The customer service department of a company can make or break the business. Customer service professionals represent a company directly to its customers. They are responsible for turning a visitor into a customer and ensuring complete satisfaction.
If you work as a customer service professional or are trying to score a job in this department, you need to master a few skills. Yes, this job is more than greeting the customers, noting their complaints, or answering a simple phone call. Instead, the job is a little more demanding than that, so you need a range of skills to excel in it.
Therefore, if you want to be an ideal customer service candidate, here are the top 20 skills you need to master. Let's get into the details of each skill and know how it can help you deal with a customer professionally.
Why Does a Good Customer Service Team Matter?
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Whenever a buyer or user faces a problem with a service or product, they contact the customer service team. Imagine getting a dull and unresponsive person representing the company. Of course, it will be a bummer for the customer, and they may not want to deal with that company again.
On the other hand, if the customer service representative is attentive, responsive, and resourceful, customers would love to connect with the company again. According to research, companies with well-trained and highly skilled customer service staff grow their revenues by 4% to 8%.
Why? Because the better the experience, the stronger the customer's loyalty will be. With a bad customer service team, companies can face significant losses. Another report shows that 89% of the people prefer doing business with a competitor after a bad customer care experience with a company.
Understanding what a customer needs is essential for the development of a company. This is why hiring a well-trained and professional customer care individual is essential. It will help retain old clientele and convert new visitors into loyal customers.
20 Skills You Can Master as a Customer Service Professional
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Whether you want to retain your customers or upskill yourself for an upper-level customer service position, these 20 important skills will help you achieve your goals quickly.
1. Respecting the Customer
The first rule to interact with any customer or colleague, in general, is showing respect. You cannot gain respect without giving respect. If you acknowledge your customers’ feelings and points of view, they will feel more welcomed and valued.
Talking in a calmer and more understanding way without getting frustrated shows that you respect the customer's query. It is the first rule to maintain the company's reputation.
Don't forget to add "Please" and "Thank you" to your sentences. These words and phrases will add more value to your conversation while prioritizing respect at both ends.
2. Quick Problem Solving Techniques
The main reason why a customer would come to a customer service representative is to get a problem solved. If you don't have quick problem-solving skills, contacting you will be no use.
A good customer service representative can not only diagnose the problem the customer is facing but also offer a quick solution. If they get an instant solution for their problem from you, they might become a returning customer.
Statistics show that more than 64% of customers still don’t get a proper solution for their problem through their provider's customer care team. As a result, they leave their existing provider and look into the competitor businesses.
3. Fluency in More Than One Language
If your business is located in an area with another common language than English, you can take classes to become fluent in that language. Native language customer support is becoming more and more common because of its countless benefits to the company.
Not only does the customer understand the instruction and help better, but they also feel more connected to the brand. You can increase the chances of getting a returning customer by 74% by providing services in their language.
The fact that language services are growing at such a rapid rate determines the importance of this skill. Providing customer care in their language can be a considerable upgrade for the company.
4. Patience and Empathy
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If a customer service representative does not have patience and empathy for the customer's problem, they cannot provide genuine help.
You need to understand what the customer is going through without judgment or frustration. The best way to solve a problem is to put yourself in the customer's shoes to understand their situation better.
According to Damon Richards, a customer service expert, "Your customer doesn't care how much you know until they know how much you care." So the more care and empathy you show, the more you will keep the customer hooked to your company.
5. Comprehensible Communication Skills
Since customer care majorly depends on conversing with the clients, it is essential to have clear communication skills. Whatever you say must be comprehensible to the listener.
If you are talking in person, use clear body language and words to convey your message. If you are on a phone call, your words need to be clear with an uninterrupted telephone connection.
However, if you're dealing with the customer through text, check for your grammar and sentence structure while communicating. Do not sound too robotic or too casual. You need to find a perfect balance between formal and informal while talking to a customer.
6. Attention to Detail
Your attention to detail can help the customers understand their problems. Most of the time, your customer does not know what problem they are facing.
Therefore, you need to be attentive to all the details they are providing. It will help you pick up the actual problem and help the customer solve the issue they are dealing with.
This skill can also make you one of your department's top-rated customer care representatives. Once you know how to figure people's problems out, customers would love to consult with you on demand.
7. Strong Command on Time
Time management skills are also quite important when it comes to customer care. Once the queries start rolling in, it can be pretty challenging to manage if you are not in alignment with your time and schedule.
Keep track of all the appointments or walk-ins and how much time you can give to each customer. Managing the customer's queries and solving their problem at the right time is a highly demanded skill.
It also goes hand in hand with attention to detail. Once you pick up your customer’s problem, you can quickly help them solve the issue.
8. Personalize the Conversation
It is important to personalize the conversation while talking to a customer. As mentioned above, you don't have to talk like a robot. Instead, add a few common, everyday phrases or use the customer's name to acknowledge them.
Giving a personalized experience makes the customers feel more connected to the business. A study showed that more than 33% of customers left a business the past year because of a lack of personalization.
So, make your customer feel at home to make them stay. In contrast, dull and automated responses can make them feel severely unwelcomed, resulting in a loss of sales.
9. Technical Knowledge of the Product
Whatever products or services a company sells, its customer service representative should know its technicalities. This skill will allow you to help your customers understand the product or service better.
