Remember when we previously discussed a list of available best student jobs today? One of the jobs we talked about was customer service, so let’s delve deeper into it and gain a better understanding of what skills you need as a customer service representative to perfect your skillset.
Customer service is a set of job skills that require a person to provide services to a customer in the form of solving queries, actively listening, and being understanding among other things. This type of customer-oriented work exists on every level in every brand. It helps brands understand and provide their customers with exceptional services, which boosts brand awareness. In order to master the art of customer service, brands need to employ individuals who possess remarkable set of skills to engage and understand customers. These skills are specifically called ‘soft skills’, as opposed to ‘hard skills’. Soft skills are interpersonal social skills that help a person interact with others in an effective manner. It is what sets apart average-level customer service agents from the best ones.
If you are part of a customer service representative department, then we believe these skills are an essential part of your day-to-day work. Here is a list of top customer service skills to master if you are starting out or are an experienced customer service representative.
- Ability to Listen
One of the most basic and obvious skills that you need to have as a customer service representative is active listening. In order to solve customer queries, you need to listen to the customers’ query and be able to understand first. With that being said, actively listening doesn’t only mean to understand and solve problems, but also to know how to deal with different customers the correct way. The key here is to maximize customer satisfaction through effective communication and avoiding unnecessary misunderstandings.
- Clear Communication
This skill is not only essential to use with customers, but also with colleagues, employers, etc. Listening and communicating (whether it is verbal or written) go hand-in-hand, so it is important to possess both skills in order to do your work effectively. Using clear and easy-to-understand language and adhering to company work etiquette paves the way towards successful communication with customers. This, in turn, helps with building a positive brand awareness. It is important to keep the interactions with your customers as simple as possible, eliminating any room for doubt.
As a customer service representative, you need to have the ability to maintain your cool and appear relaxed when dealing with customers, no matter how rude or negative they may be. As the nature of your job is polite and understanding, you need to have the patience and self-control to solve problems under pressure, without saying something you might regret later. As a professional, it is important to actively remind yourself not to take things personally when a customer becomes hostile, and it is especially important to show friendliness and respect with an angry customer to dilute the issue.
You may face an issue wherein the customer may be having a bad day and is showing irritation. The ability to appear empathetic comes into play here as understanding and recognizing which tone to use with the customer helps pacify the situation and increase customer satisfaction. It is great to solve the customer’s issue when they contact you, but being able to make them feel cared for and showing empathy can boost customer satisfaction and overall experience. People enjoy human interaction and human emotions, so avoid appearing robotic with your words and give a touch of empathy to make the interaction process easier. Although the solution to the problem may be difficult to solve, showing concern, care and understanding can smoothen out the problem-solving phase.
- Knowledge of Product/Service
In order to nail your problem-solving skills, you should put some time in to research and learn more about your brand and the products or services it offers to customers. In doing so, you increase your ability to understand and solve matters with customers. The more you know about your brand, the better it is to deliver excellent and effective customer service. Customers come to you for help, so knowing your product or service from front to back is essential. It is known that people tend to believe and listen to those who appear confident and enthusiastic during interactions, so be well-read on the products and services.
- Time management
Customer service jobs tend to be fast-paced and require promptness. So, in order to work efficiently and productively, it is important to have time management skills so you can divide your time and assist all customers within working hours. In doing so, you show yourself as professional and hardworking, and it causes your customers to trust you and your brand more. It is always good to spend time on each customer in order to thoroughly help them with their issue, but a good customer service representative should know when they’re overspending their time on one customer. This only makes things slow down and customers do not like waiting for hours on hold. A good rule of thumb to abide by is if you are unable to resolve a customer’s issues, don’t worry, and just forward their query to someone who knows how to solve it. In order to manage time, you need to be aware of your aims and objectives at hand so you can organize and prioritize tasks, and implement ways to avoid running out of time.
As you are dealing with countless number of customers, not everyone will react as expected, or maybe some customers might bring forth an issue you have never dealt with. This is where your ability to adapt comes into play. Adaptability is a very useful skill to have as it helps you deal with customers effectively. It helps you find the right way to communicate and deliver personalized solutions for customers with different issues. If you are able to adapt to different situations, then you may have the confidence to make difficult decisions and mindful judgments for the betterment of the company and also your own career and skillset.
- Positive Attitude
Having a positive attitude can help elevate a rather difficult situation with a customer. Being polite, friendly, and pairing that up with a touch of humor can truly enhance customer interaction. Although you’ll be given a script and guides to correctly deal with customers, having the ability to change it up once in a while shows that you have the capabilities of a great customer service representative. Using such tactics can garner happy customers as well. Although, in a professional setting, jokes are either a hit or a miss, you need to have the sense to judge whether it is an appropriate time to joke with a customer. With that being said, customers enjoy it when you go along with their attempt at humor, so showing human emotions is sometimes advantageous. The language and tone you use also plays a vital role in how customers see you and the brand you represent, so it is always a good idea to show gratitude and kindness throughout your communications.
- Conflict Resolution Skills
When it comes to customer interactions and customer satisfaction, having conflict resolution skills is an essential skill to have. You deal with many customers; all having different problems, so it is important for you to be creative and come up with the best solution to a problem. Keep in mind that offering realistic solutions is the best course of action as the main goal here is to eliminate any doubts that reside in the mind of the customer. With that being said, you may not always find a solution, so in that case, you can relocate or forward the customer query to other personnel that could offer further assistance. It is always a good idea to do a follow-up with customers and offer additional support in whatever way possible. If that gesture makes your customers feel cared for, then you’re doing a great job. And here’s a little secret: your company will appreciate you for it!
Now that you know the many skills needed to master the art of being the best customer service rep, why don’t you use these skills where they’ll be valued and acknowledged? Remember, no one likes humans that sound like robots… so, be yourself and make the best out of every situation!