The jury is in with a unanimous verdict—customer service skills matter. In part one, we discussed some basics of customer service as a soft skill. Today, we’re sharing tips on how to improve your customer service skills.
Because, regardless of the type of job you’re in the market for, time spent ramping up the skills that relate to meeting customers’ needs cannot help but benefit your job search. Any abilities that help a person connect to and deal more effectively with people will add value to what you, as a candidate, can bring to the table. If you hope to land a job within the world of customer service, the strategies below are for you. Could be feedback from colleagues or a former boss suggests your people skills need a bit of improvement. Even those who have successfully worked in customer service-related occupations for years can and should continue to finesse their skills.
So, check out these tips for ramping up the skills that will benefit career options across the board.
Exercise the art of empathy
Folks often confuse empathy with sympathy, but the two emotions are not interchangeable. While sympathy is based on feeling pity or sorrow for someone’s misfortune, empathy happens when you fully understand someone else’s perspective even when you have not experienced what he/she is going through.
“Empathy is the foundation of support. That’s because it’s the foundation of all relationships,” shares Erika Trujillo, Customer Success Manager for Groove. “The capacity to experience other people’s thoughts and feelings from their point of view, rather than our own. To identify with or be sensitive toward.”
Trujillo reminds us that empathy can be learned; it’s not a born with or without situation. She suggests five steps to assist you in developing empathy.
- Spend time with people who are different.
- Get a set of Questions and Empathy cards.
- Join an acting or improv class.
- Test your emotional intelligence (EQ).
- Get a copy of Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind.
Check out her article “15 Customer Service Skills & How to Improve Each One” for step-by-step instructions.
Practice active listening
Behind every personal interaction—whether on the job or in daily life—is a real human being with a question, a concern, or a need. This real human being wants to feel understood, heard, valued, and served.
These suggestions from the folks at Qualtrics explain how active listening can accomplish this. “Active listening is a key skill set you can develop by practicing daily on your co-workers and family. First, you should approach each conversation with the goal being to learn something and focus on the speaker. After the customer is finished speaking, ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand what they’re actually saying. Finally, finish the conversation with a quick summary to ensure everyone is on the same page.”
Prioritize the follow-up
It has happened to every one of us. We are promised a return call or email with more information, an update, or simply as “a follow-up” to be sure our problem has been solved. But no further contact materializes. And sadly, this scenario seldom surprises us. Why? Because follow-up has become a too-often-forgotten aspect of customer service. In some instances, the promise is nothing more than a courteous way to end a customer experience, with little prospect that further contact will actually happen.
A quick review of past encounters will reveal if this has been a problem area for you. If so, commit now to focusing on this critical mark of offering excellent customer service.
You can expect top-notch customer service from the A.R. Mazzotta team. Every inquiry is answered by a real person committed to partnering with you to make your career dreams a reality. Connect with us via text, call, or contact us online today.