10 Important Skills for being Awesome at Customer Service
It takes time, training, practice and dedication to become awesome in customer service. But it doesn’t have to be that hard when you know where to focus your efforts. Here’s a list of 10 important skills for being awesome at customer service. Everyone involved in customer service should master and use them every day when interacting with customers.
1 Effective Listening
Listening is the key to effective communication. Without the ability to listen carefully to what a customer is saying, their message can easily be misunderstood. As a result, communication breaks down leaving a customer frustrated. Listening isn’t just about hearing. A good listener will not only listen to what is being said, but also what is left unsaid or partially said. Luckily, if your listening skills are weak, there are easy techniques for improving them.
Attentiveness should run through every customer service experience. During the interaction and after it’s over. How often have you contacted a business and been subjected to obviously scripted responses? It gives you the feeling the customer service person didn’t really pay attention to what you were saying, or didn’t care about your problem? There’s nothing wrong with using scripted type responses, as long as they are personalised, used wisely and appropriate to the situation. That’s why attentiveness is crucial.
Customer service can be a stressful and challenging job, especially when we have to deal with confused, frustrated and angry customers. In these situations, patience is a real virtue. The way you respond to those customers, will either calm them down or frustrate them further. The good news is that learning to be patient with customers is as easy as learning to separate your feelings from the situation. Understand that in most cases a customer is upset with a service or product issue and not with you personally.
Maintaining self-control is paramount in customer service. Apart from the ability to handle surprises and deal with angry customers without losing your cool, it also goes to treating each customer as an individual, regardless of how bad the previous one was. Keep in mind that each new customer presents a completely new request. The frustrated customer you just had, bears no relation to the next customer waiting to be taken care of.
5 Clear communication skills
If you are not a great communicator, you will probably not go far in customer service. An ability to communicate clearly and effectively verbally (no mumbling) and written (strong typing, spelling and grammar skills) is essential. It also involves avoiding miscommunications that might lead to misunderstandings and unwanted outcomes. Especially when it comes to important points, you need to communicate things clearly, simply and leave nothing to doubt.
6 Ability to use ‘positive language’
The way you express yourself will affect whether your message is received positively or negatively. When talking to your customers face-to-face or over the phone, body language, face expressions and tone of voice convey far more than the meaning of the words. While in Live Chat conversations, words are all you have to convey the message. That’s why your ability to use ‘positive language’ and avoid negative phrases will leave your customers feeling satisfied.
7 Persuasive speaking skills
Being a persuasive speaker can dramatically improve your customer interactions. The secret of persuasive speaking is putting the verbal focus on the target of persuasion (the customer), rather than on the speaker. In practice, it means calling a customer by name, using action-oriented words. The active tense in words or phrases, instead of the passive tense and avoiding statements (like ‘I think’ or ‘I believe’) that express your personal thoughts or opinions. Putting your customers at the center will make them feel more respected and appreciated.
8 Time management
Are you able to manage your working time efficiently? Effective time management includes smart planning, setting goals and priorities, minimising interruptions, handling procrastination and delegating responsibilities. The last one should be applied in the situations when you simply cannot help a customer. Whether it’s because you don’t know how, or you’re not authorized to do it. That’s when the best thing is to pass a customer & their issue to someone who can help them, without wasting both of your time.
9 Taking responsibility
When things go wrong, customers expect you to take responsibility for the problems or negative experiences they are having. It starts with being able to sincerely apologise to a customer on behalf of your company. Even when a problem or a situation that caused a customer’s frustration was not your fault at all. It also means your readiness to do whatever it takes to make sure the issue gets resolves as quickly and efficiently as possible.
10 Willingness to improve
It might sound too ‘general’ compared to other skills on the list, but it’s still absolutely necessary. In customer service, there’s always room for improvement and it always pays to invest in yourself. If you’re not seeking to get better at what you’re doing, you might end up being left behind by those willing to invest in their skills and self-improvement.
To improve and be awesome in customer service, enroll in a positive 1 day customer service program. It will show you ways to improve and deliver a great customer experience and grow your business in 2016 .
For more information contact Brian at: www.betterment.co.nz