A customer service representative might not be immediately good at his job, especially when he has no previous experience dealing with customers. It’s a good thing that customer service skills can be developed, with proper training and guidance you can have an outstanding customer service team that you’ll be proud of.
When conducting training for your team, here are 10 essential skills that they should learn to become successful in their role
1. Be Attentive
To know the real concern of a customer, a representative should have the ability to truly listen. This can only be done by paying attention. Some customers don’t say their problems outright so a rep should be able to pick up on what they are telling without directly saying it.
For example, a client may say, “Your website design is confusing,” instead of asking for help to find a certain feature, like the search tab.
Keep their feedback into consideration but by asking the right questions you would able to give the assistance that they need.
Patience is one of the most crucial skills that a customer service professional needs. It is not uncommon to encounter customers who feel overwhelmed and confused. Customers need your support rep to be patient to alleviate their frustration.
There is a tendency for customers to lay all their frustrations on the customer service representative. A good rep should not take this personally, instead he should listen to the grievances of the customer, take the time to listen and fully understand why the customer is acting that way.
When customers feel that they are being listened to, not only will the rep be able to address their concerns, the good service of the rep will also be instrumental in building a good relationship between customers and the company.
3. Communicate clearly
Miscommunication can be a big problem that is why it’s important to be mindful of how some of your communication habits translate to customers. Err on the side of caution whenever you find yourself uncertain about a situation.
It is best to uncomplicate how you explain things to customers and make sure that they understood your explanation before you end your conversation with them. You can do this by a quick summary of the problem and the suggested solution or by asking them if they have any more questions regarding their concern.
4. Become knowledgeable of the product
It is imperative for a customer service professional to understand how their company’s product or service works. It would be difficult to give assistance on something that you know nothing about. Knowing a product inside and out will help reps address customer issues when they run into problems.
When customers are assisted to navigate the most complex situations, they become your company’s strongest advocate.
5. Using positive language
Language is a crucial part of persuasion and as a representative of the company, your message will affect how customers view the company’s reputation. Your language can be a basis of people’s perception of you and the company you represent.
It isn’t just the tone of your voice that can express the cheerfulness or positivity of your message. Your choice of words, how you phrase them, can also matter significantly.
Here’s a difference between a message with and without a positive message:
Without positive language: “I’m sorry but the perfume you are looking for is out of stock. It is backordered and will be available next month.”
With positive language: “I’m sorry but the perfume you are looking for is currently out of stock however I can place the order for you right now and once we have it in our warehouse, we’ll make sure to deliver it to you.”
None of those messages are negative per se, but with a few adjustments, you were able to provide a solution for what the clients is looking for.
6. Time management skills
As mentioned before, it is important to be patient and spend some time listening to what the customer’s concern really is, however, spending too much time talking, can be wasteful not only of your time but also the customer’s.
While it is encouraged to be patient, it is also imperative to be efficient, especially when you have more than one inquiry lined up.
There might be times when a customer asks you a question that you do not know the answer to even after searching for it in your databases, it is better if you escalate the call to someone more knowledgeable about the issue on hand. You might end wasting a lot of time that you could’ve used to assist other customers who also have concerns.
7. Ability to handle surprises
We know that in life everything does not always go according to plan. Same goes for customer service-related problems, sometimes you get surprised with questions or issues that you have no answer to.
Keeping calm and having your wits about is the best way to deal with situation like these. Accept that you are not all-knowing and that from time to time you really have to ask for assistance from others.
While this is probably the most general skill on this list, being able to handle surprises is one of the most important. After all, eagerness to learn is the basis for growing your skills as a customer service professional.
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