When it comes to customer service, listening skills help to build better relationships with customers, avoid misunderstandings, resolve conflicts and solve customer problems faster and more efficiently.
Customer service skills can actually make a huge difference between the average customer service agent and the one who is able to provide that WOW service your customers will remember and certainly appreciate.
While there are plenty of critical skills all customer-facing employees need to master, we would like to highlight two most essential of them, that will truly make you stand out and help you succeed with every support interaction.
1. Active Listening
Listening is a master skill for personal and professional greatness. The best way to improve your listening skills is to practice ‘active listening’. It means making a conscious effort to hear not only what is being said, but also, more importantly, pay attention to what is left unsaid in order to understand the complete message being communicated.
How to develop active listening:
- Show that you are listening (eye contact, posture, smile etc.)
2. Be attentive, focused and relaxed
3. Keep an open mind with no judgement or mental criticising
4. Don’t interrupt – let them speak out
5. Wait for the customer to pause to ask clarifying questions
6. Give the customer regular feedback
7. Summarise to ensure understanding8. Pay attention to nonverbal cues
2. Clear Communication
Your ability to communicate is an important tool in your pursuit of your goals, whether it is with your family, your co-workers or your clients and customers. Needless to say, clear oral communication is a ‘must-have’ skill for everyone working in customer service. It implies using plain and proper language, no mumbling and grumbling, avoiding jargon and slang, maintaining proper tone of voice and being able to speak with confidence. But as digital technologies continue to take over customer service, written communication skills have become just as (or even more) important, especially for those service agents dealing with customers primarily over email, messengers, live chat or social media.
How to improve written communication:
- Write short sentences and short paragraphs that are easy to read
2. Make sure your message is clear, precise and relevant
3. Provide a complete response in one message
4. Look for potential misunderstandings and edit if necessary
5. Write in a friendly but professional tone
6. Use positive language and avoid negative phrases
7. Check your spelling and grammar using special tools8. Always proofread your message before sending it
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