Customer service is an essential key to building a great relationship with your customers and building a positive brand for your company. Providing excellent customer service ensures customer loyalty, and through the following skills, it transforms them from a casual consumer into a proud patron.
When tasked with hiring a new member of the Customer Service & Support team, it is critical to find individuals who can not only complete the objectives of the role they must also have excellent customer service skills. Customer service employees are the image for your company – the first impression when a customer walks in the door or hears your voice on the phone. How that individual presents themselves to a customer factors into their satisfaction of the company, the product, and the service.
The top 10 characteristics to look for when hiring a customer service employee:
Customer service representatives must have working knowledge of your company’s products and services. Research shows that customers are more inclined to purchasing a product when there is credibility, and credibility lies within a representative’s conviction of knowledge. The deeper of an understanding they have about your products and services, the more comfortable they will be in supporting and selling to your customers.
Your customer is always your top priority. A representative should always have the customer’s best interest at heart. In the sales market, customer service representatives will encounter ideal and happy customers, as well as difficult and upset customers. It is imperative that the representative remain calm no matter what. There is no shame in taking a step back or asking a manager for help with a situation.
Ability to Empathize
Being attentive to the customer’s needs is crucial characteristic of the perfect customer service employee. Empathetic skills includes the ability to sense and understand the emotions of others. It’s important that they actively listen to the customer and pay attention to their non-verbal communication, such as: body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions.
Communication and Attitude
It begins with development interpersonal skills. Clear, concise, and effective communication is the key to excellent customer service. The customer service employee should be able to speak with conviction and poise. This will help build trust and rapport with your customers. They must also be aware of their tone of voice, no one enjoys a monotone voice. To effectively open a channel of communication with the customer, it also requires the right attitude.
There is a big difference between listening to the customer and hearing the customer. Listening to the customer requires that the customer service representative focus and be perceptive to anything that they can use to help make the sale and/or help improve the customer’s experience.
The biggest mistake an employee can make, is selling a product to just to make a sale. Customers value honesty. Treat every individual customer with respect and full undivided attention. A representative should never want to make a customer feel like just another customer.
Excellent customer service does not end when the representative is done assisting the customer. Excellent customer service is being determined and following up with the customer in a timely manner thus demonstrating that they value them and their time. It is when a customer service employee shows their concern for the individual customer experience that is what leads to generating loyal customers.
It goes without saying that representative will have several things going on at once: phones ringing, daily tasks needing to be completed, customers needing help, it can all become overwhelming. This also means more room for error if they are rushed through it all without diligence. Multi-tasking is an essential skill, as it can affect performance and sales. The perfect customer service employee must be able to adapt to a fast-paced environment.
Willingness to Learn
There is always something to learn, whether it is to communicate more effectively, investing more time in the customer, or gaining a deeper understanding of the company’s products and services. A successful customer service representative will see lack of knowledge as areas in which to improve.
“Why should I invest my time and money on your product?” A classic tool for this skill is synchronization or “mirroring”. This involves matching the customer’s tone of voice, gestures, mannerisms, and words. Building rapport from the start of the interaction will help the representative later on in the sale. Sharing a story or finding commonality in any way goes a long way. With that said, the representative needs to be ready to tell the customer why they should invest in your company’s product and not your competitors. With effective communication and honesty, the perfect customer service representative should be able be to gain your customer’s trust.
Customer service is essential in every company. Your customer must feel like they received the support they were expecting and then over deliver on that expectation. If your customer service employees are able to do all of this, then they will be able to achieve mastery in customer service.
To further your customer service skills in the tech industry, read Customer Service: 10 Tips for Technical Support Representatives.
About the Author
With a B.A in Communication Studies and 10 years of experience in sales, Sandra Lopez-Denman understands the importance of providing excellent customer service. It is Sandra’s tenacity and passion for her job that has attributed to her successes in her professional career. Lopez-Denman moved to San Diego, CA three and a half years ago from Santa Monica, CA. She recently married a diehard Buckeye fan and is a proud mother of two fur babies – Onyx and Snowcap.