Customer service skills that bring them back for more

5 min read
Leighton Burley

We all know that customer service skills play a big role in attracting and retaining customers. In fact, most companies spend large sums of money to train their customer service teams and give them the resources they need to do their jobs.

However, not all customer service provide the same level of service. What, then, are some of the customer service skills that will help to set your business apart from the rest?

In this article, we’ll explore some of these characteristics in detail, and help you level up your customer service.

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The 7 customer service skills that pay off

Master these skills to keep your customers happy and loyal for years to come.

  1. Strong communication skills.
  2. Patience.
  3. Product knowledge.
  4. Empathy.
  5. A learning mentality.
  6. Good judgement.
  7. Some acting skills.

Ready to turn your customers’ reactions from “Meh” to “WOW”? Let’s get started.

1. Strong communication skills

One of the most important customer service skills for any service professional to have is the ability to communicate clearly. In addition to active listening, customer service representatives need strong written and verbal communication.

Customer Service Skills Person on Phone

The goal is to ensure that customers of all backgrounds are able to understand what you are saying.

Customer service reps should speak clearly and avoid using jargon or unnecessary “wordiness” as this will only lead to confusion.

Besides their choice of words, service staff should be aware of their voice tone, mood and articulation. It takes a conscious effort to create a positive, uplifting interaction.

Related: Use Google maps to drive customers to your retail store

2. Patience

Another characteristic common to the best service pros is the ability to be patient under pressure. Customer service reps often have to deal with angry customers who blame your company for all the problems they’re facing.

This can deteriorate to the point where the customer is leveling personal accusations at the service agent. It’s absolutely crucial for the representative to remain calm and collected throughout these situations.

How they handle such situations is key since this can be the defining point in the company’s relationship with the customer. The rep' response can either send that client packing … or win them over for life.

3. Product knowledge

This might seem obvious, but customer service representatives must have a working knowledge of their company’s product or service.

While it’s not necessary for them to be experts on every detail, they should know enough to answer common questions. They should also know where to get help in answering difficult questions.

Customer Service Skills Two Men with Golf Clubs
Customers expect sales and service staff to understand their products.

This might include having access to the company’s information base or knowing whom to refer a customer to when they need advanced assistance. A basic knowledge, combined with a plan for handling difficult questions, will help to create a smoother, more enjoyable customer experience.

4. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings customers may be experiencing.

Empathy can go a long way toward winning a customer’s trust.

Simply saying “I totally understand your frustration” helps show that the rep will do everything within their power to remedy the situation.

Even if they're not able to provide the solution the customer is looking for, showing understanding and care lets the customer know they’ve been heard.

5. A learning mentality

Adopting a learning mentality is crucial to success in any field, but it’s especially important for those working as customer service representatives.

Over time, your company’s products or services will change, and service staff must be able to communicate these changes to the customer. This will require them to take an active approach to learning about your products and company.

6. Good judgement

Customer Service Skills Two People Talking
Give your staff the power to solve the customer’s problem.

It’s crucial that customer service representatives know how to logically think through irregular situations. This might mean giving them permission to create a temporary policy for a specific situation — or even go off the map to create their own response.

Whatever the case, irregular situations will happen. It’s up to the staff member to handle it in a professional manner that satisfies the customer. Give them permission to do this.

7. Some acting skills

The term “fake it ‘til you make it” doesn’t just apply to actors. Customer service representatives need to be able to put on an act, no matter how frustrated they may be feeling.

This means honing the ability to act in a professional manner, no matter what.

While there are numerous uses for this skill, one of the most common is a situation where the customer service representative is dealing with an especially difficult customer. They don’t have the luxury of “giving the customer a piece of their mind.”

Rather, they are forced to put on a smile and respond to the client as pleasantly and helpfully as possible.

They don’t have to actually feel pleasant about the interaction, but it’s important that they sell the acting job. The customer must believe that the staff member truly cares about their problem and that they’re committed to helping resolve it.

Make it all about the customer

Customer service is about solving your customers’ problems while doing your best to diffuse any negative feelings and repair any damage done to the relationship.

In order to do this effectively, it’s important for customer service representatives to exemplify the characteristics outlined in this article.

While this list of customer service skills is by no means comprehensive, it includes some of the more important service skills. Together, they will help to make your customer service team much more effective … and your customers much more loyal.