Software development

21 Key Customer Service Skills and How to Develop Them

Instead, they know how to keep a cool head and a steady, guiding hand. In fact, if your organization tests job applicants for customer service aptitude, you’d be hard pressed to look for a more critical skill than empathy. Many customer service experts have shown how giving employees unfettered power to “wow” customers doesn’t always generate the returns many businesses expect to see. That’s because it leaves employees without goals, and business goals and customer happiness can work hand-in-hand without resulting in poor service.

qualities needed for customer service excellence

As a bonus, mastering persuasion can help you cross-sell and upsell customers. Have you ever called customer support only to speak with someone who can’t seem to figure out how to help you? The interaction not only makes you mad at the agent, it may taint your view of the company. First, customers are happy they don’t have to reach out why does customer service excellence important for business to your support team to correct something that they already contacted you about. And, second, by providing customers with troubleshooting steps, you’ll reduce incoming cases toward your team’s ticket queue. However, confidence does not come naturally to everybody, even those with great product knowledge and communication skills.

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Adopt these practices and you will see your customer satisfaction increase immensely. Note-taking is one way to nurture attentiveness and stay focused in any conversation with a customer. While handling numerous tickets back-to-back, writing down important points helps in being attentive and breaks the monotony. Even if you don’t have a notepad next to you, advanced helpdesk tools have the feature of adding notes right within the ticket. Good organization skills and prioritization of tasks are ways to be systematic and handle customer queries without violating Service-Level Agreements. There will be plenty of simple customer queries that’ll have quick fixes versus a couple of complex ones that might require deeper analysis.

When it comes to key elements of good customer service, friendliness certainly makes the cut as customers place a high value on how friendly your customer service team is. PwC found that four out of five American consumers believe that friendly service is one of the most critical components of a positive customer experience. This easy-to-read guide will highlight the most essential characteristics of customer service your team needs to ensure your customers come back time and time again. It’s a must-read for anyone who’s ever wondered what customer service traits to focus on in order to strengthen their customer service team. In summary, working in the field of customer service is a wonderful adventure and provides many opportunities for career growth. An aspiring Customer Service Manager needs a strong set of management, leadership, and business skills to take their career to the next level.

qualities needed for customer service excellence

This customer service skills list comprises both hard and soft skills needed for customer service. The reason it includes both is that they equally reflect characteristics of customer service excellence. Simply put, customer service skills are the qualities of good customer service that all customer service professionals should possess.

Impeccable product knowledge

So it would be wise to give them this unprompted information, or risk annoying them further by making them ask the question. It doesn’t mean you should work through customer support inquiries as quickly as possible, though. Speaking of positivity, another important customer service quality is a positive attitude. This, of course, should be paired with an empathetic approach so as to not dismiss your customer’s worries.

qualities needed for customer service excellence

Customer service representatives must learn to handle tough conversations well and try to deescalate such situations. No one — either customer or agent —wants to spend more time than necessary in a live chat or phone call with support. That’s why it’s so important to have good time management skills to take care of the task at hand with accuracy and speed. Every product or service requires internal documentation for team members to review and access regularly. You can create a one-stop destination for storing all of the details your agents may need as they assist customers, keep track of changes, and stay on top of internal policies, plans, and product features.

Communication Skills

That’s when efficiency becomes an important customer service skill. Instead, stick with it and work for a solution as quickly as possible with as few steps as necessary. A quick resolution to a problem, even if it involves multiple steps, can make a customer feel valued and reinforces his perception of your business. If a customer is unhappy with a product or service, it’s an opportunity to adjust it or switch to a new brand altogether (if you’re in a retail environment). One small improvement might mean a world of difference for your customers. Your patience may be tested, especially while involving angry customers or users who’ve got to take a no for what they demand.

  • One study found that 74% of people have stopped associating with a company and moved to a competitor after feeling that the company was disorganized.
  • Even though there are obviously some common “do”s and “don’t”s, each customer learns at a different pace and may respond to a common practice in a way you didn’t expect.
  • In other words, practicing the 3 important qualities of customer service doesn’t just mean turning a contentious situation into a calm one.
  • For example, text messages are more informal and agents can use emojis, while email communication should include full sentences.
  • We have included this skill in our list, as it is one of the most important customer service skills a candidate should possess.
  • These are similar to parenting skills, where the employee doesn’t allow themselves to be distressed or distracted by the situation but instead remains focused on the best interests of the customer (not child!).

When customers know they are talking with a knowledgeable agent, they feel they are in good hands. Technology can help you attain product knowledge more rapidly because it makes key information easily accessible. Technology also gives you the ability to collaborate with seasoned, knowledgeable colleagues in real time. Make sure you are clear on important metrics — whether that’s first-call resolution or customer satisfaction scores. Then you will know if it’s more important to stay on the line and resolve the issue or to quickly escalate the case and move on to the next one.

