15 Key Customer Service Skills You Need To Know


April 14, 2022

Written by

Merlene Leano

Admit it, the first thing that springs to mind when we hear the term customer service is problem resolution and communication. 

It is a reality that we often overlook, particularly the fact that having great customer service skills entails more than just answering the phone or conducting follow-up assistance via email. What businesses fail to realize is that no matter how good their products are, terrible customer service will still leave their customers dissatisfied. When customers are unhappy with the support they receive, they are more likely to seek a more dependable solution provider.

So, how can your company turn things around? What aspects should you consider  leveraging your customer service for your company's long-term success?

If you're seeking a direct answer, this article might be a good place to start. We'll go through a  that your support staff should master to help deliver the kind of client experience that surpasses people’s expectations and creates a lasting impression on your business. 

To start, let’s define what customer service is.

What is Customer Service and Why is it Important?

Customer service is defined as the act of addressing and evaluating the needs of customers to guarantee that they have a positive experience with a company or organization. 

Beyond its textbook definition, customer service can refer to the job skills that agents must learn and exhibit to productively carry out a company or organization's core operations. Emotional intelligence, resourcefulness, communicativeness (both verbal and nonverbal), creativity, and excellent problem-solving abilities are examples of such qualities.

Why is it important?

The answer to this question is pretty self-explanatory. When it comes to providing customer service, the manner in which a company does so has an impact on how strongly you build your organization's reputation. It is vital for any business to have an in-depth background about the key skills for customer service needed to become successful in your niche, and honing these talents will go a long way toward enhancing your online reputation. Being associated with a highly regarded organization also means a closer connection with prospective customers.

15 Essential Customer Service Skills

While developing your overall image necessitates collaboration from all sections of your company, your customer service team serves as your first line of defense. Hence, it is vital to choose someone who is genuinely committed to assisting clients whenever they contact you.

Not everyone is born with the knack to provide exceptional customer service, and so it is important to note that you, as the business owner or leader, must make an effort to inculcate the necessary skills in your team. In the long run, this is what will make you successful in your niche.

Instilling important customer service skills in your support crew does not happen overnight. With time, dedication, and sufficient training, mastering the essentials will undoubtedly help you propel your agents' ability to become excellent customer service representatives.

That said, here are 15 examples of good customer service skills that you need to develop.

1. Excellent Communication Skills

Communication is essential in the customer service industry. Even when communicating with clients across a variety of channels such as phone, email, and live chat, a support agent with strong communication skills should be willing to engage them in a conversation. To avoid recurring issues or repetitive queries, your support representatives must be proficient at providing concise and direct solutions and suggestions to resolve their complaints.

2. Problem-Solving Skills

One of the most important responsibilities of a customer service representative is to handle problems as promptly as feasible. Customer complaints are typically long and winding; making it difficult for certain agents to provide a speedy resolution to the issue at hand. Often, the level of complexity of a customer's complaint varies from one customer to another.

Extensive problem-solving abilities are essential to stay on track of clients' requests and potentially come up with the most ideal and immediate remedies for their concerns.

It is equally important to note that problem-solving extends beyond the development of a potential solution. Instead, it should be expanded to include a more intricate procedure. Agents must exercise caution while evaluating issues, no matter how similar they may appear. At times, a basic administrative concern can mask an underlying technical problem that demands the use of specialized knowledge as a solution. In return, you develop solutions catered to the unique problem at hand.

3. Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness is an important customer service skill to consider. This is especially true if the customer's problem necessitates a specific background or specialized knowledge that the agent cannot resolve alone. Conventional problem-solving methods are not always appropriate for every given situation. A competent customer service representative must be capable of improvising in stressful situations.

The so-called duct tape technique is a strategy that fosters ingenuity. It is a technique that enables agents to resolve issues temporarily and devise a workable solution while the other side searches for feasible alternatives.

Using the duct-tape technique encourages agents to think creatively to provide an effective solution that alleviates any tension or aggravation experienced by the customers.

4. Empathy

A skilled customer service agent should have the ability to sympathize with their clients. Agents that are empathetic are able to evaluate clients' emotions. By putting themselves in the shoes of the customer, agents can determine the root cause of the issue more effectively and provide the optimal solution for that particular dilemma.

5. Patience

Along with empathy, agents must have a strong sense of patience. Customers seeking assistance are typically angered, irritated, and bewildered. Patience is associated with professionalism, particularly when agents choose to remain calm and accommodating to irate and highly stressed customers.

Some customers mumble when expressing their concerns, while others are unable to comprehend instructions promptly. Agents should exhibit patience by listening intently when the customers express concerns.

6. Adaptive

One of the main customer service skills to practice is to become adaptive. Adaptability is exhibited when agents have the capacity to be flexible and transition from a straightforward customer issue to a more complex concern that needs deeper probing.

7. Knowledgeable

From a client's standpoint, contacting a help desk operator is their preferred method of obtaining explanations or thorough instructions. The lack of experience and familiarity with your brand's products or services, makes it difficult for your help desk staff to deliver accurate solutions. Ascertain that all of your reps are knowledgeable about your products and services to ensure they are well-geared to provide the best assistance possible.

