Key Employee Skills to Look for in the Year 2020

There are several factors that influence one’s professional growth, but none as directly as an individual’s customer service skills. This particular skill set is among the most desirable ‘Employee Skills’ that businesses are looking for while hiring in the coming years. A few common examples of preferable soft skills are leadership, communication skills, empathy, problem-solving, critical thinking, and more. While all the soft skills are intangible they definitely can be observed. With an employee well-versed in key employee skills, a customer’s experience is more likely to be more sincere and authentic.

Soft Skills in the Classroom
Soft Skills

Critics of workforce development programs wonder why these essential soft skills have not been taught outside the workplace – such as a college or university. The issue is a lack of knowledge transfer about such skills at the higher educational institutions. Introductory classes are often limited to business or marketing majors, while ideally, all majors should have equal exposure to these key soft skills. Businesses can play an important role in exposing graduating seniors to crucial soft skills. They can partner with local educational institutes to sponsor skill enhancement programs for their potential employees.

Employee Skills & Workplace of the Future
Employee Skills

Organisations are on the lookout for employees who can thrive in the workplace of the future. For the unacquainted, ‘workplace of the future’ is one that provides opportunities to work with artificial intelligence (AI), data, and other evolving technologies. As such, it is important to have employees trained to excel in both soft skills, such as emotional intelligence and communication, as well as a basic understanding of AI.

Doing so will enable the workers of today to work more effectively with the people and technology of the near future.

Employees’ Product and Service Knowledge
Product and Service Knowledge

There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than a salesperson struggling to ring up a sale or unable to properly demonstrate the company’s latest product. Every single employee in a customer-facing role must have a comprehensive understanding of the company’s products and services. Team leads should take the initiative, when necessary, to keep their team members updated about the same. Soft skills are like a muscle; flexible and open to improvement, provided the professional chooses to prioritize them. As such, it is important to evaluate your employees and their customer service skills. With the help of experts who facilitate customer service training programs, you can give your employees the edge they need to surpass the competition.

Finding the Diamond In the Rough
Finding the Diamond

The responsibility of availing on-the-job learning opportunities falls on both the managers and the individual employees. As a manager, one should pay attention to proactive and empathetic workers; those individuals who are ready and willing to troubleshoot while providing core services or products. If a passionate person is selling the product, the customer is likely to be equally enthusiastic. A team lead or supervisor who stays ahead of the market and learns about the trends that affect their job, or how to better it, is also an ideal employee.

The previously-mentioned soft skills might qualify for the current workplace ecosystem, however, we must keep in mind that like technology, customer service skills are, too, dynamic and ever-evolving. The future of these skills could include working in synchronicity with AI, emotional intelligence, and many other emerging practices.

Customer Experience & You: 3 Steps to Better Service

No matter the industry, all companies must win the customer’s favor to secure their repeat business. This critical moment often occurs after a purchase or service has taken place.  A number of challenges faced while striving for customer loyalty are directly connected to customer service quality. Whether an employee is having a bad day or the software has a glitch, the task remains to deliver an optimal experience at every possible customer touch point. A positive customer experience (CX) is a lot like flying first class – the customer should feel that the organisation and its representatives are attentive, reliable, and efficient at all times.

These are three essential steps required for creating a seamless customer experience: 

#1.Customer-Centric Skills Enhancement Sessions
Customer Skills Enhancement

One way an organisation can encourage positive customer experiences is by focusing on their employees. More specifically, they can design or commission custom-tailored soft skills training sessions that encourage better communication with the customer or client. Supervisors are best equipped to introduce soft skills training into their particular team or department. Two of these basic skills include the following:

?     Communication: It is vital to communicate with customers clearly and effectively.  Training sessions focused on evaluating and improving existing communication skills are a valuable investment- whether an employee has a customer-facing role or not.

?     Conflict Resolution: Customer service experts recommend role-playing activities to help employees rehearse complex scenarios. The goal is to maintain composure while interacting with an upset customer and diffuse the situation in a satisfactory manner.

#2.Responsible Reputation Management
Customer-Centric Skills Enhancement                                                   

Ever consider what importance social media has in the success of a modern-day organisation? It is often the first resource through which potential customers or clients hear about a company’s offerings. Make sure that there is always crystal-clear and transparent two-way communication going on between the social media team members and all the other relevant employees. The aim of social media is to keep customers in the loop with the latest products and services at a company. Well-planned social media management paired with thoroughly researched reputation management strategies will prevent serious damage – be it due to a faulty product or a costly oversight by a team member.

#3.  Employee Engagement Program
Employee Engagement Program

It is no secret that engaged employees make for better customer experiences. Achieving optimal employee engagement, however, requires careful planning by the team leads. The organisation’s core purpose and goals must be successfully communicated and understood by its employees.  Once that is accomplished, employees are more likely to be emotionally committed and focused on fulfilling their company’s goals. They will put in the time and effort to deliver satisfactory customer experiences – because they truly care about the outcome. As a manager, one can roll out a customised employee engagement program which includes:

?     Recognising employees’ achievements like external certifications, breaking a customer service record, or gaining a ‘kudos’ from a pleased client, and

?     Supporting on-the-job learning by sponsoring professional development courses, either completely or by a significant percentage. (These courses can be in the form of traditional, evenings or weekends-based workshops or online sessions.)

There are a plethora of soft skills that can be taught with specialised training sessions.  It’s best to hold these sessions every quarter or annually, depending on your company’s specific requirements. Eventually, adopting this new strategy will encourage more recurring customers, as the customer will is bound to remember a good experience and associate it with the brand. The objective must be to deliver a hassle-free experience to every single customer.