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10 Essential Customer Service Skills Your Employees Need

Customers are essential to the health of a profitable company. In fact, while many business owners will attribute their success to business acumen, excellent products, or great marketing, customers are the actual lifeblood of a company. Without customers, a company won't exist. Knowing this, it's important to treat them well. However, dealing with customers isn't always the easiest experience. Thankfully, it can be taught.

Consider some of the most essential skills and attributes your employees need as they deal with customers.

1. Patience

When a customer gets to the point where they've picked up the phone to talk to a customer service representative, it's not uncommon to anticipate annoyance or anger on the other end of the line. A customer service representative might be expected to read minds and anticipate customer needs. This is where patience isn't just a virtue. It's also a skill to be applied in those conversations in order to rectify the situation and keep the company in good standing with its customers.

2. Empathy

In a world where most people want to be heard and understood, it's wise for companies to prioritize empathy as one of the most important skills. Though it's typically characterized as a random soft skill, it's one of the most powerful skills a professional can develop. When a representative can understand where a customer is coming from, this can diffuse tense situations.

3. Professionalism

Customer service representatives are extremely front-facing. They're the first representatives when the public needs help. When an individual stands as a representative for the company, they showcase the ideals and values when they're on the clock. Whether a high-ranking executive walks through the front door or a mystery shopper walks in, if a business opts for mystery shopping services, each "customer" should receive the same level of courtesy and professionalism.

4. Communication

Communication can serve as the breakdown of a relationship because two people can hear and interpret a situation differently. In order to communicate the right message, it's best for an employee to understand how to clearly break down the terms and conditions of a company's rules. Communication also includes tone of voice and body language when it's time to communicate in person.

5. Persuasion

It's always helpful for employees to develop the ability to close a sale. Sales tactics involve a great deal of persuasion. The art of persuasion involves strategically upselling a person. By applying the right elements of persuasion, the company can actually profit more.

6. Flexibility

The company should have leeway for customers who are upset, in a bind, or in need of a better solution. While it's fair for companies to remain firm on their policies, a flexible employee will find a solution that works for both parties and maintains the continued business of the customer.

7. Proactive Nature

Even before a customer calls with a specific scenario or conflict, it's always helpful to have employees who can intuitively maintain a proactive approach and anticipate certain situations. This can help a company as they create their protocols and customer service guidelines. Being proactive also helps an employee figure out how to anticipate needs and solutions as they deal with customers throughout any given workday.

8. Even-Tempered

If the customer is upset and meets an untrained customer service representative, this can lead to a war of words. If the person doesn't have an even-tempered personality, they need to work on cultivating it because when two people argue, one reflects poorly on the company.

9. Consistent

When dealing with customers, documentation is paramount. One of the reasons why it's important is because you need a running record of a customer's interactions with the company. When all of the customer service reps can look at the documentation and see a consistent record regarding behavior, it's much easier to maintain the integrity of the company.

10. Solution-Oriented

When a customer is deeply disgruntled, it's not uncommon for them to take on the victim role. As a result, they might be tempted to focus on the problem. An efficient customer service representative will glean the necessary information, present solutions, and push toward the end of a productive call.

The Bottom Line

If you're able to find an employee who encompasses all of these characteristics, you've won the employee jackpot. It's not impossible to find. Yet, it's best to focus on ways to create customer service training, seminars, and classes in order to assist your employees in their ability to perform and meet company standards.

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