5 Skills Your Customer Service Team Needs to Develop

Happy customers are a direct product of great customer service. See what skills are needed for an exceptional customer service experience. 

Published on 9 September, 2016 | Last modified on 1 November, 2022
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Customer service is key to the success of any business. A huge amount of data supports the notion that a happy customer is a loyal customer. This is exactly why your customer service team is so important. Happy customers are a direct outcome of great customer service.

As such, training programs for your customer service team need to be high-quality, hitting all of the most important aspects of dealing with consumers. But what skills are the most critical and how do you teach them? Let’s take a look:

1. Empathy: Groove named empathy the absolute most important skill for a customer service team member. Possessing the ability to understand how a customer feels is crucial when dealing with potential problems. Employees who recognize the emotions and frustrations of a customer in a bind are better equipped to handle the situation as a whole. In order to train your employees to be empathetic, Groove suggested encouraging your team to spend time with people who are different than themselves. Whether this be by way of striking up a random conversation on the way to work or opening up spaces for interdepartmental conversations, learning to see things through different lenses can help encourage empathy.

2. Positivity: Positivity can help make light of even the worst situations. In customer service, employees will often need to deal with disgruntled customers who are frustrated with some aspect of your business’s offerings. In these cases, staying positive is very important. Groove explained that positivity in customer service is focused on language. When things are phrased in a negative manner the customer will likely resort to becoming defensive. Avoid phrases like “I’m afraid that  …” or “Unfortunately  …” as they both give off negative tones. Try compiling a list of positive responses that can serve as alternatives to negative turns of phrase and include the list in your employee training. Print out these solutions so that staff members can keep them on their desk as a reminder.

Staying positive is an important aspect of good customer service.Staying positive is an important aspect of good customer service.

3. Patience: Remember that disgruntled customer we mentioned? Well, patience will help when positivity doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. Customer service teams deal with challenging situations day in and day out. As such, patience is a very necessary skill. It’s been said that patience can’t be taught, it can only be experienced. And while it’s imperative to be patient in customer service, it is not the easiest quality to master. However, there are a few ways to help foster patience in your customer service staff. Leaders can begin by training their employees to recognize the warning signs leading up to excessive irritation, explained Groove. Once your employees begin to notice when their patience wears thin, they can train themselves to self-soothe. Maybe a couple of deep breaths will help, or perhaps you have a stress ball lying around nearby to squeeze. Whatever you settle on, teach your team to turn to those calming techniques in order to preserve their patience.

4. Clarity: Communication is a huge part of any customer service job and clear communications can result in improved customer interactions across the board. Groove explained that clarity in communication not only results in happier customers but in big wins for your business. Being able to get a message across in the most effective manner possible can make a world of difference. When creating training materials for your customer service team, clarity should be a top priority. Try providing your staff members with complicated topics, and from there ask them to explain the subject as if they needed a 5-year-old child to understand it, suggested Groove. This activity can help your employees see how many unnecessarily complicated phrases or jargon they use in everyday communication.

“The combination of these five skills will create an unstoppable customer service team.”

5. Improvement: Every team within a business should be continually striving to improve. Your customer service team is no exception. Train these employees to desire personal and professional growth every day they are on the job. According to Groove, improvement training requires 2things: motivation and measurement. Provide your staff with small incentives that take the form of motivation, like a company lunch or a day off. Try making your goals for improvement bite-sized. Commit to reaching 1 percent improvement on a variety of tasks. Whether it be 1 percent faster response rates or 1 percent increased clarity in communications, these little goals will add up considerably over time.

All of these training tips can create an exceptional customer service staff within your company. Whether you need to teach your existing team some new tricks or want to present these critical skill sets to upcoming hires, the combination of these 5 skills will create an unstoppable customer service team.

[Free Webinar] Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Training9-29-2016-8-49-12-am

Millions of dollars are being invested in training each year. But how are organizations measuring the effectiveness of their training, especially soft skills training like sales? At Richardson, Eileen Krantz, Vice President of Client Analytics, has discovered that some clients believe that there is just an inherent value in providing quality sales training, others are more concerned with just aligning training with the sales strategy, and some develop a comprehensive measurement strategy to isolate the financial return on their investment.

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