17 Important Customer Service Skills (And How to Improve Them)
To be good at customer service, you have to have a certain set of skills. Some of them are innate, while others can be learned easily. As with everything, you can continually work towards improving them. Customer service skills are important even when you don’t work in this field. After all, when you’re applying for a job, or dating a potential spouse, aren’t you marketing yourself to them? That’s where your client care abilities can come in. Here are seventeen customer service skills to have and how you can improve them.
1. Speaking Skills
Customer service demands good speaking skills. People enjoy interacting with someone well-spoken, and they’re more likely to buy whatever you’re selling if you’re able to talk persuasively enough. You don’t have to have an immense vocabulary. Sometimes earnestness and belief in the product are all that is needed. If you think your speaking skills could use some work, stand in front of a mirror, watch yourself talk, or practice with a friend better yet.
If you want a career in customer service, then you should have the skill of versatility. This means that you’ll be able to adapt to any condition you’re in or sell any product you’re assigned to. You don’t always get the product you want to sell in customer service, so it’s important to be nimble and empathetic. If you think your skills need polishing in this area, try talking with a friend. Pick out a random topic and talk about it as best as you can.
Sometimes you’ll get an awful customer. That’s just a fact of life. Customer service often feels like you’re biting your tongue from saying something you shouldn’t. Most of the time, you have to make a sale. It’s an important skill any marketer should have. If you want to hone your self-control skills, try watching videos of controversial topics you feel strongly about and practice keeping a straight face.
4. Being Responsible
Knowing when to take responsibility for your actions is also an important skill to have. It’s alright to make mistakes. It’s a process of learning. If you don’t know something, it’s okay to admit it. Being responsible for your actions can win over your customers instead of trying to impress them with fake facts. People respond to raw honesty. The next time you try to skip out on responsibility, make a mental note to do better next time.
5. Patience, Patience, Patience
Patience is a virtue, especially in customer service. You’re going to work for long hours and smile so much that your face is cramped by the end. That’s part of the hustle. If something stretches your patience, take a deep breath, and ask yourself if it’s worth it. You’ll often find it’s not.
6. Good listening
Good communication demands excellent listening skills. You can’t help people if you don’t listen well to them. It’s not just about hearing their words – it’s also about knowing what they mean. Some customers come in with only a very general description of the items they want, and you’ve got to work there. If you wish to enhance your listening skills, try having conversations with friends, and see how much you pick up.
7. Being Attentive
Customers hate it when they feel like you’re not paying enough attention to them. When clients feel valued, they are more likely to purchase or avail of your service. A simple question asking them what they need can make a huge difference in your conversation.
8. Knowing the Product (is half the battle)
You can’t ultimately sell anything if you don’t know your product. You don’t have to have the detailed technical knowledge, but you have to know the basic features of the product you’re trying to sell. Customers won’t buy from you if they think you’re just bluffing about your product. Do your work, do your research.
Sometimes, all the product needs is a little creative marketing to sell. Think of the way you frame your sales tactic and try to think outside of the box. For example, if you’re assigned to sell pens, think of the different ways people could use it. Try and insert a funny anecdote about your product. The sky’s the limit.
10. Decision Making
Customer service also demands quick decision making, especially if you’re occupying a higher position. Should you offer the customer a discount? How should you deal with your irate client? All these matters need to be addressed quickly. Examine the way you make decisions and try to find room for improvement.
11. Quick Thinking
Decision making comes with the ability to think on your feet. It means that you should be prompt in responding to your customer’s inquiries and requests. Is there a way you can address this person’s needs quickly? How can you resolve the issue without escalating it? These are questions you’d have to answer within seconds.
Friendliness makes a successful customer service rep. Make sure to smile even when the person doesn’t see you – your smile will translate to your voice, and the other person will hear it.
Pro Tip: Put a small mirror on your table. Every time you receive a call, look in the mirror first, and smile. We guarantee a smooth, good conversation along the way!
13. Conflict Resolution
You will often get irate customers. Sometimes you’ll get two competing sides of the story. And maybe, you’ll be asked to address a quarrel between two employees. That’s part and parcel of being in the customer service industry. This skill shall be matched with patience, decision making, and open-mindedness.
When someone asks for your assistance, it helps to diffuse the situation by being empathetic. You might not be able to help your customers as much as you want, especially when the case is above your pay grade. But keep in mind that sometimes people just need a willing ear who’ll listen to them and their problems.
15. Going the extra mile
Always go the extra mile if you can. A customer will feel more valued if you go above and beyond for them, and they’re more likely to be appreciative of your work. You might even have fans telling your manager about your excellent skills!
16. Hunger for learning
Life is a continuous process of learning. Never think that you already know enough about a topic. Always be on the lookout for more information, skills, and tips that could help you. You never know when they might come handy.
17. Time management
Time is a precious thing, and your customers don’t want theirs wasted. The same goes for your pace. It’s best for all parties if you’re able to manage your time effectively. If you struggle with this, try coming up with schedules for problem areas in your time management.
Customer service is an interesting field of work, and you can get better at it if you want to. Many people have found excellent careers in this field. The customer service skills list that we provided in this guide will give you an edge over the others and improve your expertise. Perhaps the most important customer service skills for success are your speaking abilities, passion for learning, and patience. The rest will come from that. A good customer service representative is one who can address their customer’s needs effectively. Remember, always hunger for more learning.