The customer service industry has become the forefront for any company that directly deals with their customers. Developments in technology have raised customer expectations of the service they receive.
Along with such technological advancements, customer service agents need to improve their performance. Both proficient customer service professionals and the latest technology come together to provide great customer service.
Today, let's look at the most important hard skills that every customer service professional needs in their role. First, let's look at what are the important skills needed in customer service.
What are Essential Customer Service Skills?
Good customer service comes together only when the agent has the necessary skills to provide a good customer experience. Customer service representatives need to acquire a few skills to offer exceptional customer service.
1. Hard skills
This term is generally used to refer to job-specific skills. Some examples include technical skills, domain expertise, and analytical knowledge.
These are measurable abilities with reference to certain criteria. They can also be learned using formal education systems.
2. Soft skills
Often called personal skills, soft skills are related to traits of emotional intelligence. Some examples include communication skills, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving skills.
These skills can't be acquired through any methods of formal education. They're gained through personal experiences, practical workshops, and personal effort.
Now that we've seen what an important customer service skill is let's look at the crucial hard skills needed by every customer service representative.
Most Essential Hard Skills for Customer Service Agents
Customer service teams require technical skills and some industry knowledge to provide good customer service. Here are some of the key customer service skills.
1. Digital literacy
Today's digital age has made it essential for every customer service agent to know their way around a computer and basic computer programs. When agents can use all the required tools without difficulty, it reduces any dead air and the amount of time customers are kept on hold.
2. Omnichannel awareness
Over the past few years, new and emerging platforms have empowered customers to be available on all platforms. Apart from their presence, they've also started looking for support across these various channels.
The birth of omnichannel contact centers requires different customer service teams to work across these channels. This makes it necessary for customer service reps to be aware of all these channels.
In case the customer service agent is switched to a different support channel, they should know how to provide excellent customer service in that channel as well.
3. Data entry
Agent A talked to a customer and doesn't have the data entry skills to enter their details once the conversation is over. Two weeks later, Agent B talks to the same customer for a different query. If the CRM doesn't have data from the previous conversation, how will B address the customer?
A crucial part of the customer experience is ensuring that their data is consistently recorded across all platforms. In such cases, when a customer service rep is unaware of how to enter customer data, it can hamper the overall customer experience.
Suggested read: No more data entry with Convin CRM integration.
4. Writing skills
All agents in customer service positions should have the communication skills for conversing with both team members and customers over text. Agents who are part of the same customer service team use platforms like email and text messages to communicate with each other.
To communicate effectively with both customers and colleagues, agents should be able to write in professional and simple language.
5. Data analysis
You're working as part of the customer service team in a food delivery company like Grubhub. A new restaurant Hunger Pangs, opened up 2 months ago and you receive many orders from them. Despite there being occasional traffic that leads to few deliveries being delayed, Hunger Pangs has always prepared the food fast enough to avoid a delay.
Over the last week, there have been frequent delays in deliveries from Hunger Pangs, even at times without additional traffic. Your entire team observes this and then tells your manager to escalate the issue with their management team.
When there is an increase in customers complaining about a pre-existing problem, there is something going wrong. While a single customer service representative might not be able to notice it, the team can identify it.
Rather than pure data analysis, this is a problem-solving mindset that is nurtured in the customer service environment.
6. Language skills
When you call the customer service number of a company, they ask you to select which language you would like to speak.
Customer service agents who can speak in more than a single language are an asset to the company. While this isn't an essential customer service skill, it is an added benefit for anyone applying for a customer service role.
Want your team to master the skills of seamless customer communication?
7. Product knowledge
You own a laptop from the company Shell. It has been working perfectly for over a year. It has been troublesome to use the laptop in the past few days owing to software issues after the latest update. You contact customer support to resolve this problem.
You've been connected to an agent who says that any software issues will be due to either any malware in your laptop or you have unnecessary software installed in the laptop. The agent shows a lack of product expertise.
Every agent needs to have in-depth knowledge of the industry and product offerings of the company they're working in. When agents don't have enough knowledge, it can hamper the customer service experience.
When customer-facing departments have the required customer service skills, it results in excellent customer service.
Results first, payment later.
Helping Agents Improve Their Customer Service Skills
Not every agent comes with the perfect set of skills when they join. Team leaders should provide them with the right support to improve and enhance their soft and hard skills.
Using tools like personalized agent coaching can give agents the training they need to improve their hard skills. Convin gives agents their training session in a daily dose of 5 minutes.
Are you ready to train your agents to become customer service Jedis?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between hard and soft skills?
Soft skills are personal skills like listening, good communication, and problem-solving. They are usually acquired through life experiences.
On the other hand, hard customer service skills are specific to certain jobs or industries, such as data analysis, industry knowledge, and technical awareness.
2. What are some important soft skills in customer service?
Conflict resolution skills, active listening, and strong willpower are a few essential customer service skills.
3. What are some important hard skills in customer service?
Proficient product awareness, digital literacy, and data entry are essential customer service skills in providing good customer service.