then you should have an easier time dealing with upset customers who might just want change their order for something different.
Customer Service Skills Tips
Here are some tips that can help you become a better customer service professional:
1 . Use your interpersonal skills to build rapport with each customer – listen carefully and understand how they are feeling. This will help you to solve the problem at hand and make the customer feel like they have been heard.
2 . Always be friendly when talking to customers – try not to argue your point too much, just listen and try to understand what the other person is saying.
3 . If a customer is complaining about something then try to focus on any solutions you can give them instead of getting wrapped up in the problem itself – learn how to solve problems as quickly as possible.
4 . Be friendly at all times even during conflicts – if the customer is angry then you need to be friendly and try to build trust back up. This will help you to solve problems in the future as well.
5 . Always look for solutions – instead of looking at the problem only focus on potential solutions that can help get rid of the problem.
6 . Think about how your response will affect a customer’s buying habits in the future – good customer service can make them want to come back again and again!
7 . If you are having trouble solving a problem for a customer then ask if they would be willing to talk about it later at another time or schedule an appointment with your supervisor. This will help to build respect as well.
8 . Give accurate feedback – be honest and do not try to sugar coat anything. This will help you to build a good relationship with your customers in the future as well
9 . Look at customer service from the customer’s point of view – understand how they feel, why they are bringing their complaint to you, what does their world look like when it comes to the service or product they are asking about?
10 . Learn how to properly use all customer service software that you come across – this might sound complicated but if you take a few moments to practice on your own then everything will start falling into place.
11 . If you have a problem with a customer, try and call them up again to make sure that the problem is solved and they are pleased with the service or product.
12 . Very polite language – if you have a customer who has a foreign background then try using their language when talking to them – this will help break down barriers and build trust.
13 . Take notes as needed – keep track of everything that you need to do and leave yourself a note as to what you need to do.
14 . Learn good listening skills – this can be done by using “I” statements – “I hear you saying that your order was not shipped on time…” instead of making accusations or blaming others. This will help you to bridge the gap between you and the customer.
15 . Ask questions to help you solve a specific problem – this will get more information out of the customer as well as help them to feel like they are being heard.
16 . Learn how to apologize if you have made a mistake – “I’m sorry, we did not ship your order on time…”
17 . Keep a positive attitude – no matter what the problem is, always try to keep your mind in a good place. This will help you to solve problems so that they do not drag on and take up too much of your time.
18 . Thank the customer for coming to speak with you – this shows them that their time is valuable to you and that you appreciate them being there.
19 . Be polite at all times – try not to use any slang or curse words no matter how frustrated or upset you are with a customer. This will help you to build trust and respect with your customers.
20 . Smile as much as possible, this is important for building a positive reputation.
21 . Listen to what the customer is saying carefully and ignore distractions – this will help you to make sure that you do not miss anything important. You will also want to speak clearly and loudly enough that they can understand everything that you are saying.
22 . Try your best to keep customers calm while speaking with them, if a customer is angry or upset then it will be hard to resolve any problems.
23 . If you are dealing with a customer who has an attitude, try speaking in a low voice – this will help to show them respect and that you do not appreciate their tone of voice. This can also be used if you need the customer to stop talking but do not want to talk over them.
24 . Do not jump to conclusions – listen carefully to everything that the customer has to say before you try and solve any problems. This will help you from missing anything important or making wrong assumptions about what the customer is saying.
25 . If a customer has lots of questions then give them full answers – do not try and brush them off or give partial answers. If the customer is asking because they are really interested then this is a good thing to know.
How to use customer service skills on the phone.
If you have been hired to work in customer service then there is a good chance that most of the people that you will talk to, will call you.
The key thing here is how to be best prepared for this:
1 . Have your company’s phone number memorized – this can come in handy if the customer asks for it or you need to remind them of it.
2 . Try to remember what customer service skills are needed for the job that you do – this might seem like a no-brainer but people can often get sidetracked very easily so it is best to take as many notes as possible while you are at work.
3 . Have all of your materials organized – this will help you to avoid wasting too much time. You can also use this to prove that a customer is being unreasonable if they are blaming you for something that is not your fault.
4 . Be polite on the phone even when talking to an angry person – it can be very tempting just to hang up as soon as someone starts yelling at you. Lots of people have done this and it is usually much better to just stay polite while you are on the phone.
5 . Make a note of anything that the customer has said – this can be very helpful for solving problems later on if they call back or complain about someone else at work. This will also help you to keep track of what has happened so that you do not get confused when multiple people are on the phone.
6 . Do not speak to a customer in a way that makes them feel like less of a person – this will help to keep up good relationships with your customers for longer periods of time.
7 . Stay calm and try to avoid conflict if at all possible – it can be easy to get into a situation with your customers where both of you are yelling at each other. One customer service skills that can help here is to just stay calm and peaceful even if the customer is insulting you or making threats towards you. Being nice will also make them more willing to listen to what you have to say and keep things from getting out of hand.
How to use customer service skills on the job.
When you are just starting to work in customer service, it can often be hard to know where to start with customer service skills .
1 . Keep a list of common problems that customers ask about – this will help you to solve their problems faster and keep them happy. You can also use this information to improve customer service skills on the job by asking your manager about what you should do.
2 . Do not make assumptions – if a customer asks for something that you are not sure about then try and get as much information as possible before trying to solve their problem, or ask one of your coworkers for help.
3 . Always ask what your customer’s problem is – this is very helpful because it will allow you to figure out how to solve the problem on your own instead of having to call a superior to get help. It can also be good customer service skills if customers feel like they have been listened to and then helped, even if their problem is not solved.