In some situations, they can receive queries from the same customer via all the channels or more than one channel. Thus, while hiring a customer care executive for your company, make sure that the selected candidate can respond to customer queries regardless of the preferred channel. An ideal candidate must adapt to any new challenge any day flexibly, through any channel of communication in a manner that your customer prefers, no matter how complicated the situation. Strong customer service skills are essential for CSRs to possess in order to provide stellar customer support and outperform in an organization. The key skills for customer service an employer should look for in an ideal candidate are hard skills and soft skills. Creating an exceptional customer experience takes a lot more than simply wishing for good customer service.

Customer Success

When listening to the customer, try to see the problem through his eyes and imagine how it makes him feel. This is an important customer service skill because the customer will be more receptive if they feel understood by you. It can also de-escalate a conflict and create a more enjoyable interaction with your company. We’d be remiss to exclude the skill of customer service from our top customer service skills list. Customer service as a skill describes the mastery of practices and procedures that endeavor to improve all interactions between a business and its customers.

Only when you dedicate the time and attention to hearing the customer out completely can you begin to work toward a satisfactory resolution. While this is probably the most general skill on this list, it’s also one of the most important. After all, willingness to learn is the basis for growing skills as a customer service professional.

The CSR must remain professional and maintain self-control if the customer attacks are personal and be optimistic in the face of sarcasm. So when hiring a CSR, self-control must be tested to determine whether he or she is ideal for the job. If you want to know if your candidates have this customer service skill, ask a simple question in the interview such as, “Why should we hire you? This way they have to sell themselves in a persuasive manner while listing qualities, traits and reasons—a perfect, practical test of their customer service skills.

This guide will also come in handy for customer service managers looking to hire, train, and build a team of stellar customer service reps. Customer service excellence will give you the competitive advantage you need to survive in a tough and increasingly uncertain business climate. In today’s customer-oriented business environment, “people skills” are critical for personal and organizational success.


The first “P,” professionalism, refers to the attitude you take towards your customers. Even when a customer is upset or behaving immaturely, it’s up to you to diffuse the situation, if possible, and do what you can to represent your brand in a positive light. How can you help an association with their needs without becoming knowledgeable about their organization? Make sure you understand the industry, how they operate, and what goes on in their association to make them run smoothly. Learn about your clients by exploring their websites, reading organizational policies and documents, learning about past meetings and events, and speaking to co-workers. The more knowledge you have, the better you will be able to help your clients succeed.

Persuasion skills can be simply referred to as the skills of modifying or manipulating the course of conversation, beliefs, or behavior. Persuasion should be done with reasoning and by smoothly influencing the decision of the other person or a group of persons, without them realizing that the final decision has been influenced. Focus on where you can see the highest return on your service investments and enable tools and features that result in both cost and time savings. Assertiveness means taking control of the situation and doing what needs to be done to reach a successful conclusion. When dealing with customer problems, try not to be meek or passive. Assertiveness occupies the middle ground between those two extremes.

Must-Have Qualities of a Stellar Customer Service Rep

The ability to communicate clearly when working with customers is a key skill because miscommunications can result in disappointment and frustration. The best customer service professionals know how to keep their communications with customers simple and leave nothing to doubt. After all, customers who reach out to support are often confused and frustrated.

Empathy is key to retaining loyal customers and driving business success. Modern customer service support typically relies on using live chat. It’s a one-to-one real-time conversation session considered a form of synchronous communication. Like a phone call, synchronous customer support requires attention and has a defined framework with a start and endpoint. The biggest takeaway for agents is to demonstrate patience and self-control.

However, when serving a frustrated customer, staying poised can be easier said than done, and, ultimately, it takes practice and experience to ensure you are confident and level-headed at all times. Below are the most important components of professionalism in customer service. Resilience – an admirable quality that can significantly influence your approach to customer service. Some customer service skills are innate, some can be cultivated, and others require proper training and support from the company and management as a whole. At the end of the day, patience underlies many of the other skills needed for customer service.

Be careful to enunciate words and avoid using regional vernacular or slang. Be intentional about turning negative phrases into positive phrases. You may not have an answer right away, but rather than saying you are unable to help, guarantee to find the answer as soon as possible. This turns a negative into a positive and lets your client know you are there to take care of their needs.

The employee must then be able to determine and evaluate optimum solutions, often without the luxury of consulting with colleagues. Then it’s a case of selecting the best from the identified solutions available, to fit the customer’s needs. Finally that solution needs to be implemented, and subsequently checked to verify that it resolved the issue to the satisfaction of the customer.

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