Customer service is often a challenging, demanding, and back-breaking job. At times, it can also feel like a thankless toil.
If you’re a service rep who lacks the right skills for the role, you will struggle big time. Even when you’re skilled and do the job well most of the time, nobody will pat you on the back which makes it appear thankless sometimes.
But yes, as a support agent, you must possess the required customer service communication skills else your organization might fail to provide the kind of experience customers deserve.
In fact, any business could lose prospects if service reps lack the mindset and attitude to excel in their work. So, no matter how great your product is, if your customer communication skills are not up to the mark, you will unwittingly make customers leave.
To stop losing customers, you have to learn how to communicate better with people and provide great service when they reach out to you. You must also get trained in customer service skills.
In this blog, we will discuss key customer communication skills and their role in winning prospects.
Importance of Customer Service Communication Skills
Customer service is a highly specialized job. It involves the use of various strategies to communicate with customers and engage them successfully. And when the service is great, a business always wins more loyal customers. However, to provide amazing service, you need to be trained in customer communication skills.
Service agents need customer communication skills for many reasons –
- 96% of consumers believe that customer service is a key factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
- More than 52% of customers make an additional purchase from a company after a positive service experience.
- Companies that excel at customer experience can grow revenues by up to 8% higher than those of competitors.
- More than 5 out of ten people would stop doing business with a company if it provides a poor customer service experience.
15 Important Customer Service Communication Skills
Support is quite a challenging task. And if you’re not good at it, or if you don’t have customer service etiquette, you might make your business lose prospects. To provide great customer service, you must have a lot of right skills, and also a good understanding of the basics of communication.
There are many vital customer service communication skills that are essential to solving problems in a smooth manner.
- Problem-solving Mindset
- Clear Communication Skills
- Effective Listening
- Ability to Use Positive Language
- A Calm Head
- Responsibility Owner
- Product Knowledge
- Willing to Learn and Improve
Customer service is often the engine that drives the wagon of any company. And if you’re not aware of customer service psychology, your organization will fail to move.
Let’s discuss each of them in detail –
1. Problem-solving Mindset
Agents often follow one of two approaches to solve customers’ problems –
- They just list out steps and solve the problem
- They look at the problem as an opportunity to serve customers
Needless to say, the second approach is more helpful to win loyalty whether you provide online customer service or otherwise.
What approach does your team follow? Does it use all the communication skills in customer service?
Well, no matter what approach your team follows, it needs to understand one thing: problem-solving is much more than just responding to customer queries.
It’s about going out of the way to make customers feel comfortable and special.
Having a problem-solving mindset means –
- Being customer-centric
- Having the knack to go the extra mile to serve customers
It’s therefore key to train your team to not only solve the problem but also try to understand emotions customers may feel or the pain they may have gone through.
2. Clear Communication Skills
Customers often expect agents to listen to their problems first, give attention, and list out solutions without any hiccup. They however may feel hugely frustrated if reps are not able to communicate well or understand their issues easily.
And when customers feel that way, it’s a sure-shot recipe for disaster. You might lose them no matter what communication channels you adopt.
To avoid reaching that stage, you first have to understand this: most service agents lack clear communication skills for customer service. Worse still, many of them are not aware of the basics of engaging with customers.
Rather than proving an asset, such reps become a liability for the business.
Do you also have such people on your service team?
Well, your service reps need to be –
- Good communicators
- Knowledgeable in the art of communication
- Able to communicate confidently with customers
In a way, your support team has to stay focused on the job, carefully listen to the customers’ problems,s and effectively answer their questions. It’s can’t get simpler than that.
Persuasion is an art to convince people with compelling arguments.
It’s not about scoring brownie points over others by using lofty language; rather, it’s about presenting facts and valid points to get home the point.
Persuasiveness is also a great skill to get the job done. In fact, a support team that uses persuasion knows how to talk to customers or how to convert fence-sitters or turn customers into loyalists.
Persuasion skills often suggest-
- Speaking confidently and presenting valid facts in front of customers during the conversation.
- Staying positive in every situation and showing customers the opportunity out of even the direst of positions.
- Having the ability to initiate, guide, and lead conversations of any nature.
Given the benefits, you should make it a point to hire the right people with the persuasive ability so that you deliver more value to customers.
