16 Customer Service Skills that Every Employee Needs

customer service cultureWorking with customers on a day to day basis means that you have to not only stay on your game every single day but also step it up a notch on a regular basis. At the same time, any front-line employee needs to have a particular skill set that will help them do their job better.

Customer service is an integral part of your business; the customers’ experience with your employees can either ensure a sale is made or on the other hand even cause a customer to walk away.

An essential skill set needed for an individual to thrive in the customer service department is that they need to be a peoples person. They should love to talk and always be in the limelight. However, this is usually a very vague description, and most companies are unaware of what kind of people to choose. To make this choice easier for you, we have included the 16 basic customer service skills that every employee who is in touch with your customer needs to have.

Patience

This is a skill set that has to always be at the top, not only is it essential to have it with the customers who reach out in the case of a problem but also for the business as a whole. Customers usually come to customer support when they are frustrated or stumped and do not know what to do. To you, the solution may look simple or logical, but they do not know the product as well and need you to take the time to explain it to them.

Attentiveness

It is crucial that your employees really listen to what the customer has to say so that they can learn what the problem is and find a suitable solution for the same. While it is essential to hear what the customer is telling you also need to be attentive enough to notice the underlying reasons for that problem.

Clear communication skills

The employee is your front line when it comes to the customer; they are their first point of contact. Having clear communication skills and a good grasp on language can help your employees put the message across to your customers more efficiently. Most of the times a simple miscommunication can cause a customer to leave and never come back. A proper customer service training for this should be given.

Product knowledge

This is another primary skill needed for your customer service representative. The customer will come to them when they do not understand the product with this knowledge the employee may be able to help the customer with their problem.

Use positive language

It is very easy to go back into the habit and use a lot of negativity while talking. However, a small change in the style can not only help your customer but also allow them to leave feeling better than they did when they came in.

Acting skills

Although there are times when dealing with a customer can be easy, and you are allowed to be yourself. But at other times when the employee has to deal with a difficult customer, their acting skills are the only thing that will enable them to look like their usual cheery selves.

Time Management skills

The employees’ job is to solve your customers’ problems most quickly and effectively possible. If you do not have the knowledge to solve the given problem you need to know when is the right time to stop and direct them to someone who can.

The ability to read a customer

You may not be able to see your customer most of the time, nowadays even hearing the customers voice is a rarity. At times like this reading, the customers’ mood is a challenge. The employee needs to look for subtle clues as to the patience level and the mood of the customers.

A calming presence

When your customers come to you, they are usually in a frantic state. When the employee portrays a calming presence, it can extend to your customers too, and it can calm them.

Goal oriented focus

It is easy to go off path and talk about something that will not necessarily fix the problem at hand. Your employees need to maintain their focus and ensure that they do everything they can to reach the goal.

Ability to handle a surprise

There are times when the customer service world will throw a curveball your way. You need to be ready and be able to take it as it comes. Getting flustered at the first sign of a surprise will not be a good trait to have if the employee is working in customer service.

Persuasion skills

Some time out of the blue an email may come through to customer service not with a problem but with a curiosity about the product. At this time your customer service executives should be able to convince the potential buyer and pitch the product.

Tenacity

Your employees need to have the ability to do what it takes to help your customers. The customer should leave the interaction happier and satisfied.

Closing ability

Unlike that in sales, the employee needs to be able to end the conversation with the customer on a positive note and leave the customer feeling like everything has been well taken care of.

Empathy

This is more of a character than skill, but the employee needs to be able to relate to your customers and know how they feel.

Willingness to learn

Customer service is all about staying up to date; it can be either with the trends of the industry or any updates in the product.

The best way to improve customer service is by ensuring that your employees understand what the customer needs and also have the required tools to solve the problem.