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When we talk about customer service skills, it is not about a certain aspect or trait but the ‘feel’ of the entire interaction on a person-to-person basis. Granted that dealing with customers is not an easy task, more so customers who are impatient or angry.
Here when we talk about positivity, it refers more to the use of language, both verbal and non-verbal (body language, gestures etc.), from which the other person can get positive cues. Taking a measure of skills and processes and the successes through metrics is very important. About the author: Achal Mehrotra is a professional blogger and content marketing specialist. Customer service skills, tips, ideas, strategies and advice for anyone interested in building stronger customer relationships, increating brand loyalty, customer loyalty and customer retention. Recognize that raising your voice when dealing with someone who speaks another primary language is useless. Tucker assumes that Chan cannot speak English and raises his voice as he yells, “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” Not only did Chan understand, but he later begins to communicate fluently in English.
To prevent embarrassment and degradation involving customers, take time to research various cultures and try to learn some basic phrases spoken by foreign-born customers who frequently do business with your organization. By improving your cultural awareness, global knowledge, and communication skills you can improve the chances that you will provide excellent customer service to a customers. For additional ideas on how to successfully provide service to people who are different from you, check out Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service Across Cultures and Customer Service Skills for Success. Gaining customer loyalty and getting repeat business are crucial for organizational success in today’s global business world. Unfortunately, many organizational leaders have not recognized the need to adopt customer service as a strategic initiative. The simple solution for gaining customer loyalty and getting repeat business is to make every customer experience positive.
For additional ideas on ways to improve customer service in any organization, check out Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service across Cultures, Customer Service Skills for Success, and How to Be a Great Call Center Representative. There seem to be a number of issues that are driving the anger that many customers display when dealing with customer service representatives these days.
Dealing with disgruntled people requires a certain amount of caution, especially in a time when so many people are becoming violent in response to what they perceive as issues beyond their control. Before dealing with customers in general, check with your supervisor to find out what your organization’s policies are and what level of authority you have in making decisions related to problem resolution.
The following are customer service skills and strategies that you can use when responding to an angry customer during service breakdowns.
While there is no guarantee that these strategies will work in all situations, they provide some basic communication skills and service strategies for helping customer service representatives create a positive outcome to a negative situation. As an example of how perceptions might differ when communicating, consider the fact that various cultures take a different view of silence during an interaction. For additional thoughts and strategies on how to interact with customers from differing backgrounds, check out Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service across Cultures.
Time management skills in a diverse customer service world are crucial in order to take advantage of opportunities to effectively interact with customers from various cultures. In a diverse customer service world, the perspectives that many people have of time perception are often based on religious dogma or personal and cultural beliefs. As an example of how time perception differences are common, ask people from various cultures or subcultures what they perceive an acceptable time for being late to an appointment might be. Just as in business situations, if you invite international customers to a dinner meeting or social event, you can anticipate that they will arrive at different times.
If you interact with customers outside your own cultural group regularly, one tip for effectively delivering customer service in a positive manner is to do research on how your customer’s from a particular culture perceive time. In case you have not been paying attention in recent years, many time-honored national and international organizations have disappeared or are struggling to remain competitive. In a global marketplace where the nearest competitor is likely to be only a mouse click away, this can be deadly.
Global competition (many organizations now conduct B2B and business-to-consumer operations via technology where they can reach far beyond their normal geographic location). Changing demographics and values (a more diverse customer base with varying needs and people who move from one location to another, but they do not leave their cultural and personal preferences behind).
The reality is that customers have many choices for the same or similar products and services in today’s world. For ideas on the knowledge and customer service skills that every employee needs to help make customer service a competitive distinction within his or her organization, check out Customer Service Skills for Success and Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service Across Cultures. Effective customer service skills are important for every employee in an organization, but are crucial for front-line customer service representatives who are the first contact point for customers. Customer service representatives must have the knowledge and skills required to respond appropriately in a timely manner. The following are four customer service skills that can help enhance customer satisfaction and increase customer loyalty. For more information on effective skills and strategies for customer service representatives that can lead to enhanced customer satisfaction and stronger customer loyalty, check out Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service across Cultures, Customer Service Skills for Success and American Management Association’s self-study course, How to Be a Great Call Center Representative. Delivering excellent customer service as part of a service culture has become a pivotal determinant in global competition between organizations. In order to achieve customer satisfaction and reduce the customer churn rate, everyone in the organization must adopt a customer-centric approach in the way that service is provided. All employees are involved in customer service today and must be open-minded and flexible when dealing with customers. Preparing customer service representatives in the twenty-first century has become a prime strategic initiative in many organizations.