All the other customer communication skills would be useless if your customer agents lacked empathy. Your business too will fail to win customers for life if service reps are not able to empathize with people.
Empathy is always a great communication trait because it bestows the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s one of the effective customer service phrases to show care.
And if you’re not empathetic –
- You won’t understand what customers think or what they expect
- You may solve the problem but will fail to treat customers in a way that delights them
It’s quite evident how a service team that is good with emotions can help your convert customers into brand evangelists.
Customer service can be quite a challenging job. It can test the nerves of even the toughest of professionals out there.
Agents have to be on the toe all the time as they may greet customers who may be angry, frustrated, confused, or engaged, sometimes all at the same time.
And it requires a special kind of skill to deal with these types of customers: patience. Your reps must know how to keep cool in the toughest of situations else it can lead to bad customer service.
When you have patience,
- You listen to the customer’s problems attentively and respond to them calmly.
- You keep cool in every type of situation and with every type of customer.
- You never rush with responses and think-through before giving solutions.
It explains the need to train your team on the virtue of patience as this skill will help them in staying positive, attentive, and mindful during customer interactions.
6. Effective Listening
Agents who listen well serve well…
In fact, good service reps know the value of being an effective listener. They realize how it’s a skill that separates professionals from amateurs in the industry.
And when we talk about effective listening, it means we also talk about having the mindset to understand customer issues in detail. We also talk about a key attitude to solve most customer service problems effectively.
An effective listener –
- Pays great attention to what customers say
- Encourages people to share more about the problem
- Has a customer-centric mindset
Don’t worry if you could not hire effective listeners for your service team. You can always train people at any stage and prepare them with effective communication and customer service skills.
More than anything else, customers look for attention when they contact a service agent. They expect support people to pay heed to their problems and listen to them.
The dilemma is, you can never be a great listener until you are attentive. Maybe that’s why service agents that possess attentiveness are able to provide better customer service compared to others.
Well, by paying attention, you can easily show customers you care about them, you value them, and you hold them in high esteem. This is how you sometimes win new customers as well.
When you’re attentive, it shows-
- You’re mindful
- You give total focus to every customer detail
- You are aware of what customers expect
If your agents are not attentive, it may impede your quest to provide great customer service. For that reason, you should train them on these important skill and get them ready to serve customers better.
8. Ability to Use Positive Language
Words have energy and power to help, to heal….to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.” – Yehuda Berg
Language is always a great tool to share positivity with people. In customer service as well, you can use it to make anyone feel special or can employ it to deliver give great experiences.
The best part, you can employ the virtues of language to deliver a personalized customer experience and create brand loyalists.
When you are good with language, you know how to inspire customers and make them happy. It can keep you positive even when you have to face customers who are angry, enraged, or frustrated.
By using positive language denotes,
- You deliberately use words or phrases that steer the conversations toward a positive outcome
- You always use a kind of language that comforts customers
- You answer everything in a way that oozes an air of positivity
There are incredible benefits of using positive language and that’s why you must train your team and set them up for effectively handling customers.
9. A Calm Head
Customer service is a tricky affair. You never know what may come and hit you. You may face an angry person one minute, a totally crazy the next, or someone venting the outburst as if ready to harm.
And if you don’t have the right skills, it will feel like you’re on the battlefield all alone without any ammunition or shied.
When it comes to dealing with rude customers, the last thing you would do is to lose your temper or lack self-control. It might make the job a lot harder than it actually is.
It’s important to stay cool else you might anger or alienate customers. In fact, keeping cool is one of the top customer service tips to not get stuck in a messy situation.
Having a calm head suggests, you;
- Remain calm in every situation whether customers show anger, use unprofessional words, or attack verbally
- Maintain a sense of decorum and professionalism even when customers don’t
- Pay heed to the message and never shoot off the messenger
Not having a cool head can be hugely detrimental to your ambition of delivering great service and keeping customers happy.
10. Responsibility Owner
How you solve a customer’s issue is far more important than just providing a solution. Customers may feel bad and unhappy if the problem is not solved in a way that makes them feel good about it.
And if service reps are not adept at customer experience tips, they might frequently resort to call transfers or escalations. This is something customers dislike a lot.
It’s therefore important to have agents who can fix the issue without seeking an escalation. A business always needs service reps who know what it means to own responsibility for customer issues.
