The Customer Service Skills You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Customer ServiceIf you are in business, particularly if you are a small business owner or a new entrepreneur, you have multiple responsibilities to juggle. So it might be easy to just assume that your staff possesses the requisite set of customer service skills to keep your business running smoothly. But because even a single negative interaction can drive away existing customers and cause prospective clients to walk away from your company, it pays to make sure that your employees receive the necessary training and supervision to get crucial conversations right the first time.

An outgoing employee who prides himself or herself on being a “people person” may or may not necessarily have all the customer service skills needed to deliver exemplary service. Among the vital pieces in any staff member’s customer care toolkit are empathy, patience, and clear communication.

Here are a few of the best customer service skills a business needs to pay attention to when hiring and developing staff:

1. Product knowledge.

While every person you employ doesn’t need to know how to build every item from the ground up, everyone who deals with the public needs a thorough understanding of how your products work to be able to answer the most frequently asked questions about them.

2. An emphasis on the positive.

You can often trace the difference between a satisfied customer and an angry one to whether communications with staff were positive or negative. Train employees to phrase “no” responses in positive ways. For example, “That’s not available right now” can become “I can order that for you and we can deliver it within a few weeks.”

3. Staying calm under pressure.

The very best customer service professionals know that they need to be a steadying presence for a customer who is losing control. Train representatives to focus on problem solving, not escalating entanglements, when things get heated.

4. Create a customer-friendly environment.

To create a customer-friendly environment, coach your staff members on ending interoffice conversation when a customer walks in, giving a friendly greeting, asking how they can help, and then later following up to ensure the customer is satisfied.