For any business, great customer service is indispensable to slide ahead of the competition. At the heart of exemplary customer service is the interaction between contact center agents and the customers.
The quality of service received by a customer defines the customer’s experience. Entrusted with the challenging task of providing a pleasant experience to customers during every interaction, contact center agents can make all the difference between an average customer support and a fantastic one.
Regardless of how good your product is, contact center agents remain one of the most critical factors towards building a successful customer relationship. With the unpredictable nature of situations that may arise during a customer service exchange, agents must remain equipped with versatile and strong skill sets to deal with customers professionally, and offer prompt solutions.
Here are 5 absolutely essential customer service skills that every agent should master to deliver optimum quality service.
- Attentive Listening
Listening is the first step of effective communication and problem solving. Contact service agents should possess the skill to listen attentively to customer’s complaint or issues, assess it accurately, and offer the best possible solutions. Lack of this skill can lead to misinterpretation of the customer’s message, which can further leave the customer frustrated. Sometimes customers may not be able to explain their concerns clearly. With active listening skills, a capable agent can read between the lines and understand certain things that are left unsaid by customers.
Patience is one of the invaluable virtues for every agent working in the area of customer service. Often, customers get in touch with contact center agents in an angry or frustrated frame of mind. As an agent, it is essential to be patient and deal with customers with a cool head. Agents must provide every customer a fair chance to express their problems fully before they proceed to explain the solution to them. It is important that agents put a customer at ease while explaining a solution. Also, they must bear in mind that not all customers possess the technical knowledge required to understand or resolve a seemingly simple issue. The golden rule is to remember that great service is always better than fast service.
- Clear Communication Skills
Customer service is one area that demands great communication skills. Agents must have the ability to grasp quickly what the customer is saying and then respond in a manner that makes sense to the customer. It is imperative for every agent to master the skills of verbal and written communication and convey things in a clear, concise, and simple manner. Miscommunications can lead to unwanted consequences and agents can steer clear of such situations by being clear in their communications. For instance, it can be challenging for agents to explain technical things to a layman. However, a good agent is one who can effectively bridge this communication gap and reach out to the customers with ease.
The primary aim of a contact center agent is to resolve customers’ issues in a smooth and effective manner. This calls for the agents to have a thorough knowledge of the company’s products and their functionalities. As a front-line employee directly interacting with customers, an agent must know the ins and outs of how a product works. Agents should go beyond knowing a list of frequently asked questions in order to be able to gain the trust of customers and help solve their issues. It may not be possible to know each and every detail of a product, but that should not stop agents to keep updating their knowledge constantly in their endeavour to help customers.
- Time Management Skills
Efficient time management is the basic requirement of every job, including customer service. Customers expect their problems to be addressed quickly and accurately. For a contact center agent, effective time management involves comprehending the customer’s issue, finding a proper solution, and providing good service. While it is never advisable to rush through a customer’s concerns, agents must be conscious to not waste time when they are unable to help a customer. In such cases, the best solution is to delegate responsibilities to someone who can help resolve the issue and ensure that the customer receives proper service.