Skills your agents need to stay ahead of the customer service game.

Every customer interaction is unique. Some are polite. Others are inquisitive. They can even be a little demanding. But no matter the type, each customer is special to your business.

 

When customers evince an interest in your business, you don’t treat them as just another deal to close; instead, you embark on a journey with each customer. From marketing campaigns to pricing and quality of the product, this journey is influenced by different factors. However, if you want to transform this journey from a sojourn to something more eternal, there’s  one thing you need to do— provide exemplary customer service.

Transforming a customer interaction from average to amazing takes more than just the right tools. You also need skilled agents who can effectively create the experience your customers desire and need.  A survey by Accenture shows that lack of knowledge among customer service agents is the second most cited reason customers switch companies. To keep this from happening to you, it’s important to know what skills your customer support agents need to master.

The skill set shouldn’t stop with “being a people’s person” or “having the gift of the gab”. It needs to be more specific, more focused. Here’s a list  of  basic but important skills that will boost the quality of your customer service: 

Time Management

 Time management is an underrated but essential skill for customer service agents. Does it involve closing tickets in a frenzy while pumping yourself with caffeine? No, that’s burnout. Time management is the opposite of that.

 The key to time management is in the details and the tiniest of tasks that when compounded, can improve your ability to quickly resolve issues. It can be tracking down tickets before they become overdue. It can be pulling your team into the ticket when you find difficulties at the first step. It can even be a simple automated reply you send to customers. By adopting such measures, focus on the one thing that truly matters: creating wholesome customer experiences.

Clarity

While contacting call centers, customers might be upset, anxious, or even angry. Don’t worsen their situation (and yours) by giving ambiguous answers. When you need to convey an important update, be concise and don’t complicate it. Ensure that you deliver accurate information to the customer without glossing over details. By providing clear answers, you won’t waste time clarifying anything the customer didn’t understand the first time.

Presence of mind

When a scene in a play gets awkward,  do the actors freeze or get frustrated because they’ve deviated from the script? No, they improvise accordingly and save the play. Similarly, when different customers bring different challenges, improvising or thinking on your feet should be encouraged rather than sticking with the script. When complicated issues arise, it is essential to decide on the best possible solution for the customer; thereby, avoiding a potentially embarrassing situation for your contact center.

Optimism

Facing a barrage of complaints on a daily basis is the most difficult position anyone can face. It can sap your energy and turn you into a cynical zombie. Staying positive is a key skill that can help you wade through the tiring customer service process. It also impacts your interaction with customers, especially when you’ve got to break bad news.

 While you don’t need to be bombastic, being blunt can lead to serious consequences. Avoiding negative indicators (i.e. unfortunately, can’t), being a tad impersonal, and providing alternatives instead of denying availability can go a long way in creating a favorable impression among customers. Additionally, a touch of patience and an extra layer of  skin can go a long way too.

Empathy

The oft-repeated, yet essential part of customer service is empathy. It is easy to lose your cool when dealing with difficult customers. However, to understand what the customers want from your service, put yourself in their shoes and approach the situation from their perspective. Looking at the problem from the customers’ point of view gives a better picture of the issue. This can positively impact your interactions with your customers and enhances the customer’s experience with your contact center. After all, providing solutions with a humane touch is all that matters in customer service.

For people-centric domains like customer service, possessing the right skill set is very important to create a good impression on the customers. These are just a few of the skills that we have listed. What do you think? Feel free to add more skills in the comments!

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