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Ten important customer service skills that every good employee should master

Providing outstanding customer service is a sure way of building brand loyalty and repeat custom. Seven out of ten people will spend more money to do business with a company that provides great customer service and its importance is set to increase. The forecast for 2030 suggests a more personalised service with human interaction will be the key to repeat business. And with customer acquisition costing up to 25 times more than retention, businesses must embrace this strengthening direction and focus more on their employees and their interaction with the customer.

We have worked with employers for many years in helping them to transform customer service but never before has the focus been so highly attuned to the interaction employees and businesses have with their customers. The soft skills an individual has will be key to repeat business and must be an integral part of the employees training and ongoing personal development. 

The following are ten important customer service skills that every good employee should master:

Acting – Whether scripted or saying the same thing for the one hundredth time, it’s likely the first time the customer has heard it. Keep it fresh and don’t shy away from including some personality.

Attentiveness – Really listening to what the customer has to say and making them feel like they matter. This not only helps create repeat custom, but the more astute employee may also recognise general, overarching themes or concerns which may even feed into future business strategy.

Remaining calm – Whatever the circumstance, however much pressure there is, the employee is the rock to the customer. Stay calm and unflappable, even if your legs are going wild under the water.

Communicating clearly – Being clear, concise and avoiding jargon. Customers don’t need to hear about how the employee’s day is going. They want their own needs met and done so efficiently.  Precision is key and should there be any doubt when questioned err on the side of caution and seek advice from an expert. 

Don’t forget the power of non-verbal communication. Be approachable with a confident, open stance, friendly demeanour and plenty of eye contact.

Goal focused – Employees respond well to goals. A certain amount of freedom to work with a customer how they deem appropriate is empowering but having some direction over priority solutions will help with focus for both the employee and the business.

Patience – Taking the time to listen to a customer and truly understand their predicament is important to both the end user and the business at large. Competent and friendly employees are vital and integral to building brand loyalty and positive word of mouth.

Positive language – Using language to focus on solutions rather than the problem. 

“We’re very busy this evening with lots of bookings.  I’m afraid there are no tables available at the moment. You’d need to wait 45 minutes.”

versus

“You’ve chose a great night to join us, there’s a wonderful atmosphere. Your table will be available at 8pm and in the meantime please take a seat at the bar and enjoy our drinks menu”

Both give the same answer but the first example focuses on negatives whereas the second example overcomes the customer’s problem before they even knew they had one.

Product knowledge – Customers look to the employee to have all the answers or, at the very least, have quick access to all the answers. Knowing the product or service inside out and staying current with regular training and updates will ensure the employee can serve the customer most effectively.

Time management – Every customer counts…but know your limits. Listen to the customer, spend time with them but if there’s a better-informed person for the job, positively and politely direct them elsewhere.  Employees in customer service are juggling a variety of responsibilities and understanding how best to use their time plays a vital role in delivering an excellent customer experience. 

Reading customers – Whether face to face, listening to a voice at the end of a phone or deciphering mood from text understanding and ‘reading’ the customer is important in recognising the customer’s needs and forms a key part of the personalisation process. Employees are able to respond accordingly, more efficiently and in a manner the customer will appreciate.

The power of your business’s experience is set to increase and it is evident that focusing on the social skills of your employees is essential for success. 

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We have worked with thousands of businesses to transform their customer experience through WorldHost. Businesses engaged with WorldHost customer service training have reported a number of key benefits including increased revenue, additional repeat business, improved customer service ratings and increased staff motivation. Find out more here.

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