BlogCustomer Service

How to improve customer service skills

Luca MicheliDec 09, 2022
How to improve customer service skills
Contents

Are you looking to improve your customer service skills? Whether you are a customer service representative or want to provide better service to your clients, having strong skills as a customer service rep is essential.

In today’s competitive business landscape, providing excellent customer service can be the difference between a happy, loyal, and frustrated customer.

But where do you start? Developing better customer service skills can seem daunting, but with the right approach, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

This article will explore the key elements of customer service and provide practical tips on developing your skills in this area.

customer service skills

Before getting to the skills a customer support representative should develop, I want to highlight why it is so important.

Why developing customer service skills is so important?

Developing customer service skills is important for several reasons. Firstly, providing excellent customer service can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to increased business and revenue.

Additionally, customer service skills can improve employee satisfaction and retention. Employees who feel supported and trained in customer service are more likely to be engaged and motivated.

This can improve morale and productivity and reduce turnover and recruitment costs.

Overall, developing customer service skills is essential for the success and growth of your business, as it helps to improve customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and overall business performance.

Good customer service skills are essential for any business that wants a positive customer experience.

These skills can be developed and improved with the right approach and mindset.

This article will explore 10 important customer service skills, including building strong communication skills, understanding customer needs, and staying calm in difficult situations.

Problem-solving

In any customer service role, you will inevitably encounter difficult situations where you need to solve problems for customers.

This could involve resolving a dispute, finding a solution to a technical issue, or providing a refund or replacement.

Try to approach each situation calmly and logically to develop your problem-solving skills.

problem solving as a team

Start by asking the customer to explain the problem in detail and try to understand the root cause. Then, use your knowledge and resources to develop a solution that meets the customer’s needs.

Adaptability

In customer service, no two situations are the same.

This means that you need to be adaptable and able to handle a wide range of challenges and situations.

This could involve dealing with angry customers, managing multiple tasks at once, or adapting to changing policies and procedures.

To develop your adaptability skills, try to stay open-minded and flexible. Be willing to try new approaches and methods, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or feedback from your colleagues or supervisors.

Also, stay up-to-date with industry developments and changes to provide the best possible service to your customers.

Customer support tools and technology

Customer service often involves various tools and technology in today’s digital age.

This could include customer relationship management (CRM) software, live chat tools, and customer support software. Understanding these tools and how to use them effectively can help you provide better customer service.

To develop your skills in this area, try to learn as much as possible about the tools and technology used in your organization.

Attend training sessions, read user guides, and ask for help from more experienced colleagues. Also, keep up-to-date with the latest developments in customer service technology and how it can benefit your organization.

Effective communication

Effective communication is another key element of customer service. This involves listening actively, speaking clearly, and providing accurate information to customers.

Adapting your communication style to different customers and situations is also important.

You can take a course on Coursera on how to have effective communication.

Also, try to use clear and concise language and avoid jargon or technical terms that the customer may not understand.

To develop your communication skills, practice active listening.

Practice active listening

Active listening is a crucial customer service skill that involves listening carefully to what your customer is saying and responding appropriately.

It involves giving your full attention to the customer, avoiding distractions, listening to customer feedback, and using verbal and non-verbal cues to show that you are listening.

proactive listening your customers

To improve your active listening skills, practice giving your full attention to the customer and avoid multitasking or interrupting them.

Use body language, such as nodding and making eye contact, to show that you are listening and interested in what they have to say.

Develop empathy

Empathy is a crucial element of customer service. It involves the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, which is essential when dealing with upset or frustrated customers.

develop empathy

When a customer is upset, it’s natural for them to want to feel heard and understood. By showing empathy, you can help calm the situation and provide a more positive experience for the customer.

To develop your empathy skills, try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

Imagine how you would feel if you were in their situation and try to understand their perspective.

This will help you to provide more personalized and effective service.

Understand customer needs

In addition to strong communication skills, effective customer service also requires a deep understanding of customer needs.

