• Business Tips

6 Key Customer Service Skills and How to Develop Them

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 6 min read
6 Key Customer Service Skills and How to Develop Them

Intro

Whether you’re a business owner or managing a team with a customer-facing role, you probably know by now that good customer service is important to the success of your business. The impression your customer service representative makes on your customers greatly affects the latter’s view of your brand and ultimately your bottom line. Customers always remember the direct interaction they have with any business or establishment. You or your brand could be defined by the quality of service they receive from your customer service team.

If your customer has a positive experience with your brand, they are likely to become loyal customers who can help you promote and establish your brand. On the other hand, no matter how exceptional your product or service is, if your customer service team lacks the necessary skills to provide a satisfactory customer experience, you might lose a potential customer. Their customer service skills could be the difference between having a loyal customer or a bad review.

To help you improve your customer relationships and get positive reviews from happy customers, here are six key customer service skills to develop in your team. Use these skills and tips to make customer experiences that matter and boost your conversion.

1. Active Listening

Active Listening (Image: Pixabay)

Customers should feel heard, understood, and served. And this is only possible if you will truly take the time to listen to what they are saying and understand what they really need. You need to engage with them.

Active listening, when practiced, allows a customer service representative to provide a great customer experience. Active listening means being silent and focusing on your customers while they talk. By being attentive, you will be able to get to the heart of the customer complaints and issues, as well as address them easily. It also helps you develop other skill sets, such as being positive, caring, empathetic, and more.

To hone your active listening skills, you can ask clarifying and follow-up questions once customers are done talking or give a quick summary at the end of your conversation. This is to make sure you understand what they are saying and that you’re on the same page. Also, make sure to take quick notes.

If you’re doing in-person customer relations, then removing digital distractions or making eye contact with the customers is helpful. You should also avoid doing multiple tasks at once and focus on the customer’s facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. All of these help you achieve better active listening.

2. Clear Communication

Clear Communication (Image: Unsplash)

It’s easy to get yourself the best brand name, but communicating your message is another thing.

Whether it’s verbal or written, a customer service representative must be able to communicate clearly in the customer’s native language. This is a key skill needed for excellent customer service because miscommunication or vague responses can lead to frustration and disappointment, driving customers away.

A customer service representative, being on the front line, becomes the face and voice of your business. As such, one must be able to explain complex concepts related to your product or service using easily understood terms to the customers. Or you must avoid long-winded explanations to solve or fix an issue. Use simple terms and positive language that your customers can understand. By doing so, you increase clarity in your conversation and leave a good impression.

How can you develop the ability to communicate clearly?

If you’re on the management team, provide feedback to the customer service team from the screen or voice recordings of their conversations with customers. This will help them see in what area they need to improve. Other ways to enhance communication skills are learning about the use of facial expressions and body language during face-to-face conversations, as well as the tone of voice. A confident and warm approach also helps.

3. Empathy

Empathy (Image: Pexels)

Whether you’re responding to a phone call or a message using WhatsApp for customer service, a customer support representative should be able to relate to the customers, especially frustrated ones, and be sensitive to their needs. When you’re in such a position, you must not take things personally. Instead, you must understand where the customers are coming from and show sincere empathy to them. Put yourself in their shoes and show them you care. In this way, they will feel heard, understood, and validated in their frustration.

It’s not always easy to empathize with irate or annoying customers, but learning how to do so can undo the damage, to some extent, if you can’t fix your customer’s problem. A growing empathy for your customers can help you handle their needs better. Sometimes, it’s not just about the refunds or the solutions you give them but simply giving assurance that you’re with them. Customers also give attention to how they are treated and valued.

A growing empathy for your customers can help you handle their needs better (Image: Unsplash)

To improve your emotional skills when dealing with customers, you need to be observant about how they behave and what tips them off. It takes time to develop this skill, but with dedication, it’s possible. You can also read books about emotional intelligence and use positive language. It is also best to practice active listening.

4. Knowledge of Products and Services

Knowledge of Products and Services (Image: Unsplash)

Who wouldn’t be frustrated if a customer service representative answers you with “I don’t know” when asked about a product they are offering? While this could be an honest response and better than giving incorrect information, it’s also important that customer-facing employees must be equipped with proper service or product-related knowledge.

Having knowledge about the products or services you are selling is different from utilizing the B2B data the company has given you. B2B data helps in developing your marketing and sales campaigns, as well as in identifying new leads and connecting with them. Your knowledge of products and services, on the other hand, is one of your weapons when you become in touch with your potential leads and customers.

Customers rely on customer service representatives for their knowledge about products and services. Knowing the company’s products and services from head to toe helps you answer customers’ questions about the product or assist them when they encounter a problem.

To have a solid product or service foundation, employee training is necessary so that they are more detail-oriented. You need to become up to date with the information about the company’s products and services, purchasing processes, customer policies, and more. If you have access to relevant handbooks and guidelines, make sure to dig through them. It also helps to read about related products and services so you’re prepared with any questions your customers may ask.

5. Writing

Writing (Image: Pixabay)

Yes, any company can hire an SEO agency to do website content and help it rank higher on the search engine search results page. However, customer service representatives should still brush up on their writing skills to communicate with customers effectively. This is very much important, particularly for email or chat customer support.

During in-person conversations, it’s easy to show empathy and read the customer’s body language or facial expressions. But that’s not the case when you’re using email or chat when talking to customers. That is why you need to enhance your writing skills so you can handle situations well. To help you develop this skill, you need to research how those experienced agents write their emails, as well as handle any complaints sent to their inbox or filed on their website. You can then practice what you’ve found and replicate it, making sure it fits the company’s tone and style.

6. Adaptability

Adaptability (Image: Pexels)

In addition to embracing and knowing how to use new technology like a customer data platform that can create a single central customer database, customer service representatives also need to be flexible in any situation. You need to be adaptable to handle surprises and act accordingly. And this involves a lot of willingness to learn.

Customers greatly vary in their needs, moods, and personalities. While you may encounter calm, collected ones, you may also meet agitated and shouting customers. Nevertheless, you can gain control of any situation by being adaptable to what’s at hand. It’s a habit that you need to practice every day, but you’ll definitely see improvement in how you adjust to customers’ demands each day.

Takeaway

The skills of your customer service representatives greatly impact the quality of support and service you can give to your customers. So, make sure to choose them carefully to establish and improve customer relationships.

Some of the key skills you need to look for and develop are active listening, clear communication, writing, and adaptability skills. Customer service representatives should also possess in-depth knowledge of the company’s products and services and be able to empathize with customers. By considering these skills, you can address customer needs effectively and foster a positive experience.

Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins

is the Co-founder of Ranktracker, With over 10 years SEO Experience . He's in charge of all content on the SEO Guide & Blog, you will also find him managing the support chat on the Ranktracker App.

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