Customer service plays an important role in not only attracting but also retaining customers.
Businesses can leverage good customer service to boost sales. Skills like, empathy, good communication, and problem-solving are core in providing excellent customer service.
In this article, you’ll learn what customer service is, why it is important, and the top 7 customer service skills for a thriving business.
Good customer service can improve a company’s sales and brand reputation. Customers tend to spend more money if they feel special and the service is tailored to their specific needs. This, in turn, helps develop a positive brand association for future purchasing decisions.
Beyond a business’s bottom line, strong customer service skills can yield benefits internally. Informal feedback generated from customer interactions can be an invaluable resource for improving user experience (UX) and product design.
Further, hiring respectful, empathetic employees can translate into enhanced collaboration and well-being among and across teams.
Anyone may learn these skills and build customer loyalty as well as foster strong relationships among employees and teams.
As we come to the end of the #CustomerServiceWeek, it is likely you already possess some of these skills or simply need a little practice to sharpen them.
Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s emotions and perspective. Delivering a good customer experience requires tapping into their headspace to fulfill their needs. It means reading cues and anticipating what they want. The outcome of empathy can look like treating customers kindly when they enter your restaurant, allowing for refunds within 30 days, and assisting them in their decision-making process.
Example: A customer calls their internet service provider complaining that their WiFi has been spotty over the past week. The representative says, “I understand how frustrating that can be. Let me do some tests to troubleshoot the issue.”
Being able to solve problems is key to customer service. If a customer contacts the business with an issue or complaint, the employee needs to figure out why they are experiencing the problem and how to fix it. Solving the problem at hand may require you to be patient and respectful as they explain the problem.
You should possess adequate technical knowledge to help the customer resolve the issue, and help them prevent it in the future.
Example: Over live chat, a customer cannot reset their password to log into their account. The representative performs a manual reset and then walks the customer through how to reset their own password in the future.
Communication can occur in many forms, through various channels, penetrating customers through in-person interactions, the instruction manual, and social media copy.
Effective communication is utilizing clear and concise language when educating customers on products and company policies, so that they feel confident making a purchase and feel that they’ll be supported even after the purchase.
When speaking with customers in person, body language should be positive, refraining from mumbling or crossing the arms and looking bored.
Example: A customer calls to inquire about opening hours. Your customer service team should on the phone respond quickly and cheerfully, instead of muttering incoherently and placing them on hold or transferring them to other departments and while at it taking long to help address the customers’ needs.
Every conversation requires a listener and a speaker. Listening to a customer’s questions and concerns and responding in a way that makes them feel heard paves the way forward to a solution. The use of verbal cues like “mmm”, paraphrasing, and clarifying with questions, are all part of the practice of active listening.
Pro Tip: When a customer calls to make a reservation, the host should listen & then repeats, “You’re all set! Then go ahead to confirm the reservation as well.
Have you ever called a customer service center then you are transferred to a number of people before your issue is settled? How do you feel? Disappointed maybe..
Well, that’s why we think a customer service professional should be a know it all and only escalate matters that are beyond her.
As a customer service professional you’ll want to be familiar with technical and industry knowledge to help customers make informed decisions and troubleshoot any issues.
Representatives should be up-to-date on all product specifications, the purchasing process, product or service usage, and company policies. Plus, technical knowledge is helpful if you’re trying to upsell a product or service because you’ll be able to list out the features of the newest edition.
A good practice for businesses is to list out FAQs on the website to empower customers to find the information without contacting the support team.
Patience comes in handy when dealing with customers, especially if they are angry, resentful, or rude.
A heated argument with a customer can diminish your brand reputation, especially given the star rating systems on Google Maps, Yelp, or Glassdoor, where your business might be listed. Practicing compassion can help you deliver a positive customer experience. Your presence and actions can lift someone’s spirits instead of making a bad situation worse.
Tenacity, the ability to remain doggedly persistent throughout a difficult situation, is a quality often overlooked but very important in customer service. Along with patience and developing a thick skin when working in customer service, tenacity is required to get the job done thoroughly and accurately. Customers appreciate it when service professionals walk them through the process when they need help. They are more likely to continue doing business with you if you have ensured customer satisfaction.
Customers want to be able to reach a business on nearly every platform. Their channel of communication might change depending on the situation.
That means your customer service needs to be adaptable. Sometimes, the same customer will contact a business through different channels each time. Integrating customer information with a customer relationship management (CRM) system helps to streamline inquiries from multiple channels.
It also helps to be accommodating to the different backgrounds and personalities of your customers.