This means identifying what customers are looking for and providing solutions that meet their needs and exceed their expectations.

It’s important to stay up-to-date on your company’s products and services and to be familiar with common customer questions and concerns.

To develop a better understanding of customer needs, it’s helpful to gather feedback from customers regularly.

This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or simply by asking for feedback after a customer service interaction.

This feedback can provide valuable insight into what customers like and dislike about your company’s products and services and can help you identify improvement areas.

Stay calm and composed

Another important skill for customer service professionals is staying calm and composed in difficult situations.

This is especially important when dealing with angry or upset customers, who may be expressing their frustration challengingly.

In these situations, it’s important to remain professional and not take things personally.

stay calm and composed

One way to stay calm in difficult situations is to take a deep breath and count to ten before responding.

This can help clear your head and allow you to respond more accurately and thoughtfully.

It’s also important to remember that the customer is likely to be upset because they feel like their needs are not being met, so it’s important to listen carefully and try to understand their perspective.

Apologize and take responsibility

Another strategy for dealing with difficult customers is to apologize and take responsibility for any mistakes or issues that may have contributed to the problem.

I'm sorry

This can help to diffuse the situation and to show the customer that you are willing to do what it takes to make things right.

Sometimes, offering a solution or compensation to address the customer’s concerns may also be helpful.

Always be positive

Maintaining a positive attitude can improve customer service in several ways.

Firstly, a positive attitude can help customer support reps remain calm and composed in challenging situations, improving their ability to provide effective solutions to customer concerns.

always maintain positive attitude

Secondly, a positive attitude can help customer support representatives to build trust and rapport with customers, as a cheerful demeanor can make customers feel valued and respected. This can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, increasing business and revenue.

Thirdly, a positive attitude can help to create a positive work environment for customer service teams, improving morale and motivation.

What is poor customer service?

Poor customer service is any customer service that is inadequate or subpar. It can include unresponsive customer support reps, unhelpful or incorrect information provided to customers, and disrespectful or rude behavior towards customers.

Poor customer service can lead to customer dissatisfaction, decreased loyalty, negative reviews, and reputation damage for a company.

In fact, 86% of customers hesitate to purchase from companies with negative reviews. This will ultimately cost you web traffic and, of course, revenue.

It can also lead to employee dissatisfaction and reduced morale, as employees may feel unsupported or undervalued in their customer service roles.

dissatisfaction

Poor customer service can significantly impact a business, and companies must prioritize providing high-quality customer service to avoid these negative consequences.

10 Examples of poor customer service and how to avoid them

Let’s see what your customer service team must avoid to provide excellent customer service.

Unresponsive customer service representatives

If customer support representatives do not respond to customer inquiries promptly, this can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

To avoid this, ensure that the support team has the technical skills are trained and equipped to respond to customer inquiries promptly and effectively.

training customer service team

To share more effective training and good customer service, you can build a knowledge base where your customer service team can find centralized knowledge and respond quickly and professionally.

Unhelpful or incorrect information

Providing customers with unhelpful or incorrect information can lead to confusion and frustration.

To avoid this, ensure that customer service reps have access to accurate and up-to-date information and provide regular training and support to improve their knowledge and skills.

Rude or disrespectful behavior

Treating customers with disrespect or rudeness can lead to dissatisfaction and negative reviews.

To avoid this, train customer service reps on appropriate communication and customer service skills and provide regular feedback and coaching to improve their behavior.

Inadequate solutions to customer concerns

Providing inadequate solutions to customer concerns can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

To avoid this, ensure that customer service reps have the necessary training and support to identify and address customer concerns effectively.

Long wait times

Long wait times for customer service can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

Customer service long wait times

To avoid this, ensure that customer service teams have adequate staffing levels to handle customer inquiries promptly.

And if you are experiencing support team overload and keeping customers waiting too long, you can always apologize for keeping the wait with a canned response like this before replying.