Successful managers recognize the need to reduce their customer churn rate and realize that if their customers go away, so do their jobs and organization.
In addition to effectively training employees, customer-focused organizations also ensure that all supervisors and managers have been trained on ways to effectively coach and mentor staff members. A final means of preparing customer service representatives for the challenges that they will likely face on any given day is to empower them to make decisions, when necessary to satisfy a customer or resolve and issue that arises. The ability of knowledgeable, capable, and enthusiastic employees to deliver products and services to their internal and external customers in a manner that satisfies identified and unidentified needs and ultimately results in positive word-of-mouth publicity and return business. 5 Great resources for customer service skills trainingThese 5 resources are often very an affordable way to help you get started on customer service skills training within your organization and to help you define the right type of customer service strategy that will make a positive impact in your customer experience. But there is perceptive difference between an “average” customer service professional and a “fantastic” one. Whatever the situation, it’s best not to lose your cool and trying not to argue point for point with the customer. Developing empathy towards customers is literally putting yourself into their shoes and understanding what can make them happy. Using simple and easy to understand language and terms while explaining product features and so on helps the customer feel a connect with the person explaining and makes the entire process smoother. Emails, questionnaires and surveys help to get a grip on factors that can improve customer interaction without actually intruding into their time and privacy. That is because assumptions can often cause relationship breakdowns and misunderstandings when dealing with someone who speaks another native language.
For some reason, many Americans feel that if they raise their voice to someone who does not speak English well, that the person will understand what is being said. In fact, yelling or changing tone does nothing to enhance understanding and may well anger or embarrass your customer. Too many managers and small business owners do not recognize that customer loyalty is not just about competitive pricing and product line offerings.
They also fail to identify consumer trends and go to the effort of meeting changing customer needs, wants and expectations. By investing in customer service skills and communication training for all employees, upgrading equipment, processes and policies regularly, and looking at service through the customer’s eyes, customer loyalty and satisfaction is attainable. Contributing factors might include the economy, displeasure with government, unemployment, perceived poor service in general and many other challenges facing society. For you to effectively serve an angry customer, you must first help the customer move beyond the emotions of the moment in order to discover the reason for their anger or frustration.
By having this information before a customer encounter, you will have the tools and knowledge necessary to better handle your customers effectively and professionally. Remember, angry customers are usually frustrated with the organization, product, or service that you represent, not at you.

By taking this approach, you’ve acknowledged the customer’s feelings, demonstrated a willingness to assist, and asked the customer to participate in solving the problem. Indicate that you understand why he or she is angry and that you will work with them to resolve the issues. Negative words such as problem, no, can’t and you (directed at the person and indicating that they did or did not do something they should have) can be like throwing gasoline on fire when dealing with an emotionally charged person. This is especially true related to understanding other cultural values and effectively communicating. For years, anthropologists and others have studied the use of time in various cultures to try to better understand why some people view it differently. For example, in the United States where the Puritans brought ideas of efficient use of time and a focus on the future, their culture developed to where today people focus on change, moving forward at a fast pace and getting more done with less. By raising your cultural awareness,  you will be better prepared to effectively handle situations where customers are either early or late for meetings and social events. In most instances, this can be attributed to the fact that managers and executives did not effectively predict coming societal changes.
The organizations that are prospering in the world are those that have focused on customer service as a strategic competitive initiative. If an organization and its employees do not place customers at the top of their priority list when making decisions, it is quite likely that they may not get a second chance to work with a customer. Anything less can negatively impact customer satisfaction and could lead to disgruntled customers, increased customer churn and negative word-of-mouth publicity. Few things are more frustrating for a customer than a customer service representative who lacks the knowledge or available information to answer a question or help resolve an issue with products or services that the customer either has or wants.
