Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job. With so many businesses to choose from and so little to differentiate them, good customer service skills can help you win new business over competitors. Stats like these emphasize the significance of delivering a wonderful experience to your customers. How many times have you chased down a customer service representative for help, only to receive a vacant stare and a garbled ‘don’t know’ for your trouble? Where possible, rather than throwing staff into the wilderness with half-baked knowledge of your products and services, equip them with the customer service skills required to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Customer service expert, Micah Solomon once said, ‘arguing with a customer is obviously ridiculous. Anyone who’s owned a business knows broken promises due to service failures are unavoidable.
Everyone dreads calling customer service, because you often find yourself being transferred back and forth across multiple departments, until finally, someone hangs up the line. Limit the amount of ushering to ensure customers don’t get frustrated and turn to your competitor for customer service.
Losing a customer through something as trivial as a shoddy phone call is a bitter pill to swallow.
Some organizations argue they don’t give special treatment to any customers because it’s unfair on others.
At Client Heartbeat, we strive to empower all employees with strong customer service skills so they know when it’s okay to bend the rules. However, you’re safe to tweak policy when the positive consequences of doing so outweigh the negatives.
To reiterate, customers expect a minimum of basic customer service, but will be doubly thrilled if your employees have outstanding customer service skills. Whatever industry you belong to, the real product you’re selling is the ‘customer experience’. Ross Beard is on the marketing team at Client Heartbeat, the simple customer feedback tool. A simple customer feedback tool that surveys customers, measures satisfaction and identifies unhappy customers. Client Heartbeat sends personalized email surveys to your customers on a periodic basis to measure customer satisfaction. By using past scores and industry data, Client Heartbeat identifies unhappy customers are 'at risk' of defecting to competitors. These are the skills which make for good customer service by an employee, as well as by the company as a whole.
These skills are sometimes called “soft” skills, because they are not highly technical professional skills. They may not require professional education, but effective customer service is indispensable for good business and requires good interpersonal communication abilities, intelligence and professionalism.
Patience – Before any other skill is possible, a company representative must be patient and able to listen attentively. Tact – Customers are easily displeased or disappointed; a company representative should always be tactful, never aggressive or defensive, and never blame the customer. For example, it is better to say that a service or product will be available in the foreseeable future, rather than saying that it is not available now.

There are several ways in which good customer service skills may be a part of your job depending on your position. If you are a cashier, you should make sure you have enough change and that you give back change correctly.
If you work in technical support, you must have the technical knowledge, experience and the background required to serve your clients. If you are a salesperson for a car dealership, assessing customer needs without embarrassment to the customer is crucial.
A frequent mistake of salespersons in different venues is to insist on selling the client something they cannot afford and had no intention to consider in the first place. These examples can help you list key customer service skills that an employer in your area is looking for. In fact, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs reported that 70% of people buy based on how they’re being treated, rather than the alleged value of the product. To keep you customers happy, avoid making these six mistakes when it comes to your customer service skills. A lack of support combined with constant underperformance is demotivating, and unmotivated staff members provide poor service and taint your business’s reputation. Employees with good customer service skills speak calmly and reasonably to resolve the issue, and work towards a positive outcome. So long as you remember your good customer service skills by taking responsibility, apologizing and fixing the situation as soon as possible, you’ll be able to walk away knowing even though the customer ‘won’ the argument, you won them over. Breaking promises is the fastest way to churning customers and decreasing customer satisfaction. It’s critical to be completely honest about what happened, and to offer a realistic, deliverable solution. Be there at a moment’s notice, and you won’t lose customers to your equally fallible competitor. A study by Global Customer Service Barometer found 26% of consumers have experienced just this. So avoid that nasty feeling by educating your employees to remember their customer service skills, and you’ll outshine your competitors and keep loyal customers on your side. I’d argue, what’s unfair is not giving your wonderful customers the special treatment they deserve.
Obviously, policies and guidelines are in place to protect you, but you should encourage employees to use their judgement when it comes to offering special treatment.
Use reciprocity to enhance your customer relationships even when it means circumventing stringent policies, and your loyal customers will appreciate your company beyond what you can physically provide. What this means is, everyone has access to information about how to implement good customer service skills. In today’s customer-centric economy, it’s imperative your customer service is up to scratch, so greet customers with a smile and a firm handshake, to keep prospective and loyal customers happier than ever. This means you get more actionable customer feedback that you can use to improve satisfaction. Let’s say a customer expresses feeling cheated or disappointed — a company representative with effective customer skills will respond in a tone and manner that will appease and reassure the customer.
To assess is to ask questions and gather customer-related information through observation to gauge the needs and potential of a customer.

What should follow is a deal which satisfies the client financially, while making profit for the company. Since 89% of consumers are willing to switch vendors because of a poor customer experience, it’s imperative your customer service is up to scratch.
Some businesses don’t train their staff properly because they think customers won’t notice the difference. You may have to resign yourself to being some manchild’s verbal punching bag for a couple of minutes, but remember the customer wants a reaction out of you, which justifies their rudeness. Customers don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to make up for your mistakes. You should be transparent about the process of resolution and provide an expected time frame. In an age where 55% of customers abandon business transactions based on poor service experiences, it’s essential to make this channel an efficient method of communication. Outline the significance of their role and its relevance to the company, so they recognise how their actions can influence the course of events.
This is a great example of going above and beyond, one of nine customer retention strategies use can use to retain more customers and grow your business.
They must always ask if the customer requires assistance and say please, thank you, and apologize when something is inconvenient. It means streamlining communication, bending the rules and practising the basics of customer service. Companies are always on the lookout for such naturals but often also provide special training to improve every employee’s customer skills. You need to be able to make quick and shrewd decisions regarding customer needs and company policy to satisfy both ends. However, 67% of consumers notice when a staff member lacks product knowledge, and according to Blue Wolf, engaged, knowledgeable employees deliver a better customer experience and close 33% more deals than their untrained counterparts. Explain the reasons behind your policies, so they’ll do more than shrug and parrot policy to unhappy customers.
Disabuse them by being the bigger person, and once the customer is done lashing out, they’ll be more amenable to a solution. A study by Accenture found 55% of consumers would give a business two chances before leaving. Once the problem is solved, follow up to see how that customer is doing to reinforce your continued relationship. Once they comprehend the importance of their position, they’ll feel responsible for what happens each time they pick up the phone.
They should be polite, helpful and avoid ‘any behavior that conveys a lack of care or consideration for the customer’.
Align your compass with the customer experience by avoiding these customer service turnoffs, and give customers a reason to come back, again and again. This may mean trouble or simply a customer who will not return and will not promote the company by word of mouth.

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