Hi there, my name is [YOUR_NAME] from the Support Team!

Please accept my sincere apologies for the long wait.

We are currently experiencing an unusually high amount of questions.
Thank you for getting in touch with us today.

How may I help you?

avatar

Apologies long wait

If someone has been waiting too long for a reply use this template to ease the pain

If your company cannot afford many customer service agents, you can use automated customer service tools to help your customers without interacting with any customer service agent.

Difficult to contact customer service

If it is difficult for customers to contact customer service, this can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

To avoid this, provide multiple contact options for customers, such as phone, email, and live chat, and ensure that customer service reps are available during regular business hours.

You don’t want to push away your customers by not letting them find (on purpose) your customer service touchpoints.

We suggest showing a live chat on all the public-facing pages to avoid creating a bad customer experience.

As Fatture in Cloud CEO said: “Having a Live Chat on our website has helped our brand a lot to establish trust to all our visitors. We believe that the live chat has added incredible value to our proposition.”

Lack of personalization

Providing a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to customer service can lead to dissatisfaction and a lack of trust.

To avoid this, tailor your customer service approach to each customer’s needs and preferences.

You can still use tools like canned responses, but it’s always a good idea to personalize them based on the situation.

Take a look at our canned response templates to personalize and make customers happier.

Poor follow-up

Failing to follow up with customers after addressing their concerns can lead to dissatisfaction and a lack of trust.

To avoid this, ensure that customer service representatives follow up with customers to ensure that their concerns have been adequately addressed.

For example, you can use this canned response template to speed up the follow-up and let your customers know they are good to go.

You are all set!
Let me know if I can assist you further.

[YOUR_NAME], [YOUR_COMPANY]

avatar

All set

Use it at the end of the conversation when everything is all set

Inconsistency in customer service

Inconsistency in customer services, such as different customer service representatives providing different information or solutions, can lead to confusion and dissatisfaction.

To avoid this, ensure that customer service teams have consistent processes and protocols for providing customer service.

Lack of empathy

Failing to show empathy and understanding toward customer concerns can lead to dissatisfaction and a lack of trust.

To avoid this, train customer service representatives on empathy and active listening skills and provide regular feedback and coaching to improve their skills.

How to provide good customer service?

Wrapping up, these are the 7 key strategies for providing great customer service, including:

  1. Empathy: Show empathy by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and understanding their feelings and needs.
  2. Active listening: Listen carefully to the customer and respond appropriately, using verbal and non-verbal cues to show that you are listening.
  3. Communication: Use clear and concise language and avoid jargon or technical terms. Be respectful and polite in your interactions with customers.
  4. Problem-solving: Identify and address customer concerns and issues using critical thinking and problem-solving techniques.
  5. Flexibility: Be adaptable and open to change, and be willing to adapt to changing customer needs and expectations.
  6. Patience: Maintain a calm and composed demeanor in challenging situations, and avoid becoming frustrated or agitated.
  7. Professionalism: Be professional, courteous, and respectful in your customer interactions.

By implementing these strategies, you can provide great customer service and improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and overall business performance.

Conclusions

In conclusion, great customer service skills are essential for providing a positive experience for customers.

These skills can be developed and improved with the right approach and mindset.

By building strong communication skills, understanding customer needs, and staying calm in difficult situations, customer service professionals can provide the high-quality service that customers expect and deserve.

Customerly is designed to help businesses improve their customer service processes and provide personalized, high-quality customer service.

It provides a comprehensive platform for managing customer interactions and addressing customer concerns, allowing businesses to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Sign up today for a 14-day free trial and become the best at mastering your customer service skills with the top customer service software in the world.

Luca Micheli

Luca Micheli

CEO @ Customerly

Luca Micheli is a serial tech entrepreneur with one exited company and a passion for bootstrap digital projects. He's passionate about helping companies to succeed with marketing and business development tips.

Related articles

See all
Share this article