Must Have Skills for Customer Service Staff

It is common knowledge and evident that customers will not settle for anything but the best when it narrows down to Customer Service. The set of’ must have’ skills for Customer Service staff is now common knowledge for the more aware customers. Without the requisite skills you are certain to find your business heading south since your customer service will continually create embarrassing situations for you. The saving grace however seems to be that there are some overriding skills for these teams that cut across industries. Your customer service team should understand that they perform a critical to success function. You as a company need to show them that they are valued so that they perform even better. Customer Service is nothing more than being customer centric, being able to put yourself in their shoes and serving them in the way you would expect to be served.

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The ‘must have’ skills Customer Service Staff include a mix of personal characteristics and core service skills. People responsible for hiring must hire staff that has the basic personal characteristics. This will make it easier to train and mould them. Wow and excite your customers by mastering these basic skills:

– With the ever increasing demanding customers, it would be most imperative and prudent to be patient. It must be a personal trait and also reinforced through pertinent training programs – it is absolutely one of the top requirements. Impatient and irate customers are unlikely to be satisfied with the irritated and impatient tone of the customer service person. They want support and someone who will take the time to listen. Without patience, your staff is unlikely to be able to sit through a complicated query or the barrage of complaints, much less want to do anything about it. Customers would rather they experienced great service rather than seemingly fast but shoddy service.

– Patience leads your staff to being truly attentive. ‘Really’ listening is vital to be able to know what your customer needs. If a customer is asking you a variety of questions on a particular product, what you should be picking up as the front end staff is that either the product is too complicated or the manual guide is not lucid enough. Picking up on the unsaid, is one of the must have skills for customer service staff.

– Constantly keeping updated on the product or service being offered. Unless your customer service staff have mastered product knowledge, it would be very difficult to convince the customer of the value of it. Train and empower your customer service staff to be proficient and knowledgeable with regard to your company and the brand.

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– Product knowledge would be wasted if your customer service staff is not adept at perspicuous and unambiguous communication. They should be able to keep communication simple and spell out their response to customer queries. It would help to speak clearly and make sure that they convey their understanding of the customer issue so that there is no room for doubt. Keeping in mind paucity of time, they must get to the root of the problem quickly without indulging in frivolous conversation – the customer is not calling you to discuss his or her personal life or to hear about yours.

– Great communication is also being able to use the right words and affirmative language. All people form perceptions based on the language that is used. If your customer service staff repeatedly apologizes for inconvenience but does nothing to offer a solution, you can be certain that even the best communicators will fail. However, if the customer service staff adds a positive tone, for example, if the product ordered by a customer is unavailable, it would be great customer service to give them the exact timeline and reassure them that the product will be delivered to them.

– Knowing how to use theatrics will hold your customer staff in good stead. Let’s face it situations will very often be outside of the staff’s control. Customers may call in an angry frame of mind simply because they have had a lousy day and this could potentially upset the normal support routine. Every customer service team member must know the basics of theatrics to be able to keep an outward calm in spite of being subject to unfair behaviour. This serves to keep a balance and ultimately calm the customer.

– Serving your customers well does not necessarily mean that your customer service staff spends more time on each than is legitimately required. Your customer service staff must be trained to master time management. Dealing effectively and efficiently with a customer query and managing the need is very crucial. It is necessary for the staff to know when they should let go and inform their customer that the need or query being presented would need some time to be sorted out. There is no point trying to extend oneself when it will yield no result. As a matter of fact, the customer will be even more frustrated if the staff spends time ‘showing’ that they can sort out the problem, when actually there is no immediate solution.

– Truly knowing your customers will help your customer service staff to create personal experiences and interactions for your customers. Having customer history and records, knowing some personal information and calling them by name will pave a smooth path towards having satisfied customers. The ability to really know and understand the individual customer is certainly a must have skill for the customer service staff. Every customer interaction will be positive and happier.

– When customers call or reach out to you to report a problem, your customer service staff would do well to understand that at that moment the problem is the customer’s world. He or she probably sees the problem as way bigger than it is, simply because he or she is unable to do anything about it. This situation requires the customer service staff to act as anchors, to be serene and soothing – both through tone and words used. Ask any customer, they will tell you that this is a highly appreciated skill.

– Pertinent and consistent training in all aspects of customer service and managing crisis situations would help your customer service staff to develop the must have skill of being able handle the unexpected. Customers have access to all kinds of information now and so it is not entirely improbable that they would approach your customer team with queries or issues that could most certainly be beyond what the team is aware of. If your customer service team has the skill of managing such ‘bouncers’ by remaining calm and thinking on their feet, you will have a much happier customer on your hands. Creating spot solutions would be a hallmark of great customer service.

– If your customer service team is proficient at knowing how to change a maybe in to a yes, you can be sure that your sales and profits will sky-rocket. Knowing how to persuade and negotiate, without being annoying, helps your customer service team to get customers to make an informed decision and translate their query in to an actual buy.

– A good customer service staff member must have what it takes to be willing to go over and above the call of duty if they can solve a customer’s problem. The determination and firmness of purpose in giving the best customer service possible will help your company make giant leaps towards customer satisfaction and loyalty. This is the kind of customer service that is talked about with gusto and enthusiasm and spreads fast among all circles. Your customers deserve respect and the best possible service that you can provide – putting in extra through sheer tenacity will show them this respect and get the customer to trust you long term.

Great customer service is all about building relationships leading to customer loyalty. It has advantages for everyone involved including the customer since their business needs are met through efficient service. For a company it means growth and sustained success. Consciously work towards developing the must have skills for your customer service staff to keep your company in the best of ‘health’. For we all know that those who don’t aim to better their service and instil the must have skills in their customer service staff, will be left behind. Way behind.

“Customer is the new emperor. Either you give him what he desires or you are banished from his kingdom.” -Y. Hossen

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