8. Conversational

Chatbots and answering machines may successfully aid in the improvement of customer service effectiveness, but there will still be customers who prefer to speak with an actual person. Hence, it is critical for agents to engage customers through conversational interactions. Not all people are comfortable with the idea of speaking with a lifeless robot. They feel as though that robots are not quite ready to assist them with their concerns.

Maintain a conversational tone when speaking with clients. Additionally, it is preferable to refer to clients by their first names. It gives them the idea that they are in good hands and that any issue can be quickly resolved. Of course, a few jokes won’t hurt.

9. Creative

Aside from being resourceful, an agent's client handling skills must transcend traditional customer service standards. A creative agent knows when to suggest beneficial ideas that other agents may have overlooked or did not consider. Innovation paired with a good attitude can convert even the most upset client into a delighted patron. Moreover, it helps foster a more fluid work environment.

10. Eagerness to Learn

It is entirely normal to make errors while aiding clients. Indeed, it is the most effective method for agents to acquire knowledge. All agents must display a willingness to evolve and improve. Conduct regular training sessions to aid them in expanding their product knowledge, honing their communication skills, and, most importantly, acquiring newer and more effective methods for promptly resolving client concerns.

11. Persuasion Skills

Persuasion is a double-edged sword when it comes to your business's success. When dealing with new clients, this type of light expertise is usually beneficial, particularly if the client is curious about what you have in store for them. Being a compelling agent entails encouraging prospects to try your products, retaining existing clients by speaking in the organization's voice, and being receptive to concerns and constructive criticism. A dependable customer service representative with excellent persuading abilities is usually a huge asset for generating leads and increasing revenue.

If your product fails to satisfy a particular customer, having personnel with excellent persuasive abilities enables you to easily engage with dissatisfied customers and convince them to give your brand another try. As previously said, having strong persuading abilities can significantly improve your retention rates.

12. Intuitive

It goes without saying that the primary purpose of customer service is to gain awareness of the needs and desires of customers. However, reading the customer's emotions can be difficult, especially when operators cannot see them face-to-face. Customers may appear calm at times, but in reality, they are easily enraged. Such a circumstance generates misunderstandings, making it even more difficult for support representatives to determine the main source of the problem.

It is critical for agents to be intuitive. Understand how to read their emotional condition simply by listening to their tone. Do they always have a joke to tell? Are they the solemn type? Do they sound as though they have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to your company? Then, the proper line of action is to reply appropriately.

13. Time Management Skills

In the customer service industry, time is a precious commodity. Agents are responsible for ensuring that their clients receive specialized and customized treatment. However, accomplishing this is physically impossible, especially if the company has a small number of agents. This is where exceptional time management abilities come in handy.

In an ideal world, you'd like your personnel to resolve customer issues as promptly as possible. If the issue looks to be outside the agent's area of specialization, redirecting the caller immediately to the proper agent can save time for both your personnel and the caller. 

Additionally, you ensure that clients receive the appropriate assistance for their concerns and limit the risk of bottlenecks. Effective time management enables agents to determine when to move on to other clients and do follow-up calls.

14. Calm Attitude

Whether you like it or not, some customers can really test your patience at times. Regardless, you are obligated to keep a calm demeanor no matter how upset they are when speaking with you. If they find your solution unsatisfying, just exude a pleasant attitude. Make them believe that you are exhausting all possible options to find a more effective solution and that everything is under control. Also, a genuine apology can calm a customer, making it easier for both of you to fix the problem. Keeping composure under pressure and in stressful situations goes a long way toward dealing with a variety of situations.

15. Team-Oriented

While it is frequently emphasized in customer service that open communication is highly valued, there are still times when taking on abrupt spikes in caller traffic substantially influences an agent's effectiveness. However, being a team player can help the entire team cope with the stress generated by unanticipated spikes in call volume and delays.

This is particularly true if additional agents have been hired. To ensure that activities run more smoothly, tenured agents must assist them in becoming familiar with the rules and standards. Maintaining team camaraderie has been shown to significantly increase overall efficiency, which benefits long-term success.

Best Ways to Improve Customer Service Skills

Employees must carefully match themselves with changing client demands to be effective in customer service. Failure to hone these abilities results in the deterioration of customer connections. 

Let's take a look at some important tips for enhancing your employees' customer service abilities.

  • Familiarized with customers’ needs and preferences.
  • Always be open to constructive criticism.
  • Be concise in providing guidelines (providing a FAQs page comes in handy too!)
  • Go above and beyond clients’ expectations by providing additional customer service training as needed.
  • Highlight convenience at all times.

However, implementing such substantial changes requires time. Ideally, you'd have a talent pool that's not just ready to expand, but also available anytime you require their skills. Fortunately, there are several companies currently offering customer support outsourcing solutions on the market. As a result, selecting the appropriate solution provider is a breeze.

This is Just the Start

Considering the aforementioned attributes and skills will surely help you take your customer assistance to the next level. It is your responsibility to uncover and explore these core competencies as you continue on your client support service journey.

Are you seeking a reputable provider of customer service solutions? Perhaps we can be of assistance! The help desk solutions provided by New Media Services streamline customer assistance. We ensure that you broaden the scope of your customer service and deliver great help to your end-users by leveraging dependable human experience, machine learning technologies, and cutting-edge features.

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