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8 Important Customer Service Skills

In business, we take care of what is important. We value that which sustains our existence and keeps our doors open. Every entrepreneur creates and innovates for the sake of the customer or end user, depending on the context. (S)he appreciates that the customer tops the list of ‘most important things’ in business and as such should be held in high regard.

Getting a customer could be easy, but there’s a lot that goes towards retaining one. And that’s where the element of customer service comes in.

The entrepreneur, or an appointed person in the business who has a direct interaction with the customer must master important customer service skills. Here are some of them;

1. Active listening

Really listen with the intention of understanding, not just listening to respond. Listening actively helps in identifying the real problem. In a sense, you’re actually getting into the customers mind so much so that you can even anticipate possible questions and prepare valuable answers for the same.

2. Ability to empathize

Wear the customer’s shoes and walk a mile with them to know and feel where it pinches the most. Empathize with the customer, and as you do that you will be creating an emotional connection. In business, such connection (emotional) is known to be the main ingredient in building trust and deeper relationships between the business and it’s customers. Every entrepreneur wants that.

3. Patience

And I dare add ‘self-control.’ Customer inquiries and concerns are usually not complex. Quite basic things. Right there is a test of patience. You must be able to patiently listen and adequately address the so called ‘basic inquiries.’ Understand that you are the expert carrying the knowledge and experience, not the customer.

4. Attentiveness

Combined with active listening, being attentive to all the details the customer is sharing helps in targeting the problem with precision and prescribing the right solution there and then. Attentiveness goes a greater extent to eliminate misunderstanding in your communications; a potential strain to business-customer relationship.

5. Persuasion

The call to action in any form of customer service will always lean towards persuading or convincing the customer to take a certain course of action. This can be achieved effectively using the skill of persuasive speaking. Persuasive speaking will also significantly reduce the time needed for resolving complex matters. This skill will help in steering the conversation to a path of quick solution finding.

6. Good body language and tone of voice

In case of a physical interaction, you should display an appropriate body language that inspire a positive attitude and incline the customer to also be open and friendly. Smile broadly and approach the customer with open palms and arms. The tone of voice is applicable when handling customer inquiries via telephone. A customer can pick rudeness, sarcasm, or aloofness in your voice. Keep it calm and friendly, always.

7. Confidence 

I’m sure at one point in time you have called to make an inquiry either to your mobile service provider, internet or pay TV provider. How was the experience? Did the agent on the other end of the line respond adequately to your queries? Did they seem to brush aside some of your concerns? Did they respond articulately and confidently?

If there’s something that creates a background of trust and professionalism in customer service interaction is confidence. Confident communication with client makes them feel that their problem is important.

8. Sense of humor

We all love people who have a good sense of humor. In customer service interaction, having a sense of humor allows maintaining a positive outlook, taking an easy approach in handling some of the most difficult customer related issues, and flipping a potentially stressful customer service interaction to something enjoyable.

About Sarah Karingi

Sarah Karingi, the Queen of Business Networking, is an expert in Business Networking, and an award-winning topmost BNI networker in East Africa.