8 Essential Customer Service & Support Skills

Posted by Jacob Goodwin in Insights - Last updated

Providing outstanding customer service is a superpower.

Nothing can match a capacity to delight customers at every turn for having a positive impact both on your reputation and your revenue.

But having the perfect blend of customer service skills isn’t always easy.

And unearthing your secret sauce can be a challenge for many.

“It doesn’t matter how great your product is. If your service is poor, people will complain about it, and you’ll lose customers.”

Help Scout

Yet taking the time to both uncover and implement the winning customer service formula will be repaid time and again.

Why Does Customer Service Matter?

Customer experience has overtaken product and price as the defining competitive battleground.

Because of this new reality, a lack of customer service skills will see a business losing ground on the competition.

“86% of customers quit doing business with a company due to a bad experience.”

Oracle

Not only in the retention of long standing customers, but in the winning of new opportunities.

Customer service is no longer about the post sale alone.

From the first engagement onwards, customer service can define how your prospective clients feel about you.

Even the slightest slip up, or gap in your customer service skills, can see a red hot opportunity turn ice cold.

You simply cannot leave service to chance.

8 Essential Customer Service Skills

To avoid that terrifying reality, you need to ensure your teams are fully up to speed on the required customer service skills.

Here Anthill have picked out 8 which you can’t live without…

Problem Solving

A customer may present an issue, but the root cause could be totally different to what they believe it to be.

As such, it’s up to your customer service team to take the initiative, identify the problem and diagnose a solution.

Often, solving the problem itself is only half the job.

An outstanding customer service interaction will anticipate needs; going the extra mile to provide the solution and explain how this was achieved.

Doing so, can save both company time and customer stress down the line.

Patience

Patience is a virtue. And a critical customer service skill to boot.

99% of the time, customers who reach out to support are confused and frustrated. A short tone, or lack of empathy is doing nobody any favours.

Treating everyone with patience goes a long way in helping customers feel like you’re not only listening to their concerns, but have a solution in place to remove their frustrations.

Whilst speed is important in serving customers quickly, it shouldn’t be prioritised at the expense of each customer’s problems and needs.

Active Awareness

Listening is one of the most important customer service skills.

But only when done actively.

The ability to truly listen to customers is crucial.

You have to be attentive to pick up on what they are telling you without directly saying it.

Whether that means reading through the lines, being attentive to individual experiences or mindful of feedback after the interaction. Being present, and listening to the issue at hand, is vital.

Emotional Intelligence

Your best customer service employees are those who can gauge and adjust their approach to match how individual customers are feeling.

Whether that be mirroring enthusiasm during the sale or empathising when a project goes wrong.

They never take the issue personally, but ensure they know exactly where the other person is coming from and how to act accordingly.

Often that can involve holding your hands up to the mistake rather than getting defensive.

Emotional intelligence, and the ability to demonstrate sincere empathy is one of the must have customer service skills.

List Of 8 Essential Customer Service Skills

Communication

Communication works both ways.

Your team are the outward facing front of your company; requiring skills to engage with and relay vital information to customers.

Simultaneously, they must be able to initiate an internal feedback loop, sharing common issues and problems with the relevant teams to ensure improvements are made to eradicate future recurrences.

The ability to communicate clearly is a key customer service skill.

Miscommunication can result in disappointment and frustration, both internally and externally.

In this light, be it in store or online, communication must be simple and straightforward.

Consider who you’re talking to and adapt accordingly. Some people will want the jargon and deep technical insight where others won’t.

Effective customer service is able to respond to each desire in turn.

Positivity

There’s nothing more deflating for a customer than being greeted by grey clouds and downbeat employees.

And it certainly doesn’t inspire confidence that you can provide the solution they require.

Spoken and body language are a critical aspect of customer service for putting customers at ease.

There’s no room for negativity here. A positive outlook is infectious and can lift the mood of even the most frustrated customers.

Product Knowledge

Everything we’ve covered so far will lay a solid foundation for outstanding customer service skills.

But without the in depth knowledge to back it up, your chances of achieving a speedy resolution drop considerably.

The best customer service professionals have a deep knowledge of how their companies’ products work.

After all, without knowing your product from front to back, they won’t know how to help when customers run into problems.

Customer Focussed

Last but not least, a true customer service expert knows that it is not about them, but about the customer themselves. Everything should be performed with their needs as the priority.

Retaining this customer focus will not only result in happier customers, but a more efficient internal system as issues are solve with ease.

The customers must come first. This is never more true than for service and support.


Ready to explore how Anthill can elevate your customer service skills? Schedule a demo today.


Jacob Goodwin -

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