For any business, the key to success is satisfied customers. And this is where customer service skills need special mention.
Customer service plays a crucial role in shaping the customer’s expectations with your company. If you want to make your customers happy, you need to offer them a seamless experience.
It is rightly said that customers can either break or make your business. You need to learn to differentiate good customer service skills from lousy customer service.
Good customer service, whether before or after a sale, results in satisfied customers. This often translates into good reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations to other people.
In fact, 90% of US citizens use customer service as a factor in deciding whether to do business with a company or not.
Delivering effective customer service requires certain traits and practices to address customer needs and form a positive relationship. It is classified as customer service skills.
This guide will help you understand the concept of customer service and the required skills, and how you can develop them.
What Is Customer Service?
Companies need to focus on satisfying their customers, and this is where customer service comes in.
Customer service is a type of job that requires a certain set of skills to serve your customers’ needs. Customer service representatives are responsible for solving customers’ problems and ensuring that they have a good experience overall.
As a skill set, customer service representatives need to have qualities like empathy, problem-solving, listening, and communication traits.
Good customer service is an indispensable part of running a business as it helps you gain customers’ loyalty towards your organization.
Why Is Customer Service Important?
Customer service is a great way to stand out from your competitors.
A survey revealed that 78% of customers have backed out of an intended purchase because of a bad customer experience. Besides, it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one unresolved negative review.
Excellent customer service drives a positive experience. Let’s look at some of the benefits of providing efficient customer service.
1. Helps You Build a Better Reputation
Your business reputation is important. Customers are only willing to buy your product or use your service if you have built a good reputation in the market.
It helps attract not only customers but investors and employees too.
You can get happy customers to leave positive reviews for your company online. Almost 90% of customers look for online reviews before they make a purchase.
Not only that, 69% percent of customers would recommend the company to others after a positive customer experience.
This word-of-mouth referral is one of the most effective marketing tools that can help you acquire new customers.
2. Increases Retention Rate
75% of people surveyed said that they would return to a company with excellent service.
Many businesses invest more time and money in acquiring new customers rather than retaining the old ones. It is found that acquiring a new customer costs six times more than to maintain an existing one.
In fact, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
Investing in customer service should be seen as a sales opportunity rather than a business cost.
3. Improves Customer Lifetime Value
Customer lifetime value is referred to as the amount of revenue a business can potentially expect from a single customer account throughout their engagement.
A good customer service team has a direct influence on the customer’s journey.
Customer success plays a crucial role in solving customers’ problems and finding ways to keep them engaged by interacting with them on social media, emails, or offering customer support.
Highly engaged customers are likely to buy 90% more frequently and have three times the annual value compared to other customers.
4. Correlates to Employees Morale
Highly engaged employees can help you achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings. If your employees are happy, they keep your customers satisfied too.
The customer experience manager sets the tone for morale. It’s their job to make their employees feel empowered and engaged by being more approachable.
Appreciating their work time and again can keep them motivated. Create a mission-driven company where employees get the chance to find new ways to please their customers.
5. Increases Revenue
Customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. 84% of organizations saw an increase in revenue when they started improving their customer service.
Focusing on the customer experience is no longer a trend but a smart business strategy.
In fact, many companies tier their customer base if they are willing to pay more that allows them early access, premium support, and other benefits.
What Are Customer Service Skills?
Customer service skills are a set of traits and behaviors that you use while interacting with a customer.
Great customer service is the holy grail of business. Providing seamless service is not an easy task. It requires a certain set of traits and characters that can help you deliver your customer expectation.
Customer service skills are a set of behaviors that you use while interacting with a customer. Not only then, but it can be useful when following up after an initial conversation.
One such example is when a customer needs help troubleshooting problems with their devices.
Here are some of the advanced customer service skills that every employee must master.
Empathy is simply the ability to understand how someone else is feeling and be aware of their emotions. This trait is particularly important if you are dealing with other people.
When customers contact an organization, they may be feeling extremely emotional; frustrated, angry, or helpless.
If you can recognize these emotions, you can easily understand customers’ issues and problems. It will allow you to resolve them in ways that your customers will appreciate.
You will be able to respond to their emotions as well as the logic of their issues.
Great communication is particularly vital because service reps must be able to explain the potential solution to customers’ problems. Besides, it should be done in a clear and concise manner.
Any type of miscommunication can cost you your business reputation. Having excellent communication skills ensure that you have clearly stated what you are offering and what your customers should expect.
When it comes to customer service skills for success, avoid using jargon while speaking.
A well-trained rep can identify if the customers are understanding them or not. If not, they should know how to offer alternative explanations if the original answer wasn’t clear.
Moreover, there shouldn’t be any mumbling when speaking to the customers.
This might sound obvious, but a customer service rep must be well-versed with the technical know-how of the product.
Regular training should be conducted to keep them in the loop about every product update and any product changes that will affect customers.
A survey of more than 10,000 customers revealed that 70% of them get annoyed when their call is transferred to another agent.
You will only upset your customer if your reps aren’t able to give accurate information about their product or service.
Your service representatives must know who to turn to when they need additional information while on the call.
Patience is a virtue that holds significant importance in this fast-paced world.
Many customers contact customer service when they are already angry or frustrated. They might not be able to clearly communicate the problem they are facing.
