Why are customer service skills important?
Mastering how to deal with other people calls for a set of transferrable skills that will be useful in all sorts of jobs, so make sure you list some on your CV.
You might think that customer service skills are only applicable to jobs that involve interaction with the public, such as retail or hospitality roles. However, these interpersonal skills can bring better clarity, communication and confidence to all types of roles. So what are good customer service skills? As the name suggests, it is all about serving your customer. Businesses are built on people. Companies can have the best products or the lowest prices, but if they can’t back this up with an engaging team to sell them, the venture is likely to fail.
The same can be said of internal policies. Great strategies can plotted out meticulously and individual employees hired to fit all the right roles, but a good team needs to pull together. Transferrable customer service skills can help you to better interact with colleagues to achieve this. Some customer service skills need to be practiced and honed over time, but many are natural attributes that can be tapped into and amplified. Here are some of the most important to know and list on your CV.
Empathy, listening & patience
In customer-facing roles – or during workplace conflicts – the hardest thing to do is to keep your cool in any situation. This is why patience is essential to customer service. Try to put yourself in the place of the customer or colleague: how would you feel and how would you like to be treated in this scenario? Employing empathy in this way can help you to set aside your personal feelings and focus on the other person. Listening sounds like an obvious skill here, but it requires active effort to ensure you are hearing and processing what the other person is saying. Nine times out of 10, the best way to diffuse or expediate a situation is to pause and listen to the customer before deciding on a course of action, and to ensure they know they have been heard.
Communication & confidence
The hardest skill to master in customer service is good communication. This can apply to all forms of communication, from face-to-face discussions to selecting the right emoji to fire back at a customer comment on social media. If you can’t communicate what you are selling, how you are helping or what you need, your job is likely to be a lot harder, so do take time to build on your communication skills and seek help from other colleagues if there are certain areas you are struggling with. Whether you feel it or not in the moment, try to project an air of confidence in all of your dealings with customers. It will put them at ease to feel you know what you are doing, and it will make for a more engaging experience. Never, however, prioritise confidence over empathy and listening.
Knowledge, problem solving & resilience
Know your job. Take the time to learn as much about what you are doing, so when questions from customers arise, you will have the confidence to answer them. Deepening your knowledge can also help when it comes to problem solving, as you might have imagined certain tricky scenarios and how to deal with them ahead of time. In every job, you will always face a problem that seems impossible to solve, and this is where problem solving skills come in. The first step is to slow down, calmly evaluate the situation and then take a dynamic approach – what can you do to fix it? Remember, sometimes the simplest solution is the best. Be resilient when dealing with problems; you might not find the ideal solution, but you will find a solution. In fact, resilience is one of the most important customer service skills of all, whether that’s keeping your cool with an aggressive customer, furthering your knowledge and communication skills, or simply smiling through a long shift.