Customer service can be a difficult industry with a high turnover. But there are a few secrets that the best customer service agents use to stay friendly, clear, and knowledgeable when in communication with their customers. Whether your agents are using phone calls, social media, email, or all three, there are specific skills that every customer service agent should incorporate.
Each method of communication requires different customer service skills and some overlapping skills are needed throughout all three. If you are ready to start interviewing customer service agents or are looking to train up your staff, these fundamental skills are what you need to be on the lookout for.
Never interrupt your customer, even if you already know how to solve their problem. Listen to their entire complaint, then respond with your answers. If you miss an important detail from their complaint or question, then you cannot correctly solve their issue. Never assume you’ll know exactly what the customer will say.
Smiling over the phone can convey a positive attitude in your voice. Although the person on the other end cannot see your face, they will be able to pick up on clues that you are smiling through the tone of your voice and the way that you are speaking. Use your judgment when using this tool. No one will appreciate you smiling through their problems when they want you to sympathize with them.
After you have listened to your customer’s entire question or complaint, don’t forget to let them know that you understand where they’re coming from and that you are happy to be helping them out. Again, customers want you to sympathize with their problems, as well as solve them. This is a humanizing trait that makes your company come off as caring and authentic.
Mirroring is a way in everyday life to make other people comfortable and subconsciously show that you are listening and interested in what the other party is saying. It is a great tool to use on the phone, in person, or through text messaging as well. Watch how often you use this tool as mirroring a customer’s anger won’t do your company any favors.
Be upfront with your customer. In other words, don’t lie to your customer and say that they will be on hold for 30 seconds when it’s going to take 15 minutes. They will most likely hang up and be angry the next time they call you, if they decide to ever call again. This is an essential rule for all customer service agents. If the wait times are incredibly long and you don’t want to lose your customer, offer to call them back as a courtesy to save them from waiting.
Templates are like scripts for your agents to follow. However, instead of coming off as mechanical like an agent would if they were merely reading from a script, templates are more of a guideline. These guides can contain answers to commonly asked questions and other useful strategies to keep your agents from getting stuck.
When your agents use these helpful templates and guidelines, they should still be adding their own spin to them. Everyone’s personality is different, and when your customer agent shows off their unique personality, the advice and guidance they are giving comes off as more authentic.
8. Time Frames
When responding to email, chat, or social media, be sure to reply promptly. Chat and social media should be instant, while email has a slight leeway time. However, emails shouldn’t take that long because your customers might get concerned that you didn’t receive their message. Consider setting up an auto-response to emails letting your customers know that you received their email and will be responding with an answer to their inquiry in a suitable time frame.
Your customer service agents should know the questions that they need to ask their customers in order to get a complete story from them. Once they have all the facts, they need to be able to summarize the issues and come up with the best solution.
10. Skill Range
Your customer service agents should be able to handle a variety of customer service channels and be able to multitask. All agents should be trained in chat, phone service, and social media.