Importance of Persuasive Skills in Customer Service

“If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect.” –Benjamin Franklin

Does not this quote sum up what effective customer service is all about? Using persuasive skills while dealing with customers is to address their needs, wants and their emotional side in an attempt to keep them happy and gain profits for the company. It would be impossible to gain and retain customers if the customer service representatives were not mindful of what they said and how they said it. Customers would never be convinced if they felt that a company was using an authoritative demeanour with them. An interaction with customers at the first instant can never be about selling – the agents must use empathy and unrelenting persuasive skills to convince customers that an association would be in their best interest.

Persuasive skills in customer service are extremely vital and would have some crucial elements that would make or break the deal with a customer. In customer service persuasive skills let the agents hold their ground lending them leeway and credibility in the minds of customers. Being persuasive, not overbearing brings both parties to an area of agreement with ample proof that an association would be beneficial to both. Having persuasive skills in customer service also builds an emotional connect with customers since they are able to gauge sincerity and consistency in what is being said to them. Using the skills of persuasion is almost a form of art and requires a great deal of practice and unrelenting use. Even within a company, it is tough to get people to do anything simply because someone has ordered it. People need to be convinced adequately since not questioning authority is now a thing of the past. It is the age of information, communication via electronic devices and globalization and ideas are more easily available allowing for better decisions. This holds true for customers as well – they will not just accept what is being said without a basis. Persuasive skills in customer service help customers understand why they should make a decision and also answer the question ‘what’s in it for me’?

Persuasive skills are no longer just the need and domain of marketing or selling. These skills are no longer considered devious and avoidable but used right can build long term connections with customers which is what the customer service functions seeks to do. Persuasive skills in customer service are not about misleading a customer but about drawing their attention towards how useful a company and its offerings are currently to them and the purpose these will serve in the future too. By providing evidence of efficacy, an addressal of emotional needs and usefulness of having something a customer does not have but needs, is how persuasive skills in customer service work. When there is sufficient proof that the company can be of service to customers, the agents would be able to pass on that proof to the customers via persuasive skills and also provides the agents an opportunity to learn more about the customer and their needs. Persuasive skills in customer service is not to be construed as begging, cajoling or misleading customers but rather an attempt to be persistent in finding the most suitable emotional connect with a particular customer.
Perfecting or getting persuasive skills to reasonable level is not a sudden happening. These skills like all others take time to develop but prove to be extremely useful and powerful when used right. These skills help the customer service representatives to show customers how they can achieve certain goals and how the company being represented can help them to reach those goals sooner. Persuasive skills are about maintaining leadership while helping customers along the way and joining forces with them to persuade others to join too. Persuasive skills cannot be faked and only those with the right attitude and enthusiasm would be able to get customers to buy from the company. Unless you can get customers to have a shared understanding and agreement regarding the usefulness of an association, there can never be an outcome that is mutually advantageous. A company needs people with good persuasive skills in customer service if they wish to accomplish their objectives and reach solutions that are win-win for both parties.

There would seem to be a fine line between persuasion and badgering or being excessive. If so called persuasion begins to be a bother, customers can become resentful and move away permanently. Good persuasive skills will never let a discussion get to the stage of argument or the need to bend over backwards – they will lead to learning and healthy negotiation. Effective customer service is critical for any company’s success and is the basis for remaining in business and having sustained growth. Most customers now rely more and more on information they receive from word of mouth and sources other than what the company tells them. Persuasive skills in customer service can increase the positive word of mouth and increase the level of satisfaction that customers experience while dealing with the company. So how do companies and their customer service representatives effectively use these skills to build robust relationships with customers and increase the profitability of the company?

– By displaying empathy the customer service agent would find it easier to convince the customer to open up and share their needs and wants. The customers would be more amenable to discussing some past experiences that may not have been pleasant, providing insight for the agents on what should be avoided with a certain customer. When customers can perceive that the ‘listener’ is actually interested in what they need, there is a higher chance of building a strong and positive lasting relationship.

– All discussions must be focused on the customer and what they need. Persuasive skills in customer service allow the agents to understand that their opinions and expressions must only be given if and when a customer asks for it. The customers of today are highly intelligent, smart and extremely well-informed and hence are unlikely to be convinced easily. It will take the best of attitudes and highly developed persuasive skills to bring them round to your manner of thinking and be desirous of investing with your company.

– Persuasive skills in customer service will enable the agents to show the customer the value in the present of what is being offered. These skills will urge the customers to think beyond the problems faced in the past and look at how they can be sorted out and also prevent them from reoccurring through the offerings being presented to them. A persuasive customer service agent will present effective solutions that would benefit the customers promptly and address emotional needs as being currently experienced. There is no better way to convince customers than to show them the value and added value of the offerings and customer service they would receive.

– Customers are not interested or inclined to take out too much time or make too much effort to understand the offering, solution or suggestions being presented. They would be more easily persuaded by things that are simple and easily understood. Persuasive skills in customer service therefore would help to breakdown and simplify the merits of the association and the offerings being presented. Keeping it simple for the customers is the ideal way to convince them and reduce their effort to a minimal amount.

– The basis of persuasion would be repetition. Persuasive skills in customer service is about repeating the offer and suggestions to the customers time and again but making them sound interesting and intriguing each time. This does not mean that there is an attempt to fool customers but just an effective means to reiterate to them that the offering would be extremely useful for them.

Using persuasive skills in customer service can be a powerful and complex tool and must be handled with care lest it is misused. When used well it can get people together and allow them to work cohesively together to achieve goals. As said earlier, persuasive skills in customer service is an art requiring persistence, commitment and an enthusiastic approach to minimize eventualities and unforeseen fallouts in business.

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