10 ‘Must-have’ Skills for Being Awesome at Customer Service

Top_10_customer_service_skills
Top 10 Customer Service Skills

It takes time, training, practice and dedication to become a rockstar in customer service. But it doesn’t have to be that hard when you know where exactly to focus your efforts on. Here’s the list of 10 most-needed skills that matter and that everyone involved in customer service should master and use in their daily interactions with customers.

# 1 Effective Listening

Listening is the key to effective communication. Without the ability to listen carefully to what a customer is saying, a message could be easily misunderstood and misinterpreted. As a result, communication breaks down leaving a customer frustrated. Listening isn’t just about hearing. A good listener will not only listen to what is being said, but also what is left unsaid or partially said. Luckily, if your listening skills are weak, there are certain techniques for improving them.

# 2 Attentiveness

Attentiveness should run through every customer service experience – during the interaction and after it’s over. How often have you contacted customer service and been subjected to obviously scripted responses? Didn’t it give you the feeling that a customer service rep didn’t really pay attention to what you were saying and didn’t care about your problem? There’s nothing wrong with using canned responses, as long as they are personalized, used wisely and appropriately to the situation. That’s why attentiveness is crucial.

# 3 Patience

We all perfectly know it, customer service might be a stressful and challenging job when we have to deal with confused, frustrated and angry customers. In such situations patience is a real virtue and the way you respond to those customers will either calm them down or hype them up. The good news is that learning to be always patient with customers is as easy as learning to separate your feelings from the situation and understand that in most cases a customer is upset with something that has nothing to do with you personally.

# 4 Self-control

Maintaining self-control is paramount in customer service. Apart from the the ability to handle surprises and deal with angry customers without losing your cool, it also goes to treating each customer interaction separately regardless of how bad the previous one was. You just need to always keep in mind that each new customer presents a completely new issue and that the frustrated customer from the previous call bears no relation to the next customer waiting to be taken care of.

# 5 Clear communication skills

If you are not a great communicator, you will probably not go far in customer service. An ability to communicate clearly and effectively verbally (no mumbling) and written (strong typing, spelling and grammar skills) is essential. It also involves avoiding miscommunications that might lead to misunderstandings and unwanted consequences. Especially when it comes to important points, you need to communicate things clearly, simply and leave nothing to doubt.

# 6 Ability to use ‘positive language’

The way you express yourself will affect whether your message is perceived positively or negatively. That is especially the case in Live Chats. When talking to your customers face-to-face or over the phone, body language, face expressions and tone of voice convey far more than the meaning of the words, while in Live Chat conversations words are all you have to convey the message. That’s why your ability to use ‘positive language’ and avoid negative phrases will more likely leave your customers feeling satisfied.

# 7 Persuasive speaking skills

Being a persuasive speaker can dramatically improve your customer interactions. The secret of persuasive speaking is putting the verbal focus on the target of persuasion (the customer), rather than on the speaker. In practice, it means calling a customer by name, using action-oriented words, the active tense in words or phrases instead of the passive tense and avoiding prefacing statements (like ‘I think’ or ‘I believe’) that express your personal thoughts or opinions. Putting your customers at the center will make them feel more respected and appreciated.

# 8 Time management

Are you able to manage your working time efficiently? Effective time management includes smart planning, setting goals and priorities, minimizing interruptions, handling procrastination and delegating responsibilities. The last one should be applied in the situations when you simply cannot help a customer, whether it’s because you don’t know how or you’re not authorized to do it. That’s when the best thing you can do is to pass a customer over to someone who can help them, without wasting both of your time.

# 9 Taking responsibility

When things go wrong, customers expect you to take responsibility for the problems or negative experiences they are having with your company, products or services. It starts first of all with being able to sincerely apologize to a customer on behalf of your company, even when a problem or a situation that caused customer’s frustration was not your fault at all. It also means your readiness to do whatever it takes to make sure the issue gets fixed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

# 10 Willingness to improve

It might sound too ‘general’ as compared to other skills on the list, but it’s still absolutely necessary. In customer service, there’s always room for improvement and it always pays to invest in yourself. If you’re not seeking to get better at what you’re doing, you might end up being left behind by those willing to invest in their skills and self-improvement.

Which skills do you think should be be added to the list? As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Provide Support is a leading software provider in customer service, offering live online chat and real-time visitor monitoring tool for businesses. Visit our main site to learn more: www.ProvideSupport.com

Mary Shulzhenko
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Mary Shulzhenko

Assistant Marketing Director at Provide Support, LLC
Mary is an Assistant Marketing Director at Provide Support, LLC. She is a writer and blogger on customer service, customer support and customer experience.
Mary Shulzhenko
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19 thoughts on “10 ‘Must-have’ Skills for Being Awesome at Customer Service

  1. I agree that there is always room for improvement. No matter how superior you think your customer service already is, there’s always aspects of your service that you can do better. The key to displaying superior customer service is actually found in the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you want others to do unto you. Always try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and think about how you would want to be treated.

    1. Thanks Ian, that is truly the Golden Rule in customer service that everyone should remember when interacting with their customers.

  2. Very Nicely Listed all the important skills . I have been in Hospitality Training Since last 20 Years and have trained More than 3000 Participants . I feel Under present scenario Multitasking is yet another Important skill that must be added.

  3. I think one of the most important things we can do to the list is to add in our own unique personality, I believe we should shine on our with our natural charm and not become too robotic when dealing with guests, I feel this puts myself and the customer at ease if I dont seem like I’m practicing text book training. I love to add in a level of professionalism but keep myself not too distant from a more personalised and natural care.

  4. #1 is knowledge of the subject. In the insurance world, agents may think they are doing a good job of servicing and protecting their policyholder clients. However, with better knowledge they may actually do a much better job.

    1. Thanks Antone. Knowledge of the subject, product or service is no doubt number one, though I consider it more as technical skills, while those listed in the article are soft skills which are extremely important too.

  5. As customer service ,Yes ,this skills both is very important during working as customer service,Especially be paintently ,i always happend such kind of situation,Some customer when he is angery ,you need to stand out of the situation ,do not rush the customer opion,agree and persuade the customer to know what is the problem and why will be this results.
    Thanks for your share.

  6. I have found that having all of these skills are often after a few years at learning your trade. In the first years of my career, I am very certain that I did not meet the the standards of the ‘must haves’, Now after a solid career in the Customer Care arena, I find that I have the skills and try to pass on my experience to the next generation.

  7. All the skills shared so far are must needed. One of the basic is ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. Acknowledging and following customer help you to build a rapport with the customer at the same time customer will feel they are chatting with a human and not a bot. In addition to it I feel buttering a customer should be avoided instead focus should be on resolving customer’s issue. We should not forget that ultimately customer reaches us with an expectation that we will be resolving their concerns. Thanks a bunch for the post and sharing skills.!

  8. Great list, Mary. These are not only skills that work towards improving customer experience, but I think the 10 skills you listed are also staples of success. Most people work in a field that requires human interaction and the necessity to work with others to accomplish the tasks at hand. These skills, if learned and utilized, will allow anyone to do that successfully and be a good leader.

  9. Mary,

    it actually takes time to get to the point, where understanding customers needs comes easily or even better naturally. Some people have more empathy and they are naturally better suited for customer service jobs than other people.

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