Customer service is one of the most important
fields in today's world. Companies and organizations of all
kinds have to make sure that the people they serve are well
taken care of today because consumers have high expectations due
to global commercial culture's insistence on customer care.
This means that those who are planning to train for positions in
this field will need sharp customer service skills to get their
For those who put in the time and effort to train for these
positions, the rewards can be good pay and job security, as well
as low physical on the job stress and next to no chance of
injury in the work place.
Let's take a look at the most valuable customer service skills
so that you can decide which you will need to work on. Remember,
even for veterans in this industry, brushing up on skills is
always going to be a smart idea.
1. The Ability to Listen Closely to Customers
This is the number one skill because, in essence, this is what
the job itself is all about. All other customer service skills
pale in comparison to this particular one because if a customer
service rep is not listening to the customer they are never
going to be able to provide good service. Not only do you need
to be able to hear what they are telling you in terms of sheer
data, you need to be able to try to understand what they mean by
what they are saying. This is one of those customer service
skills that is most often polished over an entire career, but it
begins with a willingness to listen and listen closely.
2. Clear Verbal Communication
Aside from being able to listen, you also need to be able to
communicate verbally with the customer. While written
communication is another of the customer service skills you'll
want to master, it is verbal communication that is most often
used in today's call centers. The purpose of this kind of
communication is to not just repeat a spiel or information to
the customer, but to make sure that they understood what you
said. You will need proper speaking skills, good grammar and the
ability to choose the right mode of speaking for the person on
the other end of the line or across the counter from you.
3. Ability to Empathize
This is an ability that will most likely be honed over time and
it is one of the customer service skills that can actually erode
for some who have been in this industry for a while. You need to
be able to listen and actually involve yourself in what the
customer is telling you about their situation. If you are only
following policy and not listening, you may miss important
special considerations that need to be taken into account in
order for customer service to be kept at a high quality level.
Empathy is sensing and understanding the emotions of others and
of all the customer service skills, some will argue that this is
most important. Those who are good at empathy can often win the
trust of even the most dissatisfied customers because those
customers will feel they have someone on their side at last.
4. Data Entry and Basic Computer Skills
Most of your other skills are about dealing with people, but
some customer service skills are about things you need to do for
the company. In nearly all cases, you will be working with some
sort of computer program that needs you to record data about
your call. It is important that you can type quickly so that
customers do not have to wait and that you understand the basics
of using a computer and software so that you can properly
perform your job.
5. Understanding Human Psychology
While everyone is certainly different, there are commonalities
among us as human beings. For those who take the time to study
at least some basic psychology, the job of helping people over
the phone is much easier to do. This can often help you defuse
tense situations and anticipate what a customer wants before he
or she verbalizes it. This is one skill that can impress
customers and your superiors alike.
6. Basic Acting Skills
The fact is, sometimes in order to maintain professionalism you
are going to have to put on a mask of friendliness and concern.
This does not mean you are attempting to deceive anyone for a
nefarious purpose, but it is important to know how to do. Even
if a customer is irritating you, it is not appropriate to act
irritated. Basic acting can help you present certain information
in a more cheerful and upbeat tone, make sure your body language
and facial expressions convey what you mean to say and generally
help you get into the mindset you must be in so that you can do
your job well.
7. Ability to Memorize Protocol and Guidelines
Most customer service positions are within companies that have
official ways of handling calls. You will need to be able to not
just look over the rules, but actually internalize them. You
need to understand the guidelines and then use them the way they
are intended. Those who follow the rules best usually end up
working at a company the longest.
8. Time Management Skills
No one appreciates those that waste time. This is a skill you
need for nearly any job, but in customer service those who waste
time keep customers waiting. That's not very good service.
9. Management of Personal Emotions
While you can certainly act the opposite of how you feel, it is
important to deal with your own emotions. If you can learn to
manage your emotions in healthy, productive ways, the stress of
customer service positions will be water off a duck's back to
10. Situation Evaluation and Analysis
Many times, in customer service work, you will encounter a
problem that is not covered in the company's guidelines. When
this happens, you are going to need to evaluate the situation
and decide whether or not you need a supervisor present. One of
the most important customer service skills to have is being able
to decide whether or not a person is being honest or trying to
deceive you. To do this, you have to be able to analyze data
and, preferably, do this quickly.
These skills can make the difference between getting hired and
being told no to a position you really want. Just getting hired
isn't enough, though. The real benefits in these careers go to
those who are very good at handling people and making sure their
needs are met while not costing the company at the same time.
Those who have these skills and continue to improve them are
bound to enjoy a long and successful career in customer service.