What makes customer service champions? Customer service skills.
73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal because of friendly customer service reps.
Customer service can be a great way to distinguish your business from your competitors, provided that your teams know what they’re doing.
Call center agents are on the front lines of customer service, committed with the demanding task of pleasing and appeasing customers. With a variable number of situations that may arise in customer service, agents need to be versatile and equipped with a strong skill set to handle the complexity of the job. Here are a few customer service skills agents should master to deliver the very best service.
Customers may be frustrated when they make contact, so patience is certainly a virtue every agent needs to have. Agents should give customers a chance to explain their situation in full and never react negatively to an unhappy customer. When customers need a technical explanation for an issue, agents should also put customers at ease by explaining a solution calmly and patiently while remembering that customers do not always possess the technical knowledge needed to resolve an issue.
Timeliness is crucial in customer service. Agents should be prompt in responding to inquiries and prepared to switch to another channel if a case needs more attention. Deliveries and additional tasks should be handled quickly, while brands should provide customers options such as callbacks to further ensure efficiency.
Agents need to discover a balance between giving thorough answers, using a professional vocabulary, and being conversational and approachable all at the same time. It’s no easy job, but agents should aim to keep their exchanges concise and relevant and resist the urge to overdo small talk. Customers do need that human touch, and it’s always important to make introductions at the outset. However, always remember that they value their time, so communication should be to the point.
Empathy is among the most significant customer service skills. A frustrated customer needs attention and assurance, but even satisfied customers need attention. For instance, simply acknowledging concern for quick delivery and relevant promotional offers shows consideration and respect for customers.
Among the primary customer service skills is simply possessing the knowledge to discuss products and services. Agents need to receive thorough training to better understand what the company offers, and they should be updated regularly on important events such as recalls and promotional sales. Besides, agents need to be trained to use call center technology properly, such as Knowledge Management Softwares to deliver service with full confidence.
No matter how upset a customer might be, agents must keep a positive attitude. Using positive language that reflects confidence in finding a solution will assure a customer and encourage sustained loyalty in the brand.
If a customer wishes to explain a situation in detail, agents need to be willing to listen. Besides, customers may not necessarily accept the solutions an agent has to offer, so attentive listening is important in showing respect for customer opinions and offering them the best eventual solution.
During customer service each interaction, agents must be organized in every moment to deliver timely service. This means being able to navigate efficiently between different windows in a CRM database as well as switching channels when necessary.
Of the most inherent customer service skills, adaptability to changing situations is vital. Agents need to be ready to handle varying customer demands, possible technical issues, switching to other channels, and the like. One service interaction may completely differ from another, so a readiness to go with the flow and adapt as needed is an important skill to master.
Customers appreciate great service, but they love a gesture that shows real appreciation for their business. Agents who go the extra mile often win over customers. Such gestures might include expediting a delivery free of charge to rectify a billing error, connecting to another department or channel for better service, offering a courtesy voucher for an issue, or simply asking all the right questions to give a customer a thorough, exceptional experience.
70% of the customer’s journey is based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
We know that nothing impresses a customer more than when someone goes over and beyond the “call of duty” but have you set the expectation for the customer? Let a customer know what you are willing to do for them, what service you will provide to them. If you set the expectation and then exceed those expectations, you’ll have a customer for life. “Under-promise and over-deliver.” If you are on the same page with this philosophy, you’ll never go wrong.
Customers want to be heard. They want to know you are listening. They want to know that you have an interest in what they have to say. If they are shopping they may ask you for information or advice, use that time to direct them to the right product or service. If they are upset, use active listening to let them know that you hear them and work to discover the root of the problem. Ask questions, get to the depth, and provide resolutions.
Define your service standards, make sure every employee is aware of those standards. Having a clear document that explains acceptable standards will help in setting the customer’s expectation and they will help in measuring your employees and create training programs to help them to excel. You can’t measure or enforce what your employees don’t understand.
Happy agents mean happy customers. The attitudes and behaviors of your agents will determine your customer service and satisfaction. Employees should be put first ahead of customers. When your employees are happy they will look forward to work because they are valued and appreciated. If we first treat employees like our customers the employee wins, the customer wins, and the business wins.
Creating touchpoints beyond an interaction shows your customer that you care. Follow-up with them, thank them for their business. There are so many businesses that forget this step that if you remember it, you will stand out from the crowd. This outreach will show that you care about their satisfaction and encourage them to not only tell others about your business but also inspire them to purchase from you. Meaning? Greater customer retention.
When customer’s know they’re valued, you know you have their loyalty.
Use follow-ups to thank them for their business, share with them your menu of services, and encourage add-on purchases, or upsells.
It’s important to make sure that your customer service team has the right skills for managing customers’ needs. No CRM software or level of automation can compensate for shortcomings in this area. Let’s find out some methods to strengthen your customer service skills.
Some customers will be irate. Others will be full of questions. And others will just be chatty. You must know how to handle all of them and provide the same level of service every time.
Every customer is different, and some may even seem to change week-to-week. You should be able to handle surprises, sense the customer’s mood, and adapt accordingly. This also includes a willingness to learn. Providing good customer service is a continuous learning process.
Ensure you convey to customers exactly what you mean. You don’t want your customer to think he’s not getting full service from your end. Use authentically positive language, stay cheerful no matter what, and never end a conversation without confirming the customer is satisfied.
Customers appreciate agents, who will see their problem through to its resolution. At the same time, you must have good time management skills and not spend too much time handling one customer while others are waiting. Stay focused on your goals to achieve the right balance.
The customers are always right. The ability to swallow one’s pride and accept blame or negative feedback is crucial. Whether your team works directly with customers or looking for feedback on social media, they’ve got to keep the customer’s happiness in mind.
Make an effort to get closer both to your customers and your agents. Not only will you discover touchpoints and skills that need improvement, but your customers will see that are dedicated to providing top-notch, proactive customer service. Customer service skills should be continuously learned and refined to deliver the best customer experiences. A combination of training and motivation to learn such skills enables agents to deliver the best service for long-term brand loyalty. As a business owner, it is crucial to take every advantage to outsmart your competitor, and understanding and building upon your customer knowledge and relationship will put you ahead of the game.