Excellent customer service is the pinnacle of business; it opens up more opportunities than just deals and has the power to define your business and differentiate it from competitors. Furthermore, a recent study states that 86% of consumers would rather pay more for a better customer experience – so it’s vital to get it right. For this reason, in this short article, we’ll be exploring 8 vital customer service skills you need to have to transform your operations and go from strength to strength.
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What is customer service?
Customer service is supporting your customers before, during and after they purchase products or services so that they enjoy their buying experience with you. For this reason, excellent customer service is more likely to increase customer retention and business growth. However, today’s customer service support goes far beyond traditional support. Modern customer service is now email, web, text message, chatbots and social media. Ultimately, regardless of your approach, excellent customer service is more than just answering customers questions – it’s fulfilling and embodying the promise your brand makes.
Why is customer service important?
Why is customer service so important? Well, just consider the fact that 89% of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. Meaning that people are more likely to do business with people they know, like and trust. In that case, you can understand why customer service is a critical component of competing effectively. In the past, customers would determine who they did business with based on price and the product’s quality or service. Now, with so much global competition, customers need an additional driver to trust that you’re the right brand.
8 Vital Customer Service Skills You Need To Have In 2021
Here are the 8 vital customer service skills you need to have in 2021 to be successful.
1. Product knowledge
It may seem obvious, but the best customer service professionals have robust product knowledge. In fact, how can you suggest the right product to solve your customers’ problem if you don’t know how they work, their benefits and their features? More so, by studying your companies products and services, you can gain a closer understanding of your customers’ experience, ultimately positioning you as their strongest advocate.
Customers are trying to solve a problem when they connect with your business. Naturally, they may be confused or frustrated when your paths cross. Therefore, customer service professionals must practice good patience skills. As a customer service professional, you need to be ready to take the time to listen, understand and identify your customers’ needs – this is not a quick process. Furthermore, by taking a genuine interest with an abundance of patience, your customers will recognise this and be thankful for your guidance – which helps to strengthen your relationship in the long-term.
As a customer service professional, you’re effectively your company’s voice, which means that your communication skills need to be well defined to simplify complex concepts for customers.
We all know that miscommunication can be a source of stress, pain and awkwardness when finding a solution for a problem. Therefore, increase the likelihood of happy and returning customers by removing this from the equation by developing communication as a primary customer service skill.
4. Problem-solving abilities
Customers know they have a problem but frequently self-diagnose and prescribe solutions to themselves that don’t work. Hence, customer service professionals need to take the initiative to solve the problem in this situation, educate the customer and go the extra mile for their satisfaction. Therefore, problem-solving is a vital customer service skill that allows you to offer pre-emptive advice or solution to your self-diagnosing customer.
5. Emotional intelligence
What exactly is emotional intelligence? It’s the capacity to recognise your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and ultimately understand how your emotions affect others. Yet, it also involves your perception of others, especially understanding how they feel, to manage relationships more effectively.
Therefore, excellent customer service professionals have high emotional intelligence and are usually very self-aware. In particular, they’re confident with frustrated customers– because they trust their intuition and don’t let their emotions get out of control.
Leading on from our last customer service skill, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of someone other than yourself – it can even be developed and improved over time. It’s a vital customer service skill because your ability to empathise with a customer and craft a message that steers them towards your solution is invaluable. For this reason, you need to practise empathy to be able to understand your customers’ frustrations and challenges to overcome their hurdle together.
Sometimes a little creativity, standing apart from the crowd, and showing innovation can improve customer service tenfold in ways your managers could never have imagined. More so, a tenacity for what you do and a great work ethic is key to providing the kind of service people discuss with friends and family.
8. Drive to learn
Negative attitudes just become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For this reason, creating and maintaining a positive attitude is vital for working in customer service. Your drive is the basis of your motivation for growing your customer service skills. If you don’t have the drive to learn, you risk losing out to customer service professionals who are willing to develop and evolve in their role.