How many times have you switched to another service or product simply because of bad customer service skills of the executives? The chances are that you would have come across bad or below average customer service at least once or several times in your life. Outstanding customer service is the lifeline of any organization.
US companies experience a loss of approximately $41B each year due to poor customer service while 66% of buyers shift to other companies owing to bad customer service. Good customer service not only generates new customers and return business, it also generates referral business as it has been found that almost 87% of consumers will share their good experience with others.
Let us take a look at 7 ‘must have’ customer service skills that a customer care specialist must have in order to win more customers and retain existing ones.
Be empathetic towards customers
It goes without saying that empathy is one of the must-have customer service skills without which it is impossible to touch the pulse of your customers. Empathy breeds understanding, and hence if a customer feels understood, they will feel valued and will keep coming back to you.
The team at MindTools have come up with great advice regarding how you can be empathetic towards your customers. Understanding, viewing things from other’s perspective, and being a good listener are some of the ways in which you can show your empathy towards a customer.
Emotional quotient (EQ) and emotional intelligence
Testing emotional intelligence or emotional quotient of potential candidates will give you a good understanding of whether a candidate is fit to be part of your customer support team.
Emotional intelligence or EQ is having the intelligence to recognize others’ feelings and emotions. The ability to notice and handle with care if someone is having a rough day or to communicate assertively what has to be said in the calmest and sensitive way without hurting someone is an essential part of good customer service skills.
People with high emotional intelligence have good social interactions, communication skills, and are able to resolve conflicts far better than their counterparts.
Customer focus and walking the extra mile
Customer focus must be at the center of any business. Successful business owners understand that they are what they are because of their customers and will always find time to listen and resolve their grievances at any time. Customer focused companies will always grow as they are willing to go an extra mile to satisfy them and win their trust.
Going an extra mile also means that after you have resolved the main issue, you offer extra advice or suggestion that can help the customer in some way. For example, when a customer calls a bank asking for the balance in his account, after giving the required information, the customer care specialist can advise the account holder of how they can avail a free offer.
Excellent listening ability
Stephen R. Covey once said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
Studies have proved that most people are inattentive listeners and retain not more than 50% of a speech. Being a good listener is one of the most important customer service skills.
You can be a good active listener by:
• Not interrupting or arguing while a customer is speaking.
• Listening carefully (eye contact, verbal gestures) and giving undivided attention.
• Asking clarifying questions so that they know that you have absolutely understood.
• Summarizing the other person’s main points to give the impression that you have heard and understood the issue.
Product knowledge and quick problem-solving techniques
Problem-solving is a key element when it comes to good customer service skills. Problem-solving skill has to do with product knowledge to an extent. If you have done your research and have good knowledge of your product, you will not only sound confident but will also be in a position to suggest various alternatives and problem-solving techniques.
All employees should know the latest features and also understand the benefits and value that they can be delivered to the end user.
While we all have been taught the virtue of patience right from our childhood, very few of us actually understand how to patiently wait, and keep a good attitude while waiting.
The ability to be patient, especially when your customer is screaming into your ears is one of the most essential customer service skills that you must develop if you do not have it already.
You are the face of the company at the time when the customer is interacting with you. You cannot at any cost allow their frustration to affect you and the way you treat them.
Be assertive and polite at the same time
While you must be sensitive towards your customer’s needs, it is sometimes essential to put your foot down when required and be assertive. However, do not confuse being assertive with being impolite, aggressive or pushy.
Tell the customer firmly, clearly, and effectively if something is not possible. But remain calm, and speak with utmost respect.
While all of you might already be aware of most or all the seven customer service skills listed above, you might tend to forget them during critical times. It is extremely essential that your customer care department has outstanding social skills so that they can win more customers for you and help grow your business.