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Key statistics

  • 66% of customers switch companies due to bad customer service – Accenture.
  • 82% felt their customer service provider could have done something to prevent them from switching – Accenture.
  • A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service-related vs. price or product related – Bain & Co.
  • 58% will never use the company again after a negative experience – NewVoice
  • It is 6–7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer
  • 76% of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them – 2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey

Customer service is more than serving people – it is about improving their experiences with high-quality assistance that emphasizes good communication, technological prowess, empathy, and writing skills. Great customer service skills aren’t just for people who work in the customer service department. Instead, customer service is a mindset that’s baked into a company’s DNA and culture. Businesses need great customer service teams to keep their customers; after all, almost 90% of customers started doing business with a competitor after a customer service experience. So what skills should you look for, or look to develop, in your customer service teams?

Patience

Patience is absolutely key. Customer service agents need to appear totally unflappable, showing patience when things aren’t going right on their end. An agent who has patience in customer service is more likely to have a calm customer than one who is demonstrating their frustration. The customer’s always right, right? The ability to swallow one’s pride and accept blame or negative feedback is crucial.

Must-have customer service skills that every business needs

 

Clear communication

Customer service experts absolutely must have the ability to communicate clearly and well. They are often the staff that customers speak to the most, and they are likely to leave a lasting impression. More than a quarter of satisfied customers recommend a business to their friends. To be satisfied at the end of a call, customers need to understand what is happening at each step of the way.

Zimvest

While communicating clearly, you need to pay attention to the following:

  • Speedy response

Ensure that all tickets are either resolved or escalated within a certain period of time. The time you first reply is all-important, so clearly define expectations with your staff members, and with your customers.

[READ MORE: Essential soft skills that will help you succeed in your business]

Standard chartered
  • Be Concise and to the point

Remember that the reader of your email or text messages is reading many, many emails, so do them a favour and make your message concise and to-the-point. People, especially today, just don’t have the patience to read a lot of unnecessary verbiages. You’re not trying to impress with your great writing skills; you’re actually trying to help your customers.

Standard chartered
  • Personalize your messages

All emails should have their own personality: Don’t be robotic with your messages – They need to know that their messages came from an actual person, so use your own voice and approach. You’ll be reflecting your company’s philosophy and persona in your own way, but when closing the message use a signature based on the resolution and tone of the interaction.

Product knowledge

It seems obvious that customer service agents need to have product knowledge, and many companies give agents scripts to share with customers about problems. But scripts only go so far; customer service agents need to be able to improvise based on their own knowledge of the product.

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[READ ALSO: How to choose the right co-founder for your startup]

Positive language

If you want to make your customer feel comfortable and relaxed during their conversation with you, you must adopt a positive and friendly tone of voice. By being natural, enthusiastic, helpful, and attentive you’re providing good customer service. When you answer the phone with your greeting, smile as you offer your greeting: it’s true that a smile can be ‘heard’ through a telephone. By smiling as you connect with your customer you’ll begin a positive interaction and allow for a friendly and productive exchange. Research has shown that positive language is vastly more effective in creating a positive mindset.

Use their name

The moment you hear a customer’s name, use it. It’s important that you use their name while having a conversation, so try to include it naturally throughout your conversation: don’t be too obvious and abuse the use of their name. Also, and this is important, ask for the correct pronunciation of their name: customers appreciate this; plus it’s just good manners. You may also want to ask for the right spelling, if appropriate. It’s always much nicer speaking to someone who calls you by your name: again – great customer service!

Leave your customer happy

When you finish a conversation on a positive note it will leave a lasting and positive impression and a happy customer. To achieve a nice ending to a telephone call, before you hang up to ensure that your caller completely understands the information you provided. Ask your customer ‘Is there anything further I can do for you’? Answer all their questions to the best of your ability to ensure your customer’s total comprehension and satisfaction. Do they require any information in the future? If they need to call back, provide appropriate times when they should call, and who they should ask to speak to.

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Must-have customer service skills that every business needs

Give your customers a way to provide feedback

No matter how proactive you are, you’ll never be able to get in front of every customer issue. To make sure you learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly experience your customers have, create an easily accessible way for customers to give feedback.

Whether it’s a phone survey at the end of a service call, an email survey sent directly from your CRM tool, or a form on the “Contact Us” page of your website, creating a means for customers to give feedback makes it easier for you to learn what needs improvement.

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