One of the most critical aspects of being a star performer in the customer service industry is to have mastery of a few skills. There are different hard and soft skills required for all customer service professionals to deliver a positive experience to customers.
Just like how certain skills can help sales reps improve conversion rates, there are certain skill sets that'll help customer service agents push customers to buy more.
Before we look into those soft skills, let's first understand why is a soft skill necessary in customer service.
Why are Soft Skills Necessary in Customer Service?
Imagine that you're hiring for a customer service role in your call center, and you are done with an interview with a candidate. Their resume was great. They have experience in hitting sales targets and look like a perfect fit.
Or so you thought before you conducted the interview. During the interview, you noticed that they had limited interpersonal skills, communication was off, had a bad attitude, and were completely disorganized.
Would you want to hire such a candidate in your customer service team? Most probably, your answer would be NO.
Unlike hard skills, customer service soft skills can't be taught. It can be improved, but only when someone has a basic amount to start with.
Look at it this way. If you're a fighter in a world filled with magic, there's no way you can learn magic if you don't have any magical skill to begin with.
On the other hand, a person who has a tendency for magic can grow powerful with the right amount of training.
When working with customer service teams, every agent should have a certain amount of patience, communication skills, and organization, among others. Handling multiple customer interactions every day can only be done with certain amounts of these skills.
Now that we've seen the importance of soft skills in customer service, let's look at the different kinds of hard customer service skills required for each rep.
What are the Hard Skills Needed in Customer Service?
There are a few hard skills that every customer service professional must have. Before looking at a few of them, one must understand that these skills can be learned much faster than soft skills.
Here are a few important customer service skills that are necessary for each agent:
- Basic computer skills
While customer service professionals are given initial training on the different kinds of software they'll be using throughout their job, they need to know the basics of using a computer.
- Awareness of different channels
Customer service interactions aren't limited to phone calls today. Every customer service professional needs to know how different support channels work.
- Detailed Industry Knowledge
Everyone applying for customer-facing roles should have a proper understanding of their industry. Only then can they provide good customer service.
- Data Entry
Customer service professionals should be able to know how to manage and input data. This is an essential part of customer service - after call work.
Now that we've evaluated the different hard skills needed in customer service, let's look at the various customer service soft skills needed to increase customer purchases.
Results first, payment later.
What Customer Service Soft Skills Help in Increasing Customer Purchases?
There are many key customer service skills that can help agents push customers to increase purchases. Let's look at them one after the other.
Empathy is a key skill for all customer service professionals. To make a customer feel heard, agents should be able to empathize with their problems.
When customer inquiries are made with respect to certain problems in their current product or service, agents should be able to put themself in the customer's shoes and then think in their point of view.
When agents understand the problems that the customer is facing, it becomes easier for them to explain and upsell.
A customer is facing slow internet speeds and called customer support. Depending on their requirements, the agent should be able to suggest the right plan and explain why the customer should upgrade their plan.
2. Excellent communication skills
No customer likes to talk to someone who doesn't talk clearly.
Imagine that you're talking to a health insurance agent before you purchase an insurance plan. How would you feel if the agent responded to your queries with ambiguous and incomplete answers?
Like most people, you would lose your interest in purchasing insurance with that particular company.
Every customer service agent should be able to communicate effectively with every customer they're interacting with. Otherwise, it can affect customer loyalty and satisfaction
Customer service reps should be patient in each call they attend. Even if the customer's problem is complicated and takes time, agents should continue to remain calm.
Being patient with customers gives them a good experience and can help with customer retention and satisfaction.
4. Emotional intelligence
When customer issues are critical, agents should use their emotional intelligence to handle the situation in a mature and timely manner.
This is extremely crucial when it comes to agents working in the customer service department of healthcare organizations.
5. Organizational skills
Every agent should be able to organize and handle information on a large scale. These can come in handy for complex customer issues.
Imagine that you're working in the customer service team of a telehealth organization. During the night shift, you get a call from a customer enquiring about the nearest hospital for them in an emergency.
Since your organization deals with hospitals situated in different parts of the world, you'll need to sift through databases and help the customer in a timely manner.
6. Following up with customers
Every customer service agent should be able to follow up with customers in a timely manner to ensure that they don't have to wait for a resolution to their query. Timely follow ups help customers in receiving a positive customer experience.
7. Friendly nature
Every agent should have a friendly and positive attitude when dealing with customers. Using a friendly tone helps each customer feel that they're in the right hands and their queries will be resolved soon.
When customer inquiries get complex, agents should be able to use critical and creative thinking to resolve the problem.
For example, if a customer calls about their broadband not working properly over the last couple of days, agents could provide an extension on their plan if the service disruption takes longer to fix.
Now that we've seen the important customer service soft skills, let's look at how to improve them.
Ensuring Your Agents Improve their Soft Skills
Rather than seeing direct purchases from customers after excellent customer service, this is often translated to indirect purchases. When a trustworthy customer relationship is built, they remain customers in the long run and continue to make purchases.
For this to happen, agents should be given frequent soft skills training. Using customer service software that provides personalized agent training can result in increased customer satisfaction.
If you'd like to see your customer service team improve drastically, try a demo for the best agent training tools available in the market today.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are 5 key customer service soft skills?
Problem-solving, effective communication, patience, organization, and critical thinking are 5 key customer service soft skills.
2. What are a few hard customer service skills?
Hard skills required in customer service include product knowledge, basic computer skills, awareness of different channels, and database management.