There are certain skills that are essential for every customer service representative or else the business runs the risk of developing a reputation for poor service. Some people who are hired for customer care, naturally have the abilities and the personality which is required for this position while others have to be trained for it. There are some universally known skills that must be incorporated into the customer service team’s behavior in order to exponentially improve the quality of interactions with the customers and generate a better overall experience which is delivered by the company. Below is a list of six most-needed skills:
Patience To Listen
Customer service staff must be able to exhibit patience, as it is one of the most important traits for quality service and dealing with customers. Whether the conversation takes place face to face, over the phone or through an online channel, patience is the key. A customer might have several different questions which need to be answered. Similarly, if a customer is calling support when a technical problem has occurred, they might be feeling confused, frustrated or even angry. In such scenarios, it is a CSR’s responsibility to handle it aptly. Patience would enable the representative to truly figure out what the problem is, and then go about solving it.
Ability to Stay Focused
It is important to ‘Really’ listen to what the customer is saying. In order to understand the problem the customers might be facing, it is crucial that full attention is given to the client howsoever the correspondence or communication is taking place. Ideally, CSRs must be trained not to miss out on little details, since it could lead to frustration or annoyance. Customers can’t be expected to repeat themselves, especially the unique details such as customer ID number, reference numbers etc.
Regular training sessions should be held for the staff where exercises for staying focused and concentration are carried out.
In order to communicate effectively it is vital for representatives to communicate clearly. Time is also of essence, which means that when a customer approaches as CSR to get an issue resolved, it should be sorted out as soon as possible without any delays. Representatives who have a tendency to ramble on, make poor problem solvers. It is also important to stay focused on the point and not let the conversation deviate or drift.
CSR’s also need to be careful about the choice of words and how communication translates to customers. Some words, phrases or a particular tone maybe perceived as rude or condescending. Use the right words and be polite when communicating.
Ability to Use Positive Language
The kind of language a representative adopts in the conversation, impacts the impression created in the customer’s mind. Language is an important tool for persuasion, problem solving and getting the information across. It creates perceptions about the company, which is why CSR’s should be properly trained to use appropriate language in their conversations. Even small, subtle improvement in the choice of words can lead to a positive image of the company and a satisfying customer experience. For example, instead of saying “You can’t return this product without a receipt” or “We won’t exchange this without a receipt” instead say, “We will be happy to replace this product for you with the receipt” or “You can return this product with the receipt”.
Time Management Skills
A primary lesson taught to those providing customer care is, “Don’t Keep the Customer Waiting”. It is essential for customers to get what they want within the shortest possible time, without any delays. Hence, customer service staff must be able to efficiently manage time and provide service, without keeping the customer waiting. Helpline numbers often have long queues, which means a lot customers are waiting for their turn. CSRs should manage their time effectively and keep the discussion to the point. For example, not asking unnecessary questions or details which are not pertinent to the problem at hand will save a lot time and effort.
Ability to Understand Customers
Although many communication channels don’t offer face-to-face interaction, but customer service agents need to have the ability to read the customer’s emotional state. The ability to understand customers and act accordingly is an important component of offering personalized service, which in turn enhances the service experience. It is also important not to misinterpret what the customer is trying to say. Customer service agents must use subtle techniques to keep the mood and tone positive by picking up clues from the conversation.