Customer service is more than just pasting a smile on your face or not rolling your eyes when a customer complains. It takes certain soft skills to provide excellent customer service in a variety of situations at work.
Successful business owners understand the importance of hiring employees with great customer service skills. It’s essential to have a team that has these skills to create lasting customer relationships and build trust in your brand.
So what customer service skills should you be hiring for? Let’s take a look at the top seven skills to look for in potential employees.
Customer Service Skills You Should Never Pass Up
Whether you are the founder of a small startup or the CEO of a multi-million dollar company, keep these skills on your radar when hiring new employees.
Empathy, or the ability to step into another person’s shoes and understand their feelings is a highly valuable skill for those who work in customer service roles. This is because oftentimes, customers may be frustrated or upset when contacting the company. Without empathy, it is far too easy to brush off a customer’s concerns and make them feel invalid. Showing empathy makes a customer feel valued, which goes a long way in customer retention.
Brian Greenberg from Insurist shares that “adaptability is one skill that customer service employees should have because when talking to customers you may need to switch tactics to find the best solutions.” Customers may be contacting you in several different ways such as by phone, email, or instant message. Being able to adapt to the form of communication and showing mental flexibility is a great customer service skill to seek out as an employer.
Integrity is another skill that makes for a great customer service representative. Nataly Vanunu from Boho-Magic, an artisan hand-crafted online jewelry store, says that “our customer service representatives are honest with customers about the jewelry creation process and aren’t afraid to share the truth.” Having integrity as a customer service representative also means finding true solutions instead of quick bandaid fixes.
Another great customer service skill to have is self-control. In customer-facing roles, there are no doubt going to be times when you are tested. It is easy to get frustrated with customers but good representatives will not show their frustration. Instead of raising their voice or saying something they shouldn’t, good representatives practice self-control and keep a positive demeanor even when it’s difficult.
- Clear Communication Skills
“When explaining how our on-demand staffing app works, our representatives must be clear communicators,” says Qwick’s Chief People Officer, Derek Johnson. “In our business and many others, being able to effectively communicate directions and share the intricacies of how our technology operates with people who are unfamiliar with the product or service is vital. Clear communication includes not only verbal communication but written communication as well. A good representative should be skilled in both areas”. Being able to effectively communicate directions and share the intricacies of technology with people who are unfamiliar with a product or service is vital. Clear communication includes not only verbal communication but written communication as well. A good representative should be skilled in both areas.
Similar to self-control, one of the best customer service skills candidates should have is patience. Patience is especially important when troubleshooting with a customer. It may take multiple tries or even multiple interactions to fix the issue. Sometimes, customer questions or complaints take longer to address than expected, so being patient is a must. As a business owner, this should be at the top of your list when seeking to fill customer service-based roles.
- Effective Listening
Lastly, let’s discuss effective listening. This skill is necessary in order to provide the best customer experience possible. By actively listening, a customer service representative can soak up all of the information they need to address whatever issue is on the customer’s mind. Showing customers that you are listening by acknowledging what they just said is a great way to let them know you hear their concerns.
Now that you know seven great customer service skills to look for, go forth and find qualified candidates for your business. Hopefully, this guide helped you understand the importance of these qualities in a customer service representative.