Being a responsibility owner equates to,
- Having the ability and product knowledge to make decisions independently
- Avoiding seeking help from senior colleagues all the time
- Giving customers the confidence that their problem can be solved without any escalation
It explains why a service rep needs to take responsibility for the problems he’s engaged to handle in the first place.
The key is to offer resolution in a single interaction so that customers find agents responsible and capable.
11. Product Knowledge
Agents are only as good as the knowledge they have about the company they represent.
And if agents are not aware of the product, how can they do justice to the job and improve customer experience? Worse still, a support team that lacks product knowledge can even cause damage to the brand reputation.
Reps must know the product inside out so that they can confidently help customers as and when needed. And when a support team is not properly trained on the product, there are always tons of customer complaints to face.
Having product knowledge means,
- Reps are always up-to-date on company policies
- They are aware of product specs and know everything about the processes and systems
Make sure your agents are trained on the product as this will prepare them for challenges in customer service.
For most customers, service reps are nothing more than a punching bag. And this dubious reputation was not created overnight.
In fact, agents have always been subject to all types of barb…anger, insults, frustration, bad words. The situation has not changed much as even today support people are expected to face it all on the chin and move on without flinching.
Since support people are always on the front line of a business, they’re bound to come in direct fireline of customers’ frustration. And if they are not rough and tough, they would not survive even a single job in the job.
In fact, a great agent has to have thick skin to face the rigor of the industry and exceed customer expectations.
Service representatives develop a thick skin when they –
- Not take things for personal when it comes to being at the customer’s ire.
- Keep calm, stay positive and maintain professionalism even if customers are hell-bent to abuse.
- Feel motivated to face tough customers as a challenge and grow from each such interaction.
13. Willing to Learn and Improve
Rigid persons don’t make a good service agent. They also do a lot of customer service mistakes. And if a support agent is not open to new ideas, he/she is not going to succeed at the job.
So, why would an organization hire someone who does not show a willingness to continuously learn and improve on the job?
After all, customer service is quite a demanding field as you meet new people with ever-changing expectations. So, you not only need to have the right mindset but also the flexibility to work with new technologies and trends to do the job smoothly.
Make sure you as a service agent –
- Have a mindset to improve on the job
- Show inclination to learn all the time with the view to help customers
- Are open to working with new policies and rules
Customer service needs persons with a methodical approach. It does not need someone who’s just concerned with the problem at hand without any oversight.
If you’re are not detail-oriented, you will make a mess of the solution. You may not even provide a complete solution.
When an individual is detailed in mindset, they’d often –
- Think through the problem before coming up with a response
- Will bring their total attention and energy to each problem
- Follow up with customers to check if the response was satisfactory
You may not train a person overnight to become attentive but can at least teach them the importance of building customer relationships by being attentive.
Organizations never hire a customer rep who is not flexible. They know such reps will find it tough to do justice to their job in a field that demands the ability to stretch.
Being flexible is a key skill to have since customers may vary, situations may vary and even technologies can vary from time to time. And if the agent lacks flexibility, he/she won’t be able to meet customer needs or the demands of the job.
Even if reps are sometimes not the right match for the job, there is always training to do the needful and prepare them for the rigors of the job.
Make sure you have flexibility as one of the customer service communication skills to thrive in the industry.
Use AI Chatbot from REVE Chat and Improve Your Customer Communication Skills
Chatbots are a wonderful tool when it comes to taking customer engagement to the next level. Your business can use AI chatbots and engage with customers 24×7.
You can trust artificial intelligence bots to deliver consistent answers and provide a personal touch to conversations.
What’s more, bots are also quite intelligent to analyze responses based on customer details and history. They can add to your agent’s customer service communication skills and make them more powerful.
We, at REVE Chat, understand how you can use a feature-rich bot to engage at a personal level and drive conversations.
Our bot can help you deliver fast, real-time responses to enhance customers’ experience with your brand.
Customer communication is an art and you need the mindset of an artist to excel at it. You need to be skilled and trained to handle customers in the best way possible and deliver value to them at each step of the way.
With REVE Chat, you can expect the great value to your customer service communication strategy as we have a powerful chatbot solution for business.
Start your free trial and take the step towards reaching out to customers in the way it should.
With the right tool in hand, your support team can add to their customer service communication skills, which in turn, can help you win people for life.