15 Customer Service Skills Every Representative Should Master

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

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We’ve all heard the common phrase: “the customer is always right.” How you treat your clients is critical, as this has a direct impact on if they continue to use your product or service or how much money they are willing to spend. Not to mention, their experience will establish the level of loyalty they feel towards your brand. In other words, the fate of your company lies in the hands of a customer’s experience.

Everything you can possibly do to grow the satisfaction of your clients should be done from having strong policies to the sophistication of your help desk software. Yet, the most important factor that affects a customer’s experience is their interaction with you - or with your customer service representatives. The right personality for this job involves a very specific set of characteristic traits. So, whether you’re hiring someone for this role, or trying to improve your own capabilities, these are the most important customer service skills you need to consider:

01. Patience

This is the top skill usually associated with any customer service employee. Indeed, when it comes to dealing with a client’s needs, staying cool, calm, and collected is a must. For example, a customer might call frantically during a particularly busy hour, explaining that someone messed up their order and that they expect it to be corrected immediately. As their representative, acting stressed as well will not benefit either sides involved. The appropriate thing to do here is to take the time to understand exactly what happened and find the best possible solution for them.

Often times, customers use representatives as a way to direct their own frustration towards the company. While it may come across as a personal attack, stay calm and listen to what they really have to say. Their channel of communication may be incorrect, but their frustrations may be very valuable - so write down what they say and pass it along to the relevant team.

02. Problem-solving

As someone who works in customer service, your role is to find solutions to difficult challenges. Finding these solutions is always better when you’re motivated by a genuine need to help and solve problems for others. As every case is different, many issues that you’ll deal with in this role involve quick decision making. In order to achieve this, you need to be confident in yourself and the process of how you solve a problem.

Let’s take an example of a classic problem solving scenario in retail. If you sell out of a product that a customer was promised, the easy thing to do would be to just say “sorry, we can’t help you.” Providing a desirable solution and taking it one step further would be to inform them that you will add their name and contact information to a waitlist and follow-up with them when a new shipment comes in stock. Furthermore, you can think proactively and try to find them a suitable replacement or collection of alternative options. If you go out of your way to help the customer and find another angle, it won’t be a waste of either of your time.

03. A great memory

The best customer service representatives remember their clients and the conversations that took place. If a customer calls and requests to speak to you specifically about a previously discussed issue, it’s because they don’t want to repeat their story again. Recurring customers should be made to feel special and remembered.

However, depending on the size of your company it may be impossible to recall every single interaction. This is where a help desk solution, like Wix Answers, could greatly benefit your needs. With the advanced system, every conversation and interaction (phone, email, tickets, etc.) between your agents and clients is recorded in one convenient place. This way, all you have to do is check your screen to know the previous issues your client was dealing with before you start delving into the reason they are calling. If you saw from the previous time they called there was an issue with the product they ordered you could ask if the replacement item arrived and if they are satisfied with it.

04. Effective communication skills

This includes a combination of both verbal and written communication skills, as you will most likely be corresponding with customers via email, phone calls, chats, social media and more. When speaking to customers, you should respond clearly and in a concise manner - using the right mix of professionalism and authenticism at the same time. Be conscious of your word choices and tone of voice because this will set up the environment of the correspondence. Where possible, try and use ‘positive language’. This method embodies the saying, ‘it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it’. So even if you have to deliver unfortunate news, the words you choose to say it can soften the blow.

Another problem in communication is the use of technical vocabulary between you and your customer. It’s obvious that you know the precise “by-the-book” name for all of your products, but that might not be the case for your client. For example, when a customer calls us, at Wix, and says that they need help changing the name of their website, this could mean a plethora of things for our representatives: the domain name, the page title in the browse tab, or the title displayed on the site’s homepage. Although it is tempting, it is not always worth it to insist on the technical vocabulary - you always want to empower customers and you can do so by meeting them halfway with terminology.