Aymen Mazhar (October 31, 2016)
What makes your customer service great? For businesses, every customer service representative must specialize in certain soft skills to be able to cater to clients and improve the experience for them. These interpersonal skills such as communication, active listening, problem solving, patience, collaboration etc. will enable your CSRs to get insight on client needs, likes, dislikes and expectations, and being able to manage these expectations will help retain more customers. Train your customer service staff on the following four major soft skills, and witness positive change in the effectiveness of your customer support program.
The most important skill needed for customer service jobs which require you to be in touch with clients for most of the day is the ability to communicate effectively. If you are unable to hold a decent conversation with the right tone and the right words with customers, you will never be able to get them to make the purchase. A CSR should be both friendly and welcoming to retain the attention of clients and have enough knowledge to sell products and solve their problems. A CSR with effective communication skills will know exactly how to communicate with customers of different age groups and help them according to their needs.
If you’re not good at listening to your client, and really hearing what he/she has to say, what his/her problem is, understanding the urgency from the tone of their voice, and reading between the lines to understand their needs, chances are you won’t meet their service expectations. To become a good CSR, you have to be perceptive and emotionally intelligent, you should be able to listen to your clients when they discuss a problem with you, whether they are expressive, evasive about it, or outright loud. Depending on the tone and the words of your customer, you must be able to gauge the urgency of the situation and reassure them accordingly. For example, if a customer is explaining his/her problem to you, listen carefully, pay attention to details, note down the important points and give a gesture that you are all ears through your body language. A successful CSR is one who knows how to be a good listener and show empathy when needed.
Even the most successful businesses have to deal with complaints and unhappy customers at some point. One of the essential customer service skills that you must look for in the staff that you hire is the ability to implement a damage control plan immediately, the ability to evaluate and analyze a problem/issue and come up with instant and effective solutions. A good CSR will instantly sense the situation and the requirement to calm it down and act in that specific way to make sure problems are solved. For example, if a customer gets angry and starts yelling at a CSR, he/she should think about the best possible way to calm down that customer and offer an agreeable solution instantly. Another important factor when solving problems is time management, you must be able to think on your feet, and instantly come up with the most effective solution without taking too much time.
A successful customer service representative is one who has the ability to take on challenges and believes in constantly innovating service for clients. While following the traditional route of your business-client relationship is important, coming up with new ways of serving your clients is an essential skill to possess. Representatives must have a knack for taking initiative with customers, to take the first step towards them. Be proactive in your support; talk to them in-person, reach out to them over social media platforms and send them follow-up emails post-purchase to know if they are happy with the service offered. Your clients want to feel valued and having representatives onboard who have the skills to constantly take initiative with your clients, interact with them and direct the relationship with them will prove to be valuable for your business.
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