“Customers may forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” A famous anonymous quote which accurately sums up the gist of excellent customer service skills.
The person on the other side of the telephone, or the one who is reading your email/message is not a robot. He might get irritated, he might yell, but he will also feel happy and satisfied, if you walk that extra mile to show that he matters.
Providing great to excellent customer service can be taxing at times. If you have been engaged and resolving queries for 8-9 consecutive hours, chances are that not every call will be your best one. This is where the golden motto of ‘putting yourself in your customer’s shoes’ comes into picture. If you have had a long, overwhelming day, remember that your customer could have had even worse. If you keep this thought silently on loop at the back of your mind, 9 out of 10 calls you attend can definitely be better.
Exemplary customer service has always been and will always be one of the critical competitive advantages for any business – big or small. While attending a customer, a call center rep becomes the face and voice of a brand. Even if your product is absolutely brilliant, but the agents are not well equipped with the art of handling and supporting queries, chances of survival for your business would eventually become shaky.
Let us try and make it a wee-bit easier for you. Here’s a list of some of the most eminent customer skills, a call center rep or anybody who gets in touch with customers must have.
If you don’t see this ‘on the list’, while reading anything which talks about providing great quality customer service, you should probably stop reading it. This is immensely important. There will always be versatile customers. Some will smile and greet you, while others would simply talk business, without any hopes of building rapport with you. The earlier you get used to speaking with them patiently, the better it will be for you. Being impatient with an angry customer will only make him angrier, and the call will escalate to your manager. Now we don’t want that, do we?
Every customer is different. Some customers will be irate. Some of them will bombard you with questions, while others would just be chatty. You should be able to handle surprises, sense the customer’s mood and adapt accordingly. ‘One tone for all’ would probably not be a good idea. Adaptability also refers to being able to quickly learn and implement. If there is a sudden increase in the call flow or your website traffic, you can sideline ‘other valuable offers’ and perhaps focus mainly on resolving queries faster.
3) Communication skills
It is no secret that having great communication skills is mandatory for providing top-notch customer service. Without these, you can find yourself in an embarrassing customer service trainwreck or you will simply lose customers as your service continues to let people down. Having good communication skills not only includes having the ability to use the correct tense and grammar, but the clarity to convey to customers what you actually mean. You don’t want your customers to think that they are getting fifty percent off, when actually he is getting fifty percent more of your product.
Ultimately, your customers rely on you to gain knowledge of your product. Therefore, it is mandatory for you to conduct a thorough research on the products. There will always be a set of ‘frequently asked questions’, prepare a list of FAQs in advance- prior to starting to answering calls. Knowing certain tricks and knacks would also make your customers trust you more and it displays your competency. No one can know everything, but to keep on trying to learn new things is all that matters.
5) Negotiation and Persuasion
All reps are once put in a position where they have to negotiate with a customer or persuade them to buy a particular product/service. This is when mastering these skills would help you to woo back disgruntled customers, or make your customers aware about a key policy, or any product which has been discontinued. Negotiation and Persuasion will allow you to evade such sticky situations, so that customer and the company both are equally benefited.
One particular skill which can change the whole course of your call is being calm and composed. If you are being extremely positive and welcoming, your customer will take note of that. You must refrain from using ‘a tone’ which lacks positivity. Instead of saying ‘the product cannot be ordered until next month’, use a slightly tender tone and say that, ‘I can order the product for you right now and make sure it reaches you, as soon as it is in stock’. They both convey the same message (that the product is not available now), the difference is in how it is said. Making minor changes in your tone, could change the way your calls go, boosting your customer’s trust and loyalty in your brand.
This is perhaps the most dominant skill which is a MUST have. The ability and the determination to help someone; to be willing to listen to your customers rant and not complain; to try and always put your best professional self forward and everything else. All of the above come under the wide vertical of work ethics. After all, no customer will ever forget how you made them feel.
These skills and traits will boost your chances of providing stunning customer experience. If you think that we have missed out on any ‘must have customer service skill’ do let us know in the comments section below.