You can ask your other colleagues about the working of the product. Furthermore, using the product or service personally will allow you to experience it as a customer.
This way, you will understand the customer's queries in a better way with even more practical solutions for the problems.
10. Expertise in Taking Quick Notes
Writing or typing skills are also necessary for a customer care professional. For example, if there is a query or complaint that needs to be noted, you should be able to pen it down quickly.
It would be irritating to ask your customer to repeat the query again and again while writing or typing it down. So, make sure to practice quick writing or typing in your free time to improve this skill. Take notes in bullet points and highlight the most crucial part, so they are easy to go through.
11. Polite Persuasion Skills
The customer support team is not only for solving people's problems. Often people call the customer service team to ask about the product or service the company is offering.
At this time, the representative should use smart persuasion skills to turn that visitor or caller into a buyer. Most of the time, those visitors do end up purchasing a product.
This helps the company grow and bring many returning customers. A good company representative would never let a potential customer go.
12. Careful Listening
Another important skill for a customer care professional is attentive listening. For example, the customer has called you to share a problem with the product or service they have spent their money on. You must respect their concern and actively listen to what they are saying.
Focus on the problem they are discussing rather than on the answer you are going to give.
It is found that 23% of people prefer consulting face to face when dealing with a bigger problem that includes money. That’s mainly to have a more transparent conversation with the business representative. So make sure they are appropriately heard when they reach out to you.
13. Smart Negotiation Skills
You also need to learn how to negotiate like a pro. For example, when a customer files a claim and asks for a refund, you need to consider the benefit of both parties. Negotiating a better deal will help the customer and the company both.
These negotiations need quick decisions and intelligent thinking. Otherwise, the company can face a loss. This skill especially comes into use when working for a company selling an interest-based service.
14. Basic Mental Math
A responsive customer care representative should be able to calculate prices, percentages, interest, and differences quickly. Whether you use a calculator for more extensive calculations or just mental math for smaller ones, your answer should be quick and to the point.
This skill will make you appear more well-prepared in front of the customer. Currently, Millenials are willing to pay extra for such an attentive, quick, and responsive customer service team.
Gen Z and Millenials have more expectations from customer care services than older generations. Therefore, companies look for representatives with a variety of skills.
15. Ability to Use Different Software and Hardware
Every company uses unique software or different hardware to run the business. A customer care professional should be aware of these technicalities to record data, access previous records, product info, etc.
Companies should conduct proper training sessions for customer care teams on how to use those software and hardware.
Furthermore, they should also have basic knowledge about different social media platforms. One in two millennials contacts the customer service team for complaints through social media. If you don't know how to run these apps, you will leave many customers unattended.
16. Positive Body Language
Positive body language is essential when you are dealing with customers in person. Your body language should be welcoming rather than defensive. It allows the customer to discuss their issues in detail.
Know that the customer is here because of a problem. The last thing they want is a defensive and aggressive representative taking their queries.
Greeting the customer with a smile in a softer and welcoming tone will make the discussion smoother. So, positively guide them through the process with precise hand movements and eye contact.
17. Grip on the Question-Asking Methods
The customers are not the only ones asking questions during the conversation. Sometimes they are just clueless about a specific problem. However, there are a few question-asking methods that you can learn and follow to tackle this problem.
For example, the Funnel Effect question-asking method and the Tell, Explain, Describe (TED) method are the most common techniques to understand the customer's problem.
These techniques are usually used during online queries as some people find it hard to explain their issues on call or text. They are not only effective for figuring out the problem but also give the impression that you are interested in solving their problem.
18. Ability to Work with a Diverse Group of People
When you are in the customer service department, you come across people of all races, genders, ethnicities, and faiths. So naturally, you need to work with different groups of people without discriminating or judging.
Learn about their cultural and social differences to understand and help them better. This step will allow them to trust your company wholeheartedly.
19. Proper Dressing Sense
If your duty is in a store or office where you have to deal with customers in person, your appearance matters a lot. Thus, if your company has a uniform, it should be clean and ironed.
If there is no uniform, they have a simple capsule wardrobe with formal basics. Where sophisticated colors and structured silhouettes for a polished and put-together look
A good and professional person makes a great first impression that is beneficial for the company's reputation. Research says, 27% of the people remain loyal to a brand for up to two years after an excellent first impression from the customer care department.
20. Eagerness to Learn
Lastly, a customer service representative should always be eager to learn new skills to further enhance the customer's experience, career, and the company's growth.
With each new skill, there can be many new doors of opportunities opened for you. So whether it is a promotion or a job at your dream company, learning new skills will never go to waste.
As technology advances, customer service representatives must learn to adapt to modern technology. This will help them polish their services, groom their professional career, and reduce the communication gap.
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With these skills and techniques up your sleeve, you can master the art of conversing with a customer. These skills are necessary not only for customer service representatives but also for other company staff. An ideal company would collaborate with their customers, keeping their demands and queries in mind.
These easy skills will help you build a strong relationship with the customers and your colleagues. With frequent customer care training in companies, businesses can thrive and retain more customers in the future. Once you master these skills, you can see your career and company grow profusely.
Cover Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash