Customer service is an extremely important aspect of running a business, which is why companies invest huge amounts of time and money in customer service courses and training methods. However, building a strong team can be a real challenge, as there are a number of essential components.
Here, we take a look at five skills that any good customer service team needs.
1. Communication Skills
The ability to communicate effectively is an absolutely crucial customer service skill for your team to possess. This includes having team members who can convey information in a clear way – whether it is through speech, letters, emails, or on social media – but also requires the ability to obtain and retain information from customers as well.
Someone with good communication skills will be a good listener, will utilise positive rather than negative words, and will make effective use of body language. Ideally, they will also have a strong talent for persuasion, allowing them to convince interested customers that your products or services are right for them.
2. Knowledge of Products and Services
While it may seem like an obvious point, good customer service relies heavily on the individual team members knowing what they are talking about when dealing with customers. This, in turn, requires a detailed knowledge of the products and/or services your business has to offer.
For that reason, a huge part of your customer service training should focus on educating staff members. Their knowledge should be based on what a customer may want (or need) to know, meaning it probably won’t include the intricacies of how a product is made, but must include a deep understanding of how a product actually works.
Patience is a vital asset for anyone working in a customer service role and its importance should be stressed to your team. Customers will often only reach out to staff members if they are angry, confused or desperate, and patience makes dealing with emotionally charged people significantly easier.
“Also be sure to take the time to truly figure out what they want,” says Gregory Ciotti, a marketing professional for Help Scout. “They’d rather get competent service than be rushed out the door.”
When it comes to discussing examples of poor customer service, people often cite times when they felt ignored, or as though their needs were not deemed to be important. Repeated studies have also shown that ignoring customers is extremely damaging to the relationship between a business and its clients, so avoiding it should be a priority.
In fact, research carried out by Conversocial found that more than 1 in 4 customers would stop doing business with a company if they were ignored, while almost half would be less likely to do business with a company if they saw other customers being ignored. Therefore, it is important to have attentive staff, who are always willing and able to offer help, anticipate problems and generally engage with your customer base.
5. A Calming Influence
At those difficult times when things become heated, staff members who have the ability to defuse a situation are invaluable. As a result, you need team members who are not only able to keep their cool under pressure, but who also have a calming influence on those around them.
The ability to stay calm, no matter what the situation or how intense a customer is, can help to make sure any solutions are completely rational and carefully thought through. Moreover, that calm approach can easily rub off on other staff members and on customers, making the entire situation a whole lot less volatile.
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