Becoming a customer-service superstar requires a lot of time, training, and dedication to develop a special skillset. If you want to be a highly successful customer-service rep, you’re going to need these 10 essential skills.
Customer service is considered by many to be one of the most stressful positions within any company. Not only are you tasked with interacting with content customers, you also serve on the front lines with unhappy customers. Dealing with people that are upset, angry, or even just confused, requires a great deal of patience.
Compassion is essential in customer service because it allows you to have empathy for what another human being is going through. Customer-service professionals must strive to be understanding and kind when dealing with each customer’s unique circumstances.
Communication skills are a paramount priority for all customer-service reps because communication is the core of the entire job. These skills are necessary all day, every day when dealing with customers, colleagues, and upper management.
- Active listening
Listening is obviously a key component to being successful as a communicator, which is why active listening is another important skill to practice and perfect. Active listening goes beyond simply hearing the words—it means hearing the words and trying to understand the complete message being sent. If you don’t listen carefully to your customers, you won't be able to get to the root of their problem and then assist them properly.
You should be paying close attention every time you interact with a customer. One often-overlooked aspect of being attentive is the effort that you make after your initial contact with customers—your follow-up to make sure their needs have been met and their problem has been solved. Personalizing your responses to individual customers is another extra step that will go a long way toward customer satisfaction and toward making your customers feel valued and cared for.
No matter what, you must be able to maintain self-control when you interact with customers. This means controlling your emotions and your actions through a variety of stressful and possibly emotionally taxing situations. Each customer is unique, and it’s not fair to project the stress of one customer experience onto the next person you speak with.
- Influencing skills
Being able to speak persuasively with your customers is extremely helpful. If you can influence customers to act in a certain way, you can point them in the direction you need or want them to go in order to better assist them.
- Time management
Being able to effectively manage your time is useful when it comes to juggling multiple customers and responsibilities in a short period of time. Even though it takes time to manage time, when you invest in the practice of time management, you’ll see just how much more you can accomplish in the workday.
- Ability to accept responsibility
It’s not always easy to accept responsibility for things, especially when things go wrong or are out of our control. That said, the ability to accept responsibility for a customer’s problem (regardless of who is at fault) is crucial to your success.
- Drive to improve
No one is perfect. Everyone has room to improve their skillset one way or another. However, not everyone has the drive needed to make those improvements—and it’s that drive for advancement that turns a good customer-service rep into a great one.
It should be noted that most, if not all of these skills, will benefit your professional success, regardless of your job title. But if your job involves customer service and satisfaction, these are skills you should master sooner rather than later.