Listening is the most used sense that most people have to gather information in order to formulate a response or make a decision. All customer service representatives must possess effective communication skills and be able to effectively communicate verbally, non-verbally and in writing in order to interact appropriately with customers.
If a customer service representative possesses and uses the four skills mentioned, he or she is likely to be more effective in working with customers.
As the world has gotten smaller because or geopolitical changes, trade agreements, personal mobility and connections via technology, the way that companies do provide customer service and business has morphed. Customer retention and the establishment of customer service as a differentiating strategic policy is crucial in gaining and maintaining market share, especially for small businesses. A paramount point for every employee to remember is that while vision starts at the top of an organization, it is the point-of-contact person who the customer reacts to and remembers. They must embrace change, continually seek customer service training and upgrade their product and service knowledge while seeking to identify new, more effective and efficient ways to deliver service on a daily basis. You can also take the American Management Association self-study course, How to Be a Great Call Center Representative.
That is because they face many challenges in achieving customer satisfaction, increasing customer retention and building customer loyalty that their predecessors did not experience. This is why truly customer-centric organizations strive to attract, hire, and retain the best qualified and capable customer service representatives (also known as customer care professionals) that they can find.
They also ensure that written policies and procedures are in place to provide guidance on expectations and processes, so that all employees know what is expected of them.
This latter resource results in a certificate of completion from the American Management Association once a final exam is taken and submitted to the association.
Each customer has his or her own values and beliefs and come with specific needs, wants and expectations based on their perspectives, background and lifestyle. In fact, customers are the core of every business, and as such, should be the top priority. Several of these often go unnoticed or get passed up because many don’t realize how easy it is to implement into a regular customer service skills training program.1.
This is because there are skills that are developed and nurtured ‘behind the scenes’ that promote customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The best tactic is to let the customer finish what he or she has to say and then politely try to diffuse the situation through positive speaking and by being patient.
While training sessions can help in many ways, empathy can be honed by spending more time with different kinds of people, learning about different customer behavior types and working on solutions that are quick and proactive. Technical jargon and unnecessary terminology stands in the way of good customer interaction. An example of how communication can break down between people from different backgrounds was seen several years ago in the popular movie Rush Hour starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
With competition being literally a mouse click away, the differentiator between companies is often the level and quality of customer service that they provide.
The reality is that, as a customer service representative, you cannot solve these problems or resolve all of your customer’s concerns. Ask open-ended questions that make the customer feel that they are in charge of the situation and have some power.
Don’t assume that the organization’s system will work as designed or that the customer was completely satisfied.
Their findings can be very useful in today’s world when many customer service representatives and other employees must be concerned with delivering excellent customer service across cultures.
For example, people from Germany or Finland often pride themselves on being some of the most punctual people in the world and are normally always early and on time for meetings and social events.
For example, someone from Japan or Korea might arrive half an hour early, a guest from the United States or England — five minutes early, a Honduran and Latin American might show up thirty minutes late, an Italian could be up two hours late, an Ethiopian might be even later and someone from Vietnam might not come at all. This will also prevent you from inadvertently violating a cultural norm when attending a meeting or event with your customers. They also did not invest adequate resources into technology, hiring and training customer service representatives in order to effectively provide service levels expected by their customers. Many successful small businesses have realized that they cannot compete with larger national groups on technology, salaries and other high cost elements.
The latter can be deadly for an organization because in the past research found people with negative experiences often told nine to sixteen of their friends or acquaintances about their experience.
Successful organizations invest time and money in customer service training for all new employees on all aspects of the organization and what it provides to internal and external customers.
It is also a skill that is typically not taught in school or on the job, practiced effectively in life, or thought about as being important enough to strive for improvement by most people.
Instead of just mouthing the words customer service to employees, they must ensure that the concept becomes part of the organization’s service culture. What that person says and does will often determine the outcome of an interaction and what the customer says about his or her experience after it is over.
