7 Customer Service Skills That Every Employee Needs

Created: March 21st 2018 By: Chris Sinibaldi - SVP TechLink Services

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We all know that it’s important to treat customers well.

It’s essential for retaining them, but it’s also one of the easiest ways to keep your reputation from suffering unnecessarily. Thanks to social media, one bad experience can be shared with countless people within an hour.

Unfortunately, most customer service training focuses on little more than canned responses and advice for responding to common scenarios. Instead, they should focus on building the customer service skills that matter most.

The 7 Customer Service Skills That Matter Most

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It’s impossible to train your customer service team on how to handle every possible scenario. As we just touched on, though, all it takes is one unforeseen situation, and your company could end up on defense in the court of public opinion.

Instead, teach your people the following seven skills, and they’ll be ready to provide the best customer service experience possible, no matter what happens.

 

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1. Empathy

Without a doubt, empathy is essential in customer service. It’s the idea that you should wait and hear from your customer before you insist on them hearing from you.

We’ve all experienced a customer service representative who lacked this important skill. You begin to tell them what your problem is and they interrupt with the “solution.” Except it’s not the solution. They made an erroneous assumption, so now you need to start over.

It can also make all the difference to talk to someone who at least seems like they care about your problem.

That’s why, even when your representative can’t’ solve the problem right away, empathy is one of the customer service skills that matter the most. It shows the customer that your employee cares about their needs.

 

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2. Patience

Of course, that’s not to say it’s always easy being empathetic.

Some people have a way of testing your patience. When one of these people is a customer, there’s really not a whole lot you can do – that is, if you want to keep them as a customer.

This is when patience becomes vital. Whether it’s a customer who’s taking their time using the help desk (when you could be helping others) or someone is asking a question they should already know the answer to, representatives need to remain patient.

Patience offers a number of benefits, but one of the most important for a customer service representative is that it ensures they don’t miss anything.

The representative we referred to in the aforementioned scenario misses everything because they’re not patient enough to hear you out.

Stay calm, hear the person out, and provide them an answer that will bring the matter to a close.

 

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3. Customer-Friendly Communication Skills

Patience is a good start, but your representatives also need to know how to speak with customers.

Among other things, this means:

  • Being extremely polite
  • Avoiding any jargon they may not understand
  • Remaining positive

Most importantly, don’t “leave” the conversation until the customer is happy. If they’re communicating with you through a help desk portal, get their information so if you’re disconnected, you can reconnect with them and continue until they’re satisfied.

 

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4. Product Knowledge

People with the best customer service skills can sabotage themselves if they don’t understand everything about their own company’s products or services.

When a customer is in need of help, the last thing they want slowing their resolution is a representative who isn’t sure about what their employer does.

 

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5. Good Time Management

You never want to interrupt a customer, but you do want to keep in mind that you may have others waiting for help. Having good time management skills as a customer support representative means offering efficient solutions. You don’t want to rush a customer, but you also can’t afford to let the conversation take any longer than absolutely necessary.

 

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6. Good Stress Management

Customer service is full of challenges. As you’ve already seen, a lot goes into helping customers the right way.

This is why representatives who are good at managing stress do the best job. They may suffer the wrath of a particularly hostile customer, but that doesn’t affect how they treat the next one.

 

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7. Attention to Detail

It’s especially important when you’re helping customers with technical problems that you practice patience and empathy but also that you pay close attention to what they’re saying.

Technical problems need equally technical solutions, and you can only practice the latter if you pay close attention to the former. This attention to detail is also essential because not all customers will have your same level of acumen. They may think they’re describing their problem accurately, but in reality, they’ve mislabeled a central piece.

 

Add These Skills to Your Company’s Customer Service Training

Now that you know which skills are required to provide the best customer service experience possible, ensure your representatives are practicing them at all times. It doesn’t take years to embody them, but the benefits they offer your customer support team will directly benefit your company’s reputation and bottom line.

 

Author: Chris Sinibaldi - SVP TechLink Services

Senior Vice President and General Manager of Parts for Depot International, Chris Sinibaldi is a recognized industry expert in the distribution and remanufacturing of laser printer parts and certified pre-owned printers. Sinibaldi has been in the industry for nearly 20 years and is known for helping service organizations, copier resellers and dealers significantly grow their businesses.

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