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How many times did a company’s customer service make you feel confident about the company? Have you ever thought of the essentials skills that are needed for customer service employees? Through this article, we will guide you through some of the ‘Top customer service skills’.
There is a spiritual aspect to our lives — when we give, we receive — when a business does something good for somebody, that somebody feels good about them!
– Ben Cohen, Co-Founder Ben & Jerry’s
Different businesses require different customer service skills. But luckily there are a few skills that are common to all industry. This article is based on those skills so that it is not narrowed down to a particular industry.
What is customer service and why is it important?
Customer service is the support that you offer to your customers both before and after buying your product. It is not just all about answering their queries but to gain your customers’ confidence in your brand. And, it is the key to the success of your business.
It is often said that it is cheaper to keep your existing customers than to bring new ones to your business. And that is true, customer service is the key driver of churn. So it is very important to prioritize your customer experience.
The importance of customer service can be grouped into the following points:
- Support is the key factor in product experience.
- Customer service is the key factor to compete effectively.
- Customer service can directly affect your reputation.
- Customers are willing to pay more for the better experience you provide.
- Customer service matters, it affects your bottom line.
How to hire support agents?
Rather than training your support team, it is more important to hire support agents with good skills. Once, hiring a support agent was all about budget. Many companies go for less experienced and less motivated guys over the skilled ones simply because they are ready to work for low pay.
Customer service representatives are the face of a company in most of the times. They are the ones who directly interact with the customers. Hiring the best candidate is like fishing in the ocean, you need to set some measures to narrow down the pool of potential candidates. The candidates whom you choose should have some of the skills like:
- A good understanding of the specific industry.
- Ability to provide support through multiple channels like email, phone, social media, chat etc.
- Good knowledge of the tools you use.
- Should possess some natural helping mentality.
- Good personality and attitude.
- Must be a team player.
- Ability to understand the customer’s needs.
- Good communication skills.
- Ability to approach situations positively.
- Passion for what he does.
While hiring a candidate as a support agent, you should keep all these in mind and evaluate the one in front of you. If he posses all of these skills he is the best suit for your customer service.
Top customer service skills
The single most important thing is to make people happy. If you are making people happy, as a side effect, they will be happy to open up their wallets and pay you.
– Derek Sivers, Founder CD Baby
As we all know customer service requires some skill sets if you really want to make it awesome. Treating your customers well can bring you more business through mouth publicity. If your customer is happy, they will recommend your product to their friends. And, no advertising is more powerful than a recommendation by a friend. Now we will see what are the top customer service skills every employee should have.
1. Knowledge of your product
First and the most important customer service skill is that your support agent should have a thorough knowledge of the products and how it works. You can only share knowledge if you have enough of it. It doesn’t mean that support agents should be able to build those products from scratch. But the thing is that they should be good enough to answer those curious customer queries.
If you didn’t know the products well you won’t be able to understand what are the problems faced by customers and how to solve it for them. So knowledge of your product is a must-have skill for every industry.
Empathy simply refers to the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Now how to show empathy to your customers? There are few tips to show empathy:
- Listen actively to customers when they are speaking.
- Apologize to the customers if needed.
- Express a sincere desire to help.
- Be polite even if the customer is not.
- Understand the customer’s need clearly.
Implementing empathy can calm down your frustrated customers and can make them stick to your brand.
Keep in mind that, customer service is not an easy job. Sometimes your customers will be angry at you, sometimes the customers need more time to understand what you say, and sometimes things will be very difficult. No matter what the issue is, you have to be always patient while dealing with the customers.
Patience not only helps you in delivering better customer experience but also a healthy, happy and successful life. Recent studies have proved that people who are patient stay healthy compared to others. Patience is one of the toughest customer service skill to develop, yet one of the biggest asset you will have as a support agent.
4. Choosing the right language
The easiest way to detect a negative language that you use in your conversation is that look for the words like “can’t”, “don’t” etc, and try replacing them. While replying to a customer you should not start with a negative sentence. Even if the answer is negative, try to start the sentence positively.
Small changes in the sentences can make the customers feel bad. If you are telling that a feature is not available in your product, start the sentence as “This is an interesting feature and we will add this to our feature list”. So that the answer is conveyed positively.
5. Clarity in communication
Clarity in communication is one of the important customer service skills that can make an impact on your bottom line. Everyone likes the problem to be solved as fast as possible. What if you could solve the problem in one less email? Conveying messages with more clarity can reduce the conversation length and help to solve the issue quickly.
In order to clearly communicate your ideas to the customers, you need to be good at the language you use. If you are not good at that, you will be telling something and the customer will be understanding something else. Even if the customer is not good in conveying his issue, a good support agent should be able to understand and solve his issue.
6. Time management skills
Everyone has 24 hours in a day, but the success matters on how you manage this time efficiently. Time management skill is a universal skill. Not only for customer support representatives, but it is also a much-needed skill set for employees doing any kind of job.
When it comes to customer service one example of time management is that, when you understand that you cannot answer the customer query don’t try to waste time on it. Instead, pass the query to other ones who can solve it. Else, you will be wasting the time of both you and your customer.
7. Ability to understand your customer
Whenever you are sitting at a customer service representative, you won’t be able to see your customers who are asking you the queries. when it comes to an email support, you could not even hear their voice. So understanding how your customers respond and understanding what are their current emotions requires some talent.
Many of the customers will be in a different mood and their messages can clearly convey their current emotions. Read your customers properly from their conversations and reply to them accordingly. So that you can make the customers calm and also improve the overall customer experience.
8. Solving Ability
This means that you should be able to solve the customer issues easily and with good customer satisfaction. In the end, you should analyze all those solved issues and check whether the conversation went properly or not. You will get to know where should you improve yourselves.
Sometimes the customer may have many issues within the same email or ticket. Make sure that all his issues/ requirements are solved before closing it. If you did all this you will get a customer reply at the end “Thanks, all my issues are solved”
9. Keep improving your skills
All the skills that we have covered so far will definitely help you in improving support skills and customer experience. You should keep on improvising these skills to survive in this competitive field.
You should measure your performance. What if you get a report of your performance on your helpdesk? Use WSDesk report dashboard to view your agent’s performance. Here you can get the statistics about the status of tickets, agent response and so on.
Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us.
– Earl Nightingale, Author and Motivational Speaker
Following all those tips that we discussed in this article can take your customer service skills to the next level. It can also increase the faith of the customers that they have in your brand. Follow all these skills and look for it when you hire your next support staff.
How many of these skills made an impact on your business? Are there more skills that a customer support representative should have? Let us know in the comment section below.
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