Ever since my first job as a teenager I’ve worked in customer service positions. Throughout those years I’ve learned some pretty valuable skills for what I believe will lead to success! Obviously, there are many useful skills and traits but I will highlight three that I’ve personally found to be important.
Three Ways to Provide Good Customer Service:
1. LISTEN UP!
Listening is truly an art form in business.
Whether you’re in Sales, Marketing, or Customer Service, listening is a crucial part of the job if you want to be successful. Some of you might be thinking “Well yeah duh listening is important!” but doing so in an effective manner is not always so easy.
One tactic I use is to write down a summary of what I’m being told. That way I don’t have to ask to repeat information and it shows I’m paying attention. Listening means just that – not interrupting or rushing the conversation. Also show an interest in what is being said and stay present in the conversation. It’s easy to get distracted with e-mails, co-workers, etc. so remember to stay present and focused!
Okay, let’s be honest, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, the customer is going to pick up on it pretty quickly – no matter how great of a fast talker you think you are.
From my experience, nothing is worse than talking to a customer service rep and it becoming painstakingly clear that they don’t know the answers to my questions and are just winging it – or even worse, they constantly put me on hold to find out the answers. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with asking for help if you need it. I would much rather see honesty than to make something up.
However, if you are in over your head it’s probably best to just send the call to someone else that has the answers instead of wasting time. And from there, learn all the answers you didn’t know so it doesn’t happen again. As they say, knowledge is power! Otherwise you could look incompetent and no one wants that.
3. Handling Complaints (while Keeping Your Cool)
Of course, every company strives to avoid customer complaints, but here is the reality – every now and then there’s going to be issues and customers may call (or e-mail) to voice opinions or frustrations.
While it can be a tricky subject, it’s actually helpful to businesses. Customer input brings to light issues you may not have known were there. They allow you to improve processes and fix problems. Customer service is the first line of contact for customers, and that means we hold a whole lot of knowledge about what they want. That is some pretty important and useful stuff!
This brings us to keeping your cool in stressful scenarios. Some people have a natural calm and cool demeanor. For them, dealing with demanding customer service situations probably comes fairly easily. Honestly, this is something I had to work on throughout the years.
I’m a fairly cheery person, but in the past when someone had a short tone with me, I would tend to get offended. I learned very quickly that this wouldn’t get me very far. I learned to keep cool and not lose sight of the situation at hand by taking someone’s tone or comments too personally. Basically you can’t let anything affect your ability to solve problems.
Customer Success is a Process
Working in a customer service role is a learning experience. Every day you are given feedback allowing you a learning opportunity and a chance to grow. It can take practice to develop listening skills, gain knowledge (that process never ends) and build personal interaction skills. But I can also tell you, it is pretty rewarding to build those relationships with customers and play a part in improving the company’s image and success!
Of course there are plenty of other essential skills and qualities than the few I mentioned.
What are some others you have learned? Please comment below!