The ability to stay calm and understand their problems will help ease the tension with angry customers.
Having patience enables you to listen to them carefully and pick out the issues they are trying to solve. It will ensure that you have entirely resolved the problem and not just a part of it.
Problem-solving is what customer support is all about.
Great customer service means getting to the core of the problem and coming up with solutions instantly. There is no time for customer reps to brainstorm. They need to be quick on their feet to try to fix the problem immediately.
Problem-solving, as a customer service skill, also includes checking whether the solution actually worked for their customer. If not, they will have to go back and come up with new ways to solve the problem.
Attitude can make a lot of difference in how you treat your customers.
A warm, friendly smile, a willingness to serve, and courteous mannerisms are part of a positive customer support attitude.
When a positive attitude exists in customer service, the service reps appear more responsive and attuned to customers’ needs and expectations. This is directly reflected in their behavior towards customers.
Keeping a positive attitude will make your customers feel valued and happy, which in turn will bring success to your company.
Simply put, the positive language in customer service is telling what you can do for them rather than what you can’t.
“I’m sorry the product is out of stock, and it won’t be back for two weeks.”
“The product will be back in the store in two weeks, and I’ll notify you as soon as it comes back.”
Note the difference between the two.
When delivering the bad news, you might want to blurt out things in a straightforward method. But there are better ways to do it.
Using positive language, customer service managers can overcome a customer’s problem before they even knew they had one.
Listening in customer service means reading and understanding what a customer is trying to convey in a call or online emails/messages. This could be harder as you have no body language to help you.
Effective listening is much more than hearing what the customer is saying. It also involves decoding what they are not saying.
For instance, customers may call to ask for a particular product on a website that they are not able to locate. You can point them in the right direction. But there is much wider issue visibility here – working on the navigation of your website.
Time Management Skills
Time management skill plays a crucial role in serving your customers.
Your service representative needs to be quick in attending to the customers. Using customer service software can come in handy as it can help with the quick response time.
This customer service skill allows them to maximize their productivity by dividing time and prioritizing tasks based on immediate requirements.
How to Improve Your Customer Service Skills?
US companies lose $62 billion a year due to bad customer support.
Fortunately, there are many customer service qualities that can be learned and refined with time and practice.
Below are a few tips that will help you provide the best-in-class customer service and gain loyal customers.
1. Measure and Analyze Your Customer Feedback
One of the best ways to understand if your customer service is working or not is by asking your customers.
You can ask them to leave feedback or take a survey to track top customer service metrics. Asking questions like –
Were you happy with the service?
How knowledgeable would you say our service team member was?
This will help you understand what is working for your business and what is not. You can then focus on specific customer service skills that need improvement.
2. Practice Active Listening
When your customer calls you, they need to know that they are being heard and understood.
The active listening skill requires continuous practice; you can apply it to your co-workers and your family.
While making a conversation, focus on your speaker and what they are trying to say. After the customer is done speaking, ask clarifying questions or paraphrase what they said to confirm that you understood right.
Practicing active listening will help you become a truly exceptional customer service agent.
3. Be Willing to Learn
A sportsman doesn’t become a great sportsman in a single day. It requires continuous dedication, practice, and determination to achieve what they truly want.
Customer service is no different. In order to become a world-class customer service agent, you must be willing to upscale your skills always.
Tools to Enhance Customer Service Skills
There are several tools available that allow you and your customer service team to perform better. You can set goals and track every individual’s progress. In other words, it enables you to provide a high-quality experience to your customers.
The spreadsheet works well for inputting and calculating data. For instance, you can use an online form to collect data and feed it directly into a spreadsheet to analyze and improve customer service skills.
Excel sheets or Google sheets require manual labor, which can be time-consuming. It is best suited for companies that are just starting and have limited resources.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tool
A CRM tool helps manage a company’s relationships and interactions with customers. It refers to the strategies, practices, and technologies that enable organizations to manage data throughout the customer lifecycle.
Organize all your contacts, track deals and grievances, and build meaningful customer relationships using a single platform.
Help Desk Software
A helpdesk is a tool that helps businesses respond to customers more quickly and effectively. It streamlines all your conversation between you and your customers from across various touchpoints into a unified platform.
In other words, helpdesks improve customer service skills by providing insights into customer experiences.
Ticketing is basically cataloging customer issues into categories and routing them to the appropriate team, such as sales or support. It ensures dedicated support for every individual, enriching their overall experience.
EngageBay’s powerful ticketing capabilities let you address and resolve all problems at the earliest.
Creation of Canned Responses
The support team can create a batch of canned responses for frequently asked questions, and it can be accessed by every team member while responding to tickets anytime.
It reduces response time and ensures accurate answers as well.
With the EngageBay tool, create predefined replies and ensure consistent responses to frequently asked questions by customers.
Smart workflows aim to save your time wasted in routine tasks otherwise. It allows you to focus on higher-value tasks by defining priorities.
Set the status for each ticket and assign them to respective team members.
While traditionally, customer support is often understood as a service from a business to a consumer, it is also applicable within a company.
As a customer success manager, you will also be responsible for providing services to other internal teams. Keeping your employees happy is as important as your customers.
You would want to ensure that their needs are understood and met too.
To conclude, every support agent must possess and develop customer service skills to be a successful customer service representative.