Technology continues to move at a break-neck pace, while the world economy shifts continually and causes companies to regularly re-evaluate how to best deal with competition.
They also pay competitive wages, provide industry-comparable benefits and continually train everyone in the organization. Also, to help employees deliver the best customer service possible, organizations must provide the most up-to-date software and equipment available, if it is required to help deliver stellar customer service. In-house customer skills trainingKeeping service skills training in-house is one of the most efficient and effective ways to jump start your employee training program.
Self-talking sessions to develop self-control and inculcating the habit of playing down difficult situations can prevent situations getting out of control even if the customer is nasty, picky and downright rude.
Even email correspondence with the right language can produce dramatic results and replies from customers. In that movie, both played police officers, Tucker from Los Angeles and Chan from Hong Kong.
Just because a customer is unable to speak English, does not mean that he or she is hearing impaired. If companies fail to personalize service, empower customer service representatives to effectively and efficiently serve customers, and invest in the latest service technology, they are likely to suffer from customer churn. Other organizations that are teetering and struggling to regain or maintain market share include Sears, JCPenney, Best Buy and the U.S.
However, what you can do is to control the approach that you take in responding to an angry customer. For example, “What do you feel would be an acceptable solution to this matter?” Remember that, with some exceptions, most people are typically reasonable and not out to take advantage of the situation when they feel that you are truly acting in their best interest. By taking this extra step, you are recognizing the customer as an important person to you and the organization and letting them know that you really are working with them to resolve their issue(s). In an ideal world, organizations would provide training on the topic to all employees, but the reality is that most do not.

If you are from the United States or Canada you might view a customer from Japan or China as being indifferent or lacking an opinion during a discussion when they do not readily have a strong response or opinion to something that you say.
By better understanding cultural differences related to time and applying sound time management strategies or time management tips, service providers are more likely to meet their customer’s needs, wants and expectations.
They only accepted your invitation to be polite and to avoid causing you to lose face if they said no. The end result is that you can potentially meet customer expectations, increase customer satisfaction and form more solid relationships with customers from all parts of the world through your knowledge and actions. Not did that put any effort into making customer service a strategic organizational initiative. What they can do is to build a solid team of employees, treat them well, train them and make customer service a distinctive factor in doing business with customers. With social media and mobile technology, that number jumps exponentially and can be worldwide in a matter of seconds via customer feedback sites like Yelp, Amazon, Facebook and TripAdvisor. If training is not provided, employees should take the initiative to ask questions of peers and supervisors and read available information and manuals. Many people assume that they know how to listen simply because they have a normal range of hearing.
In addition to learning how to communicate in different forms, employees should seek feedback on how well they are doing in communicating with others.
A customer service representative who lacks patience in dealing with customers is likely to encounter more than one situation in which customer-service provider emotions escalate.
In order for any organization to deliver excellent customer service, it must adapt and embrace the new paradigm by investing in technology, attracting the best qualified employees and then training them effectively. Delivering anything less than excellent customer service during each customer-provider interaction can lead to the demise of customer service representatives and their organization. Add to this mix changing customer demographics with culturally-based needs, wants and expectations, and you have a potential prescription for failure.
This training includes product and organizational culture information, as well as, the customer service skills necessary to effectively interact with all types of customers face-to-face and via technology.
This is why it is essential for companies to attract, hire, train and retain the most qualified and capable employees they can find. For mid and large-sized organizations who can afford to have dedicated internal training person can reap great benefits from consistent customer service trainings. This can go a long way towards getting the customer to generate positive word-of-mouth publicity. The challenge is that because the United States has become such a “melting pot” of diverse people who have brought with them their own religious and cultural values, conflict with time usage sometimes erupts between people from various subcultures. In parts of Great Britain and North America being five minutes late for a meeting might be an acceptable time, but fifteen minutes or more would definitely be considered late and possibly rude, depending on the event and the person with whom you are scheduled to meet. If you ever host such an event, make sure that you specify your expectations in writing in order to avoid confusion or embarrassment to guests. The result is typically increased customer satisfaction, enhanced customer loyalty and reduced customer churn.
