Providing excellent customer service (CS) is a great way to build strong relationships between a business and their customers. It can help you create lifelong customers who you can depend upon to refer your business to their friends, family and work colleagues. But to build these relationships and create loyal customers, the people dealing with your customer’s day in day out need to have certain skills to help them in their role.

Without these skills, businesses could find themselves in an awkward viral situation or with a line of unhappy customers. With consumers who experience bad CS being more likely to talk about it than a positive experience, and with the ability to share experiences across the internet, it’s certainly not wise to put below-par staff at the frontline of your business.

But what are the skills that make an excellent customer service operator?

Knowing your product/service

Whether you’re selling your product or service, or dealing with after-care once a purchase has taken place, if you don’t know the ins and outs in the first place you’ll struggle to provide a good level of service. By letting your employees experience your product or service first hand, they can then use their own experience to the benefit of them and the customer.

Most businesses will encounter a list of common questions asked by their customersTo ensure that those questions are answered promptly and in the right way, make your operators aware of both these stock questions and answers.

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If your business has a tendency to bring in new products or services, ensuring your operators are quick to take on new knowledge means that customers will experience the same level of service they’ve become accustomed to when buying previous editions.

When interviewing for suitable customer service operators, you’ll be able to work out the difference between those who have read your website briefly, and those who have researched your business and are now able to explain what you do with some certainty. The latter show their ability to pick up details fast and that they are willing to go the extra mile to keep their knowledge up to date.

Empathy

You want to deliver customer service that you’d be happy receiving yourself, so having empathy for customers is an important skill to have. Understanding where a shopper is coming from with their complaint is the first step to fixing a customer’s issue and improving their experience as a customer. If your operators regard every interaction as an inconvenience, customers may start to feel like they don’t want to be heard. Remember – “customer service can’t always deliver solutions, but it can always deliver empathy.”

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Source: Groove HQ

The majority of customers don’t want to bother businesses with their queries and have most likely tried numerous other solutions, so bear that in mind when conversing. Speaking to an operator could truly be that customer’s last hope before they give up on not only the product or service they’re having issues with, but also your business.

Attention to Detail

Sometimes, it can be the small details that make a huge difference. It’s especially important when those small details come from a customer, as they can be the difference between working out the issue and leaving a future customer angry or upset. Paying attention at the start of a conversation can mean less time is wasted later on, when you actually need those specific details.

This skill relies on operators listening closely so you can pick up on the specific language and terms being used to describe the issues. If customers continue to tell you that they can’t find the search bar or shopping basket, that’s really a call for help in regards to the design of your website. But you’ll rarely find a customer who actually says your website needs redesigning. Seeing the bigger picture is all about attention to detail.

Patient

With a job like customer service advisor, it can be hard to know what’s coming around the corner. So CS operators need to be prepared to deal with many different customers, with different needs, and different ways of asking for help. No two people are the same and that becomes clear when you’re dealing with two customers who are asking for the same thing but have a completely different way of broaching the subject.

They will need to be patient enough with an angry customer to calm them down and listen. They will also need to be careful with their own temper. Engage potential candidates in role-playing in different scenarios to see if they have the ability to diffuse a bad situation or if they have the patience to cope with customers who don’t want to listen.

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Source: Woculus

As customer service doesn’t always take place face-face, it can be hard sometimes to ‘read’ customers. This is another instance where patience is important. Sometimes you need to allow some time to work out the customer’s current emotional state and pick up details about the person you’re talking to so you can make the exchange personal.

Customer service is about making customer’s experience better and the people running your CS should be genuinely interested in this. They should understand what the customer wants, feel their pain, and work their hardest to provide a solution. Every business will require operators with different qualifications, but the above skills will help you to find the right assets to help your business grow and keep your customers happy.

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About The Author

PR Assistant at FM Outsource

Elena is a PR Assistant at FM Outsource. She is constantly looking for press opportunities for the business, whether it be entering awards, attending events or getting FM featured in relevant articles online and in print.