5 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service Skills

How may I help you?

It’s an important question, and one that you have no doubt asked and been asked at some point in your life.

Customer service is an important part of any business-whether it be personal, private, or public. Regardless of the work you, or your employees do, you will probably have to handle others in your dealings.

If you are already working in the field of customer service, great! You may be trying to find new ways to serve your patrons and employers. If you’re simply considering this field for the future, I’m happy you’ve found this post. It will help you to start thinking with the mindset of someone who already works in the profession.

Customer service jobs can be great for people who:

  • enjoy helping others
  • like working with people
  • have a friendly disposition
  • excel at conflict resolution

If these qualities describe you, then you may have found your true career calling. Customer service representatives help people in a number of ways. From handling bad service to issuing refunds or enforcing policies, these are the people to go to, and their jobs aren’t easy. Who hasn’t seen the line to the help desk full of frowns and impatient people? If this has been a reality for you, then fear no more!

These five tips will help you, or your business, get a more reassured reaction from your customers:

1. Acknowledge everyone who approaches you.

The first part of a greeting is eye contact. Be sure to make and hold eye contact with whoever approaches you. Customer service representatives should never be associated with ignoring customers, and this is an easy way of acknowledging someone in need. The second part of this greeting is to smile. This works to put people at ease, and it will make you appear friendly and approachable. If appropriate, a handshake can also be used for a formal first introduction.

2. Introduce yourself properly.

This fits with tip number one perfectly. It’s natural to introduce yourself next. Whether you work over the phone, online, or in-person, you should say something to set the tone of conversation. At my office jobs, I’ve learned to answer the phone, “Thank you for calling… This is Sara; I can help you.” I’ve found that this phrasing makes people feel more comfortable asking questions or sharing concerns. They say that the person asking the questions is the person in charge. This goes back to the first line, “How may I help you?” Ask questions. Get as much information as possible from your customers. If you appear thorough, then it will give them the impression that you are professional and worthy of your title.

3. Educate yourself or your staff.

The fact that you found this post, and you’re reading it, shows that you are already thinking ahead. With any job, it’s important to stay educated and current. Though customer service has been around forever, things are changing. Now, you can work from home as an online or phone representative and have hardly any face to face interaction. With those jobs it can be easy to become isolated and to forget what natural feels like. Of course this is an extreme example, but it’s possible. Customer service training can come in the form of team games, what-ifs, and ad-lib scenarios. Many of my past jobs included weekly meetings to touch base and go over questions and concerns.

4. Be consistent.

The customer service field is talked about constantly. I have relatives who tell me about bad experiences all the time, and this is unfortunate. Many of the stories I hear are things that could be solved easily. For one, people expect to receive the same treatment as their friends, family, and anyone else. If your interactions are all over the place, your customers will be unhappy. Ask others to uncover the best protocols for your business. Consistency is key. A training manual or any other literature can serve as a reminder.

5. Staff properly.

Another important aspect, and one that seems obvious, is staffing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a customer service desk and left feeling defeated and dissatisfied. In fact, a bad experience with members of the staff is enough for me to refuse to go back. Whether you’re in charge of hiring, or you’re a member of the team, don’t be afraid to let people, including yourself, go from a customer service job. It’s always business, and bad customer service can cause a potentially successful one to lose customers and fold.

Remember: The customer may not always be right, but it is your job to try to put them at ease and stick to the company rules. This is one of the most important things to remember when working in customer service. You’re the face they see, the voice they hear, the gatekeeper to giving them what they want, or feel they deserve. Just think of how you like to be treated, and strive to achieve that level of care.

For more articles by Sara Kosmyna.

Have you had a memorable customer service experience? Whether you were working or being helped at the desk (or over the phone) we’d love to hear about it.

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