Top 10 customer service traits & skills for your resume
To excel in support, you need the right capabilities and personality traits. Product knowledge is a great asset (see below), but agents also need to demonstrate they can form relationships with customers, think on their feet, solve problems, and keep cool under duress. Show companies your resume stands above the rest by proving you possess the following important customer service skills:
What it is: The ability to connect with someone about their feelings and have meaningful interactions. It means putting yourself in their shoes and understanding their truth.
Real life example: A customer has trouble getting data reports from your product. They’re extremely frustrated because their job depends on collecting the insights from these reports. Agents can empathize by letting the customer speak first and once they’re done, offering some understanding (I imagine how upsetting it is to struggle with this when it’s a huge part of your role. Let me see how I can help.”)
Why it’s important: Empathy shows you care about making the customer feel heard and understood, two hallmarks of great customer service. Yes, excellent customer service helps the bottom line, but it also creates trust between customers and the company, makes it easier to solve issues, and helps you better understand your customers.
What it is: Defining a problem, determining its cause, and identifying, prioritizing, and implementing a solution.
Real life example: A customer calls tech support because they’re having issues with their internet service. The agent asks the customer targeted questions to try and identify the problem. After running through a series of questions, the agent starts recommending potential solutions. After trying the first suggestion with no success, the agent moved on to other solutions until they reached a resolution.
Why it’s important: A good problem solver can turn a customer into a loyal advocate, help maintain the support team’s efficiency, improve the product or service, and provide a positive customer experience. Problem solving also plays a role in meeting support KPIs, such as first time resolution, CSAT, customer churn, and so on.
Clear and honest communication
What it is: Speaking in a way that’s straightforward, easy to understand, and truthful.
Real life example: A confused customer calls asking how to complete a transaction online. The agent listens to the customer and can sense they’re at the beginning stages of using the product. The agent then walks them through the process step by step, using language they understand.
Why it’s important: Communicating clearly and honestly means you can better meet customers’ expectations in terms of how to use the product or service. Clear and honest communication builds trust between customers and the company and increases the likelihood of them buying from you again.
What it is: The ability to understand and retain what the speaker is saying while withholding judgement. The listener may listen closely to the customer’s tone of voice and inflections to better understand their message and absorb what they’re saying.
Real life example: A distraught customer calls support due to fraudulent charges on their credit card. The agent listens to the entire story before diving into a solution. “Credit card fraud is scary, but we’ll get this sorted out. Let’s start with the first charge you mentioned for a $7,000 watch…”
Why it’s important: Part of solving customers’ problems is making them feel heard. Even if the problem is a common issue, listening without making assumptions or judgement helps agents solve issues faster and avoid any misunderstandings about what the customer needs. When customers feel heard, they’ll likely have more positive feelings about your brand.
What it is: The combined actions of a group of people working together effectively to achieve a goal.
Real life example: Agent A receives a ticket about an SEO feature. With an expertise in integrations, Agent A knows they don’t have the knowledge needed to solve this issue. The agent loops in SEO features expert Agent B to help resolve the customer’s issue.
Why it’s important: Meeting support KPIs and metrics isn’t an individual effort; it takes an entire team aligned to the same values and goals to contribute towards an organization’s success. When support has teammates who specialize in specific aspects of a product (also called product experts), the organization can create more satisfying resolutions for the customers.
Product or technical knowledge
What it is: Being able to fully understand and effectively communicate with customers about your product, its features, benefits, uses, and support needs.
Real life example: A customer gets a hold of an agent and asks about a certain feature in a product. The agent—who constantly stays updated about this feature— wastes no time explaining in clear language how it works and ways they can get the most out of it.
Why it’s important: Agents who know the product inside and out can answer questions faster and offer stronger explanations, allowing them to quickly solve the issue and move on to other tickets. Customers feel more comfortable going to support or may even continue doing business with the company after a positive experience.
Ability to take responsibility
What it is: Taking responsibility means owning up to any mistakes, taking ownership of your role in an initiative, day-to-day tasks, and working towards a solution.
Real life example: A customer ordered a product over the phone with a customer service representative. Later, the customer emails support asking why they didn’t receive what they ordered. The agent looks over the order and acknowledges they processed an incorrect order, apologizes for the mistake, and corrects the order.
Why it’s important: Agents make mistakes, it happens. Customers will feel heard if agents acknowledge their part in a misunderstanding or difficult situation and work on resolving the issue as best they can. A satisfying resolution means the support team is heading the right direction in terms of meeting customers’ needs.
What it is: An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with aggravation.
Real life example: An unhappy customer wants the product to support more languages: “This is completely unacceptable. We specifically chose your product because we need this function. We should cancel our plan immediately.” The agent takes a deep breath, allows them to finish what they’re saying, and calmly offers a solution: “’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble. Since languages are a priority for you, here’s what we can do…”
Why it’s important: Agents will often come across unhappy customers. At times, these customers may take their frustrations out on the agent. Agents who can stay calm, exercise empathy, and remain helpful will help diffuse tension, potentially turning an aggrieved customer into an advocate. When agents realize a customers’ frustration isn’t personal, they can find creative solutions to issues and satisfy customers.
What it is: The ability to rapidly learn new skills and behaviors in response to changing circumstances.
What does it look like: A customer asks a billings agent about onboarding. The agent realizes they have knowledge gaps in this area. They look for an onboarding expert to lend a hand but all the experts are on calls. The agent then quickly searches support’s internal knowledge base to find a helpful article for the customer.
Why it’s important: Adaptability goes a long way in achieving success in relationships with customers and helps agents to cope with changing conditions and managing different types of situations. Sometimes, agents will need to adjust when they don’t have certain resources available. Being able to pivot and drive towards a successful resolution is crucial for a positive customer experience and delivering great support.
What is is: Knowing how much time you have to complete certain tasks and focusing on what’s most important.
Real life example: An agent receives a call from a VIP customer and an email from a free-trial user within 2 minutes of each other. The agent knows the VIP customer has a specific service level agreement concerning response time so they help them first before moving on to the next person.
Why it’s important: Sometimes agents’ queues will fill up with tickets ranging from urgent to less critical. When they have a full stack of tickets they need to get through agents should be able to pick out those that need their attention first. This way, all customers receive help, but those who have developed relationships with the company feel they’re looked after.
Get your resume ready for your next customer service role
When applying for a customer service role, you need to show the business not only that you care about resolving tickets but that you’re invested in helping customers succeed. While some of these skills can be taught, others are essential personality traits that lend to a team’s success. Help your resume stand out by demonstrating you possess the above skills and traits.