4 . Try to make sure that your customer knows who they are talking to – you can do this by asking them for their name and by introducing yourself. It is also a good idea to put down specific times that you talked on your note in case the customer calls back later.
5 . Get a list of all the customer service skills that you will need to solve problems for each of your customers – this can be very helpful if there are many things that you want to do.
6 . Always be ready to explain how something works – it is a good idea to make sure that you know the answer before a customer asks because they might not like your response if you do not know. This will also help to make sure that you do not miss anything important.
7 . Make sure that a customer knows when you are talking to someone else – this is very important because it can be upsetting for customers if they think that they are getting ignored or taken for granted. It can be good customer service skills if customers feel like they have been listened to.
8 . Try not to make any assumptions when it comes to problems – if the customer asks for something that is not in your notes, then ask them about their problem before trying to solve it. This will also make customers happier and help you with learning customer service skills on the job because you can try to solve their problem before they ask, or you can pass the information along to someone else who is trying to help.
9 . Always do your best – it is a good idea to try to work hard at all times because this will make your coworkers and managers happy, and it also makes you look good in front of customers. Hard working employees are also more likely to get promotions and other perks.
How to use customer service skills in a live environment.
When you are trying to use customer service skills in live situations, then it can be helpful to follow a few guidelines.
1 . Always listen when a customer is talking – this will allow you to understand what their problem is instead of having to ask them about it. Listening also helps with learning how to solve the problem because you can try to figure it out yourself before the customer asks you to.
2 . Always remember that listening and solving a problem are very different – when you are talking with customers, then it is often helpful if you can listen as much as possible without trying to solve their problem right away. This will give you time to ask questions, repeat what they have said, and try to figure out how you are going to solve a problem.
3 . Listen carefully, and then repeat what the customer has said – it is often helpful if you can listen carefully before repeating something that customers have said because this helps them to know that you understand their problem. It is also good customer service skills if they feel like you are treating them well.
4 . Always be honest about what you know – it is important that you figure out how to solve a customer’s problem, but it is also helpful if they feel like you are being honest about what you do and do not know. This can make problems easier to solve because customers will let you know when they have gotten the answer to their question, and you can avoid making any mistakes.
5 . Be ready to solve problems – it is always a good idea if you can try solving the problem yourself just in case the customer does not have all of the information that they need. You might also want to consider calling someone else if you feel like you are getting stuck. In addition, it is always good if you can solve the problem on your own because this can make customers feel like they do not need to ask for help from someone else.
6 . Always be ready to explain how something works – it is a good idea to make sure that you know the answer before a customer asks because they might not wait long to ask you. It is also helpful if you can tell them in a way that makes sense, and helps them to understand what their problem is. You might have to try things out before they do, which means that you will need rely on customer service skills on the job.
7 . Always be willing to ask other people for help – it is normal if you do not know how to solve a customer’s problem, and most people are willing to help. You might have to ask your managers or coworkers for suggestions, which means that using good customer service skills can be a great way of getting help from the right people at the right time.
8 . Try not to make any promises that you cannot keep – it is often helpful to avoid making promises if you do not know how likely it is that you are going to be able to keep them. This can help customers feel like you are being honest with them, which means that they will trust you more and feel like they can work with you.
9 . Always remember why you are working with customers – it is important that you keep in mind why you are using customer service skills. This will help with making sure that you can do everything right without making too many mistakes, and also helps when it is time for a customer to ask for your assistance.
10 . Use the situation around you – there are many things that you can use when figuring out how to solve a customer’s problem. This might mean that you have to think about the reason why the customer is asking for something, or it might be helpful if you look at things from their point of view. There are many things that you can do if you want to improve your customer service skills, and these tips can help you to see some of the ways that you can do this.
How to become a customer service professional?
There are many kinds of careers in customer service field like call center agent, receptionist, order picker and so on but the important part is that most of these jobs require good customer service skills. So it’s best to start building your career as a customer service professional from an early age in school or college.
If you don’t know how to deal with customers who are angry, upset, unreasonable etc. then it might be best to take some customer service training classes where a professional will guide you through the process and help you learn effective customer service skills. If your employer is offering tuition reimbursement program then this is even better as it can be used toward customer service training classes.
How to do well in customer service career?
It’s important to take a look at the job description of your desired position and write out the essential skills needed for that position. Review the list you made on a regular basis, especially before an interview or meeting with a client or new customer or supervisor. Continue to develop these customer service skills daily.
Make sure that you are always delivering what the customer really wants and needs to help them resolve any issues they might be facing. You can refer to some of the resources available online for learning more about effective customer service skills.
What do employers expect from their employees?
Employers want their customers or clients to have the best service possible and they expect their employees to give that best customer service. A customer is always right in his/her own eyes which makes it difficult for a customer service professional to please everyone all of the time but it’s important to do your level best to solve any issues customers might be facing.
How can you learn effective customer service skills?
The best way to learn effective customer service skills is to take some training classes. There are many places where you can find customer service training courses such as the local library or community college nearby. It’s also a good idea to network with other customer service professionals and exchange tips for delivering more effective customer service.
Customer Service Training Courses
If you are looking to expand your knowledge of customer service through a training course then it’s best to find one that includes real-world examples and case studies so that you can get a greater understanding of what different kinds of customers want and need. There are many people who provide customer service training courses in different cities and you should be able to find one close to your home. Otherwise, you find plenty of courses online.