15 Customer Service Skills You Need To Promote In Your Employees
Gaining a new customer is six to seven times more expensive than keeping an existing one. Customer service is one major area in your business that determines whether a customer stays or not. It has an indirect effect on the cost to gain new customers.
While you might have it all at your fingertips, it is not possible to control every customer interaction. You have to trust that your employees do as you would. The only way of ensuring that is through imparting good customer service skills.
You may have an idea in your mind, but it is all jumbled up. Below is a detailed explanation of some skills worth cultivating in your employees. Read on.
Customers are human beings and need to feel heard. Train your employees to take time to listen to customers. They should only interrupt when contributing meaningfully or making an important comment.
Once the customer has poured out all they have to say, they should give some reassurance. What follows is handling whatever concern is raised calmly. Employees can ask questions to gauge whether they are helping the customer as desired.
Anything that keeps the conversation going and makes the customer feel heard is a plus. Whether the conversation is done through your business telephone systems or via text message, empathy in the words exchanged is key to good relations. Cultivating a culture of empathy will even impact positively on the team.
Self-control goes hand in hand with empathy. Most customers come breathing fire, especially if things do not work as they would like them to. It is upon the employee to calm such customers down and listen attentively.
If the customer is rude and rowdy, the employee should not engage them. Instead, they should try to calm them down first, and offer solutions. Where still received negatively, the employee should offer to escalate the matter as a way of getting out of such situations.
No matter the direction conversations take, employees should stay patient and composed. This is in line with customer service best practices. Self-control is also important in helping employees not overstep their mandate.
Having a positive mindset is a skill worth working on for everyone. Here, employees with a positive attitude are less likely to get irritated. Customers can catch up on enthusiastic customer service representatives.
In such cases, it is likely that they feel welcome. Even if they were feeling angry, that simple act of answering the phone nicely changes the tides. It is then easier for the employee to steer the conversation well and handle the issue easily.
A conversation with someone with a positive mindset can give your mood a nice boost. In a situation where something is out of stock, you can respond in two ways. One would simply state the item is out of stock. The other is apologizing first and offering to give an update as soon as the item is back in stock. The second response elicits positivity and is likely to help keep customers.
Most of what gets handled by customer service agents might appear repetitive. Yet, each case is unique. The caller does not know of the previous similar case you handled, and there are many variables involved.
The caller’s age could differ from the previous one. How you explain the solution changes as a result. The store visited by the caller could also be a different one though from the same company.
It is such dynamics that make it important for employees to work on their listening skills. Treat each case with the freshness it deserves.
For any team to prosper, the members need to own up to mistakes and any actions taken. Once an employee crosses that hard bit of owing up, it proves easy to take the next step of making corrective action.
After practicing such proactiveness for some time, employees get better at handling things in the instant. That positively affects the customer service experience.
Work manuals are there to help an employee to act in a certain way. Such manuals should serve as guides and not rigid robotic steps. Despite learning what is expected employees need not lose their authenticity.
A person who is not acting like themselves is easy to pick from a crowd. So is a person not acting like themselves in a conversation. Train your employees to follow manuals and only use the extra information to complement their positive values.
Along the same lines of manuals, employees know what to do but fail to carry through. Courage helps build confidence in decision-making. It saves time as matters get handled promptly.
A courageous employee hardly second-guesses decisions made. They can handle matters with conviction.
Hunger for Knowledge
People that are eager to learn often find information that improves their day-to-day activities. Since company practices and procedures keep on changing, you need to interest your employees in constant learning.
The kind of knowledge advancement is not limited to customer service matters. Widely read people have a broad scope of things. Having such employees puts your team in a better position to handle customers of all kinds.
Customers are human beings and so are your employees. There is a possibility of familiarity in conversations. Both parties may easily drift into personal matters.
If the customer engages in such, the employee should steer clear professionally. The employee should at no one time bring personal matters to work. The moment they pick up calls, only the issue raised matters.
General comments about the weather are welcome if started by the customer. That should not drag on to other matters. Anything that elicits strong personal views needs to be avoided in a respectful way.
Of all resources given unto man’s control, time is the most scarce. One wonders how this would be so, while we get a fresh day all the time? Well, once the previous day is gone, you never get it back.
Thus, we need to be fully aware of the uniqueness of each moment. This applies to customer service agents and the people they serve. If something can get handled to a conclusion at the moment, there is no point in postponing.
The agent should be careful not to drift into impatience. While there is a sense of urgency, every customer needs to feel their issues properly addressed.
The notion out there is that customer service agents are rude. Informed by a few nasty encounters, most people tend to generalize. Knowing this, agents should come in a thick skin.
Even when customers spew negativity, it is upon the employee to turn the tides. Some customers require one to repeat things more than once. Understand this and repeat each time with enthusiasm.
Since there are several skills needed to succeed, employees need not be too hard on themselves. Being too hard on self could lead to undesirable traits and burnout.
Persuasion is a skill that goes a long way in helping employees communicate effectively. Often, the customer will come with a preconceived notion. It is upon the employee to make them understand the right position on the matter.
Where customers do not sound convinced, persuasion helps. The skill complements other skills such as clear communication and positive conversations.
Customer service employees need to get going at all times. Despite personal issues, they need to wake up and go to work in high spirits. They also need to follow issues raised until they are completely resolved.
If a customer’s issues got escalated to another department, it is upon the employee to follow it up. Such relentless efforts reflect a determined employee. Where possible, employees should even make follow-up communication to update customers when issues get handled.
Sense of Humor
To deviate a bit from the tedious jargon of customer service, both parties could use some humor. Employees who cultivate a sense of humor will often find it easy to get customers in high spirits. The jokes shared, however, should not drift too far away from context.
Jokes should not appear forced, rather they should gel easily into the conversation’s context. Employees should also take caution not to share something that may make the customer feel uncomfortable. It takes practice to perfect this skill.
Employees should practice with fellow workers before trying it out on customers. That gives enough room for feedback and growth.
All the above skills are important but without a general display of care, they become less effective. The customer needs to feel genuinely heard and cared for. Thus, employees need to always work on making an impression of care before anything else.
To achieve this, a genuine love of the job is a key requirement. Strive to make your employees love what they do. Everything else naturally falls into place, as motivated employees go the extra mile to achieve what is needed of them.
In any hiring process, you need to assess your applicant’s skills. You can use this information to create an onboarding program that addresses the weak points. Most of the time, skill acquisition takes place by the mere act of interacting with the required tasks.
Work hard to keep those employees whom you feel to have acquired and perfected these skills. They will be an asset when it comes to inculcating the same to new hires. Over time, you can consider having a detailed onboarding program with a manual.
Since actions speak louder than words, you need to work on how your employees perceive you. Show positivity, and your team will most likely follow in your footsteps. They will easily catch onto anything you say and do.