Customer satisfaction has a huge impact on every businesses’ success. Whether you’re working in a customer service related department or just looking to improve customer experience on a company-wide level, it is always important to learn some customer service tips and skills. Here we put together a list of 20 essential customer service skills and 6 tips on how to improve your customer service skills. Now, let’s dive in:
What is Customer Service?
Customer service is the act of providing support to customers. It is both a type of job and a set of job skills. As a job, customer service professionals are responsible for addressing customer needs. As a skill set, customer service includes many qualities like active listening, empathy, problem-solving and communication.
Businesses can also create their own definitions of customer service depending on their customer service philosophies and the type of support they want to provide. For example, at PDF Technologies, we define customer service as the act of offering timely help that keeps users’ needs at the forefront of every interaction.
Why is Customer Service Important?
According to a variety of studies, U.S. companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service. And other data show that 86% of customers quit doing business with a company due to a bad customer experience.
So it is easy to conclude that good customer service is a revenue generator and the cornerstone of long-term customer relationships. Consistently delivering a complete, cohesive customer experience will help your businesses grow in size and reputation.
20 Key Customer Service Skills
Here are the 20 key customer service skills that every support professional should have or develop, and even though you are not in the Customer Service department, you can always apply these skills when communicating and interacting with others.
- Listening skills - Communication skills - Product knowledge - Attentiveness
- Empathy - Patience - Positiveness - Decision-making - Personal responsibility
- Tenacity - Dependability - Adaptability - Problem-solving skills
- Open-mindedness - Professionalism - Confidence - Time management skills
- The ability to let it go - A willingness to go the extra mile - Responsiveness
How to Improve Your Customer Service Skills
1. Know your customers
The first tip is to understand your customers’ desires, experiences and expectations. You can collect common customer questions and concerns about your company’s products or services, preparing you for any future interactions. When in conversation, do not hesitate to ask the customer about their specific needs or requirements. This information can be paired with your in-depth knowledge of the products or services to provide answers or address issues confidently and quickly.
We, as a service provider, are eager to hear your feedback and opinions as well, if you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Your voice matters.
2. Be an active listener
Active listening is a communication skill that helps you fully understand the customer’s questions and concerns, so as to solve the real problem timely. One active listening method you can use is to rephrase a customer’s statement to make sure you understand what they need. Another tip is to show empathy and say “I understand completely” or “I appreciate your situation” at times. Active listening enables you to provide the most attentive customer service experience possible.
3. Ensure effective communication
The ability to clearly communicate, both verbally and in writing, is essential. Answers to your customer’s questions should be clear and concise. Throughout conversation, you can ask your customers if they have any further questions about what you have discussed. If they have not understood your message, you can revise your communication or simplify the message, to make sure that communication is effective and time is worth it.
4. Provide prompt and accurate answers
Another important attribute of excellent customer care is timeliness. You can update your knowledge of products or services and use company-provided technology to deliver prompt and accurate answers to customer questions. Providing helpful information also promotes trust, brand loyalty and continued patronage. If you are unsure of the best way to handle an issue, reassure the customer that you will look into it and get back to them as soon as possible.
5. Follow up and invite feedback
Customer feedback is one of the most important assets your business can have. Following up and asking customers for feedback shows that you empathize with their needs and are dedicated to providing high-quality customer service. You can invite customers to participate in surveys to rate their experience and share ideas for possible improvement. You could also include welcoming gestures such as promotions or discounts to encourage their participation. It's worth a try.
6. Enhance professional skills
Seeing the same issues again? It may be that there’s an issue with your product or service or you have to enhance your skills in the meantime, find out what you can improve and update your knowledge base, to save time and boost productivity.
For example, nearly every business needs to deal with electronic documents, especially PDFs, choosing the best PDF reader & editor for your company is a way to improve your professional skills. PDF Reader Pro enables you to annotate PDF to quickly give your feedback to customers, add watermarks / header & footer/ Bates numbers to show professionalism, convert PDF to other formats or use OCR technology to make it easier for your customers to edit and search in the file.
Customer service can make or break a business. If you want to stand out, you need to rethink how you treat your customers and try to apply these skills in your business.