Customer Service Skills for Success 

Customer Service Skills for Success 

Train and hire for these skills when building your company.
Director of Customer Success
8 min read
8 min read

In a Nutshell

Look for these skills when hiring for your company.  They are important in any role, but especially when dealing with customers.
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Table of Contents

Today, business success is not necessarily about price: it’s become more about the level of customer service received! Without customers, you have no business, which makes your customers vitally important to the success of your company.

So when a customer has a question or problem with a service or product, they rightfully expect your customer service department to resolve their issue. In today’s business world it’s the quality of your customer service that will raise you above your competitors.

This means that great customer service is a good business strategy. In today’s modern age where customers demand personal satisfaction, excellent customer service has become the biggest and most important factor separating highly-successful companies from mediocre companies.

Is it possible for a business to consistently exceed their expectations by taking a customer-first approach? Yes, definitely! By following these customer service skills for success your business can power ahead by cultivating loyal, happy customers.

Hire the right employees

It starts with the employees you hire. Not only should they have the right skill-set, it’s vitally important they also have the right attitude. When hiring personnel for your customer service department, you need to determine if the candidate is dedicated to helping others and if they have the ability to convey genuine empathy. Test the candidates!

Create scenarios involving real-life customer support issues, including crises, and evaluate how well your candidate responds. You are looking for adaptabilitycommunication skills, and strong listening skills.

Read More: 22 Help Desk Interview Questions to Ask Your Candidates

Depending on your industry and your product or service, you’ll probably find that their reactions vary a lot, so keep in mind that you’re looking for an employee with a positive attitude, one who understands the core values of your company, and who has natural empathy and a genuine desire to help others. You’ll know them when you see them!

Train and empower your customer support team

Now that you’ve put your customer support team together, the next step is to train them! They must clearly understand the core values of your company and what you expect from them, so start by ensuring that these team members use your products and have a clear understanding of what your company is about. They will be on the front lines of ensuring your customer experience is second to none.

A business that’s consistently successful means there’s an empowered support team, remembering that real empowerment only comes when staff have the flexibility to resolve customer’s issues in whatever way they deem best.

Empowerment is the secret to the fantastic customer service provided by businesses like Zappos. There are many, many stories of unbelievable customer service from Zappos, like a representative racing to a rival store to get a pair of shoes and hand-delivering to a customer because they had run out!

Each and every Zappos customer service representative is fully trained, and empowered with an unbelievably strong customer and team-oriented culture.

Every employee becomes a customer support agent

In Shep Hyken’s book, The Amazement Revolution, the message is very loud and clear: there’s no specific customer service department; great customer service is a philosophy that drives everything and everyone within an organization.

Every single employee of the company must do their job to best support those people who support customers. Hyken also advises that companies should view a purchase by a customer as an interaction, not just a transaction, because an interaction is just one part of a long-term relationship.

Great customer service is a philosophy that drives everything and everyone within an organization.

What’s the bottom line? Every employee of a business should be highly trained in customer support and be very familiar with talking to customers about their myriad queries and problems. Having these skills will ultimately achieve better outcomes for the business in general, and help staff members do their jobs better.

Happy employees equal happy customers

Customer satisfaction and employee happiness go hand-in-hand. Only happy employees who work in a fun environment and one that’s conducive to personal growth can provide great customer service.

As a business owner or manager, you must connect with your employees in order to reach and satisfy your customers. So, it stands to reason that companies who have happy employees are the companies that make the most profits.

If you don’t know, say so!

Your well-trained customer service team should have the authority to resolve problems as creatively as possible; however, if they’re not sure about something they should also have the freedom to convey that honestly to the customer.

The staff member can always get someone else to assist, or even have the matter escalated to find an appropriate resolution. Your customers are not monsters: they’ll appreciate that your support agent cannot possibly know everything, and they’ll appreciate the agent’s honesty.

It’s all about clear communication, and maintaining an open and honest dialogue will help gain the trust and respect of your customers.

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

Key Customer Service Skills for Success

Look for these skills when hiring for your company.  They are important in any role, but especially when dealing with customers.

Skill 1: Adaptability

Customer service requires employees to be highly adaptive. Every customer interaction is going to be different – that’s what makes the job great! Some days you will get angry customers (or just difficult customers), and knowing how to shift gears and handle rude customers is a skill.

For example, when a new customer starts using your product or service, they may need more attention or deeper answers than a long-time customer.

Skill 2: Clear Communication

Good customer service starts with clear communication.  This is one of the most important customer service skills.  If your customer service reps cannot clearly communicate a solution to an issue or problem, then the customer will continue to be frustrated.

Using positive language is a key attribute of clear communication in customer service. Knowing the types of phrases and words to use can really help calm an irate customer.

Skill 3: Active Listening

Active listening means you pay close attention to the words the customer is using to find out why they are so upset. It will give you insight on how to solve the problem, and understanding how the customer feels will go a long way toward delivering an empathetic response.

Skill 4: Problem Solving

Problem solving is a tricky skill to teach.  Some people just have a knack for getting to the heart of an issue and presenting a solution.  Customer service professionals have to be MacGyvers of sorts, understanding a customers needs and coming up with a creative solution.

Multi-Channeling works both ways

Most companies today are very familiar with multichannel marketing, so you need to keep in mind that your customers may seek to resolve their problem via several different channels.

Because there are so many options available to customers today, they’re quite likely to try out many touch points, which means your business must be prepared to answer queries via social media, live chat, email, phone, an app, or even a Help section on your website.

Our suggestion is that, during your initial interaction, you encourage your customers to share their preferred channels of communication. Now, if a problem should arise, a comfort level for communication has already been established.

Encourage loyalty by following up

It’s always appreciated by customers if they receive an email or phone call after a sale or resolution of a service issue. This small gesture reinforces the message that your company promotes customer satisfaction.

In addition, regular follow-ups are an invaluable tool for gauging a customer’s perception of your brand and obtaining valuable feedback.

Unfortunately, happy customers are not usually as keen to talk to (or about) you as unhappy ones are; so, follow-up calls are the perfect method for obtaining crucial insights on various aspects of your business, such as where to invest in the future, the direction your brand needs to take, and so on.

Unfortunately, happy customers are not usually as keen to talk to (or about) you as unhappy ones are; so, follow-up calls are the perfect method for obtaining crucial insights on various aspects of your business, such as where to invest in the future, the direction your brand needs to take, and so on.

When appropriate, recommend a competitor

Exceptional customer service is when you realize that you can’t take care of your customer and you refer them a competitor. If you can’t make the sale and you help your customer by referring them to your competitor down the street, your customer will be very appreciative that you have put their needs before yours, and they’ll always find a reason to come back to you.

If you can’t make the sale and you help your customer by referring them to your competitor down the street, your customer will be very appreciative that you have put their needs before yours, and they’ll always find a reason to come back to you.

It’s certainly worth repeating that a long-term relationship involves a whole lot more than just a transaction-at-hand. It takes time and a concerted effort from every staff member to develop a business that provides exemplary customer service.

Happy employees who are empowered and take responsibility for the success of a company play a very important role in this process. Remember that customer service is not the sole responsibility of your customer support team; it’s the responsibility of every single member in your organization, starting at the top with your CEO, and moving down through the ranks to the janitor.

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

Andrew Rivers
Andrew Rivers
Andrew leads customer success at Keeping.