Such websites provide a forum for customers to exchange information and feedback or offer product and service reviews. This demonstrates initiative potentially prevents an embarrassing situation in which the customer service representative cannot answer a customer’s questions.
A simple means for them to find out how others perceive their skills is to ask people who know them and have seen them in action working with customers. The result of such encounters can be yelling (verbally or in writing through the use of all capital letters), threats, escalation to a supervisor, negative comments about the organization and employee(s) to others, and potentially, even violence. People expect things instantaneously and if they do not get it, they can become agitated or take their business elsewhere. It is equally important that employees at every level of the organization take ownership for delivering stellar customer service.
54 Image: 5 Questions to Consider Before Joining a Business Accelerator 5 Questions to Consider Before Joining a Business Accelerator 54 Image: Is Technology Replacing Recruiters? If you can’t have a full time training person, or don’t have the time to dedicate to do a weekly customer service skills training, you can always assign team members to take turn in delivering trainings.
In other words, they want what they were promised or paid for and to be compensated for their inconvenience. In reality, many people from Eastern cultures have been taught to be reflective, quiet and to observe. In the Pacific Island, Middle Eastern and many African cultures, tardiness of thirty minutes or more is perfectly acceptable for a business meeting in many instances.
By soliciting feedback on their communication skills, they can quickly identify strong and weak areas. To ensure that this skill is exercised, many companies train employees to address frustrated or angry customers through roleplay scenarios and offer stress management training. If the person to whom they are talking is older or of a higher socio-economic status, they are also taught to quietly pay respect and listen to those people. Active listening involves actively focusing on what is heard and processing that information before formulating an appropriate verbal or non-verbal response. In addition to formal communication training in the classroom or via technology, peer and supervisory coaching are two good ways that many organizations provide feedback to employees. They also empower employees to make decisions so that they do not always have to summon a supervisor in situations when customer issues arise. Use an outside skills expertExperts exist in all fields of business, including customer service. This is contrary to what many people from Western cultures are often used to, which is to speak up and voice an opinion or ask a question. In a customer environment, active listening is a crucial skill and service representatives should continually work to hone and update this talent. Speaking from experience, many of them are more than willing to share free customer service tips with you and your organization either by contacting them directly, or by checking our their customer service blog.Brining in some experts may cost you, so you may have to limit a dedicated expert to a yearly event. In either instance, there is a chance that because of misunderstanding on both sides of the conversation there could be a breakdown in communication or the customer-provider relationship. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t work with an author, or speaker, or even a customer service blogger to setup an online Webinar or online presentation to train your team one topics beyond the basic service skills. Many experts can be contracted to deliver hour long Webinars or online chats with team members for just a few hundred dollars. Provide a skills mentorOn the job coaching of recent workers is another popular way of training for a lot of employers these days. Offering an experienced mentor who has a history of superb customer support skills is the key to training any new team member who will handling customer cases. Mentors are a great resource to help new team members understand the skills needed for customer service.4.
Customer service workshopThere are some coaching companies who offer workshops which might be especially useful for small teams or managers just starting out.
It could be a workshop focused on creating a service culture, or more specifically focused on customer service skills, or even managing and inspiring customer support teams.
Workshops can also be particularly effective as a way to reinforce the skills that your service team members have gained and are practicing each day.Ultimately, the result you should see from your customer service skills training is greater dedication to win the customer from your customer support teams.
You should see more refined skills, more engaged team members, and best of all, most dedicated customers. Poor customer service in your business can quickly lead to upset customers, loss of revenue, and poor image with potential new customers.Although it’s common knowledge and most organizations naturally want to delivery great service, there’s great variation in the way that they go about getting their team members up to speed on the latest trends in great service skills.
It’s critical that you give your organization plenty of opportunities to get training and to practice the principles that make a difference to the customer. Your people need to have the right mentality when it comes to service, but they also need resources in order to refine their service abilities. So there ARE some good internet sites that are free, and help increase customer service skills.Reply Add a New Comment Click here to cancel reply.

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customer service knowledge skills and abilities

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