4 Customer Service Skills That Drive up Customer Satisfaction
Customer service skills are key to a better customer experience.
Apart from delivering good products or services, overall quality completes the whole experience of the customer – the satisfaction one gets from the moment of purchase to actual interaction.
Customer service plays a huge part in this experience. In fact, research from Gartner shows about 66% of businesses in 2021 compete on the customer experience front.
These companies know that the emotions customers can attach to their products can depend greatly on the interaction with the agent.
A product might be good, better than the competitors even, but when a buyer feels bad after an interaction with customer service, it can spoil the whole experience.
On the other hand, good customer service can translate to great product recall and eventually, if sustained, loyal customers.
There are specific customer service skills that directly translate to performance, and it is crucial for companies to identify these to drive up customer satisfaction.
1. Confident communication skills
Effective communication, both written and oral, is the most important aspect of customer service, and agents must be fluent, articulate, and persuasive when speaking with clients.
The way an agent converse with a customer, the language and tone, will ultimately reflect the brand and product’s value.
From the beginning of the query, customer service representatives must be able to take charge of the conversation and manage expectations without abandoning empathy.
Since speaking is a skill, it can always be improved, and what organisations can do is to identify the areas of communication that need training.
Training sessions can focus on improving a customer service team’s tone and intonation, positive language, and confidence.
It is also important for organisations to train their agents to speak consistently with the brand’s voice to establish a good recall.
2. Active listening
While having persuasive speaking is an important skill for customer service representatives, it’s the listening skills that ultimately connect with clients, and it’s not just listening.
“Active listening” requires the full attention of an agent to the customer with the intent to have a mutual understanding of the problem.
Customers often find it difficult to share or express the whole picture about their problems, and it’s up to the agents to extract the information needed to understand the whole situation.
Listening actively needs agents to use the senses when dealing with a customer – taking both verbal and non-verbal cues – to have a full grasp of the problem and recommend solutions.
It also needs the agent to be attentive enough to spot points for clarification and ask sharp follow-up questions to help the customer reveal the whole picture of the problem.
By listening actively, an agent would know how to empathise and connect with the customer, clearly identify the problems, and avoid missing out on critical information.
3. Product knowledge
Customer service representatives must not only know how to listen actively, but they must also know how to respond with sound and concrete solutions to gain the customer’s trust.
For agents to do this, they must have a deep understanding of the company’s product, which may sound like a no-brainer, but may take some effort from the organisation.
Improving an agent’s product knowledge could start with in-depth training that covers pricing, actual product use, troubleshooting, brand position, and even a bit about products by direct competitors.
The company should also provide an accessible and regularly updated bank of resources about the product’s features, milestones, and upgrades.
Organisations should not hesitate to initiate a quick product reorientation for any big upgrades to their product or service.
The customer service representative’s depth of product knowledge will help them provide the best solutions to any of the consumer’s concerns, which will reflect on your organisation’s image.
4. Relationship-building skills
Cultivating a relationship between your brand and your customer is a top priority, but it all begins with your customer service team.
Agents should know how to make an engaging conversation and build a strong rapport with the customers.
They must also learn how to deliver a unique experience to the customer, which could start with simple things like asking their name and making personalised recommendations based on available data.
A McKinsey study reveals that 80% of consumers want a personalised experience and doing so can drive an organisation’s sales up.
Companies must also remember that a strong rapport always starts with trust, and trust stands on the solid ground of honesty.
Customer service representatives should always be honest, apologising when needed, and avoiding making promises impossible to keep.
There is no doubt that a high-performing customer service team with good customer service skills can drive up customer satisfaction.
In the end, the performance of a customer service team depends on the amount of support it gets from the organisation.