Your customer service team is the face of your company. Whether they’re assisting customers in your brick and mortar location, on the phone, or online, there are certain customer service skills that are critical to the success of your small business. Remember, today’s consumers have access to a worldwide market, and if they’re not satisfied with your company’s customer service, they’re going to move along to the competition. On top of that, dissatisfied customers have the ability to post scathing online reviews that can seriously damage your brand. Fortunately, you can cultivate essential customer service skills in your workforce to protect your company’s reputation.
Friendliness and Communication
An upbeat attitude goes a long way when it comes to customer service. Even if a customer isn’t satisfied with the outcome of an interaction, they’re going to be more willing to give you a second chance if the customer service representative is cheerful and kind. Sometimes a smile is all it takes to deescalate a situation and calm an angry customer. In-store visitors feel more comfortable returning to a store with a friendly staff, and customers who interact with your customer service team by phone or online are more likely to remain loyal after a positive experience.
Customer service professionals also must be able to make their point clearly and concisely. Frustrated customers want fast, definitive answers. But, there’s more to communication than just saying the right words. You want people who are articulate and able to express what they’re saying through their cadence, mannerisms, expressions, hand gestures, and other subtle social cues.
Patience and Empathy
There are always going to be angry customers; it comes with the territory. When dealing with an upset customer, your customer service team needs to know how to handle the issue without getting emotionally involved or losing their own tempers. In these situations, explaining the same policy over and over again can get tedious and frustrating, and unfortunately, customers can detect when a customer service rep is getting frustrated, which often only escalates the situation further. To avoid these traps, your team needs patience and empathy.
Empathetic employees add a human element to your company, so people don’t feel like they’re dealing with a faceless, corporate entity. Simply understanding and relating with an angry customer can help them to calm down and approach the issue in a more rational, composed way.
Training and Time Management
When it comes to customer service, it’s critical to keep the line moving to prevent waiting customers from getting upset. At the same time, customers don’t want to feel rushed or brushed aside. A good customer service professional needs to be able to balance both of these issues. They need to handle customers efficiently, quickly, and politely so they can get to the next person who needs assistance.
Ideally, you want to prevent customer relations issues before they happen. Work with your current team to make sure they have these essential skills, audit your customer service team to check on how they’re doing, and develop a training system for new employees. Consistency in your customer service department goes a long way toward keeping clients happy and protecting your brand’s reputation. By looking for these interpersonal skills when hiring and encouraging them through ongoing reinforcement and training, you can preserve your online reputation and retain customers.