Each year, companies have millions of interactions with their customers and clients, and a study by Talkdesk revealed that only 19% of customers are satisfied with the service they receive from customer contact centers. Whether the contact is over the phone, via e-mail or social media, customer service agents represent your brand and define what a customer thinks about your company. Without good customer service, you may find yourself losing customers or even worse, being part of an online smear campaign. To provide an exceptional customer service experience, your support agents need to have a strong skill set that fosters relationships, increases customer loyalty and grows your business.
Developing these skills in your service agents and seeking them out during the interview process will help build your customer relationships and provide world-class customer service.
While it seems like a no-brainer, communication is a multifaceted skill. Over the phone, all support agents need to be able to articulate information to customers in a professional yet conversational way. Having a clear and understandable voice avoids customer frustration and a welcoming demeanor makes for a pleasant customer experience.
When utilizing chat, email, social media or text, proper spelling and punctuation is a must, but communication does not stop there! It can be difficult to detect customer satisfaction through written communication, so it is essential that agents set a helpful tone through prompt, accurate and meaningful care to create a positive perception. The dialogue should allow the customer to express needs and acknowledge that they understand.
Customer service representatives are busy and have to be able to do more than one task at a time while addressing customer concerns. A successful customer support agent that can really listen is able to recognize a problem and identify customer expectations. To actively listen, agents need to be able to take cues and hone in on what customers are saying because it will not always be clear. Being able to form questions that clarify the problem will prove to the customer that you are actively listening.
Don’t forget to evaluate the system solutions that your agents are using. If it is overly complicated, it will impede your agent’s ability to focus on the customer. The right level of automation and intuitive features will maximize their attention!
A successful customer service agent will have confidence in their knowledge, skills, and ability. If they are lacking self-confidence, they will have a difficult time convincing a customer that they can solve their problem or feel comfortable enough to make an independent decision. Continuous coaching and reinforcement of successful agent behaviors will help build the habits and instill the capability to maintain confidence, even in the face of challenging customer care scenarios.
4. Intuitive, Adaptable, Creative
Every customer service interaction is different and an intuitive support agent will adapt to situations quickly and tailor their communication style as necessary. Without face-to-face interaction, it is important to notice verbal and tone cues. Additionally, strong agents will have a level of creativity that enables them to meet the customer’s needs and come up with solutions to unexpected circumstances.
Customer support agents represent the company and need to take ownership of situations that they have no control over. Sincere apologies help make the customer feel better about the situation. Blaming other departments will not solve a customer’s problem or help build brand loyalty. The use of ‘We’ statements versus ‘They’ or ‘Them’ will ensure that customers view the organization as a whole taking ownership for their wellbeing.
Genuine empathy is putting yourself in another person’s shoes to understand how they feel. Are they frustrated because they are on their third call? Are they upset because a gift was not delivered on-time? Most of us have been in a situation like this and remembering how we felt enables us to convey sincere empathy, which will make the customer feel valued and heard.
7. Patience and Resilience
Most customers are not reaching out for support because everything is sunshine and rainbows; generally, they are frustrated, confused or dissatisfied with a product, service or previous interaction. We all know customers can be overly talkative, rude, curse or even yell and it is important that agents are calm under pressure and are not easily flustered in order to remain professional.
8. Knowledge and Willingness to learn
In order to deliver a positive customer experience, agents need to have comprehensive knowledge of the company, its products, and services, as well as call center technology. Ample and ongoing training will give agents the tools they need, as long as they are willing to learn, and as time progresses, agents will be able to easily troubleshoot and answer commonly asked questions.
Customer service representatives have a demanding job that requires a strong skill set. While every new hire might not have mastery level skills, to ensure success, customer focused skills should be continuously refined in order to deliver the best customer experience and increase long-term brand loyalty.