A top sales team is great at bringing in new leads and revenue, but without good customer support, you’re likely to not only lose your current clients, but develop a reputation that will affect your sales.
In that respect, solid customer support is one of the most important parts of your business, so neglect their skills at your peril. As a manager, there are a multitude of techniques and tools you can implement to get your team running efficiently and start building a reputation as a trustworthy company.
In our list, we’ve included customer service soft skills as well as a few more technical capabilities to give you the best chance at improving your team.
Listening is one thing, but active listening is where you can really make a difference. Once your company reaches a certain level, your contact center will receive a lot of requests so you have to be sharp. If your team isn’t sure what your customers actually want, ask questions to get a fuller picture and reassure them that you’re only trying to fully understand their request.
Furthermore, think about not only what your customers say, but how they’re saying it. You can pick up a lot from the language they use and the tone of their voice and read between the lines. A customer might be asking for a refund, but they could be just as happy with a replacement if their product is faulty. If you give them options, they will feel heard and be far more likely to end the conversation with a positive feeling.
Your team may go through the same conversation with different customers over 30 times during a single day and it's understandable that they become desensitized to the feelings of their customers. This is detrimental to your company, especially now that we live in a world that expects seamless customer service skills wherever they go.
News travels fast in this interconnected world and it's much easier to lose a good reputation than it is to build one.
One smart way to mitigate jaded feelings in your team is to get them to imagine how they have felt in the past when faced with a customer service representative who clearly doesn't care about their issue. You can take this one step further by making sure your team understands the value of their work both to your customers and to your own team.
In many cases, your customers know there is nothing to be done and simply want to vent — and they have every right to. Your team needs to be aware that this can happen, and allow customers the time to express themselves without interrupting and turning a bad situation into a terrible one.
By practicing a more relaxed approach to high-pressure incidents, your team will be able to think clearly and perhaps turn a bad conversation into a positive one. For example, if you have a list of benefits you can offer, your team’s calm approach will diffuse the situation, while giving them the headspace to offer value to your customers.
However, bear in mind that there may be other customers waiting, so patiently nudging a conversation to a natural conclusion is another of the customer service skills that will help your team as a whole.
As a manager, it’s up to you to empower your team with knowledge and confidence that can translate into happy customers. Once your staff has enough knowledge about your product and a critical-thinking mentality, they can think on their feet and find unique solutions to some of those problems you don’t get every day.
On the flipside, one of the worst ways of encouraging problem solving skills is to micromanage. By pulling them up on every small thing, you make your team feel constantly observed, which in turn lowers their confidence and leads to avoidable mistakes.
To work on problem solving skills in your team, take some examples from your experience and make a team game out of finding the best solution. Not only will it improve their customer service skills, but you can also create strong bonds between your team which brings a vast range of secondary benefits with it.
Unlimited Users Free
When you’ve got potentially irritable customers who want answers quickly, time management really is one of the most important customer service skills that your team needs. By running a tight ship, you can reduce waiting times, offer a more than satisfactory experience, and save your team a lot of stress along the way.
If you have a text-based customer service channel, make sure you have team members ready to reply instantly, otherwise, your customers are going to navigate away and you’ve lost a potential customer.
Use your CRM analytics to spot where your response times are slipping and start investigating. It could be an overworked team, but it could also be the start of bad habits forming, so make sure to provide retraining or even set up an incentive plan for quick replies.
Multitasking can be a time management technique in itself, but we’re going to go into a lot more detail here.
Even before customer support became more text-based, being able to take on a few tasks at the same time was essential. Whether it’s taking notes during a call or searching for a solution on your intranet while you speak on a call, multitasking is one of the most important customer service skills if you want your team to be efficient.
Now with slimmer teams dealing with ever increasing markets to respond to, your team needs to have second-nature computer skills, able to communicate on chat like a digital native while copying all the info into your CRM.
If your team isn't organized, you’ll soon find people dropping the ball, leaving your customers wondering where their package is or why they haven’t received a call back.
Organization feels like one of those customer service skills that you’re either born with or you aren’t. However, with smart project management tools and your clever planning as a manager, you can improve your team’s organization without spending time on one-to-one training.
While your CRM will take care of all the information your customer service agents need (no more writing down phone numbers on a pad of paper), project management software allows you to create a workflow of tasks to make sure your entire team is being fully compliant — and nobody is forgetting a step.
You might not consider knowledge itself to be one of the classic customer service talents, but having rapid, confident responses to both common and uncommon requests is certainly a skill you’d value as a manager.
Yes, relying on experience can get you there, but that is a long process. However, creating a detailed, yet user-friendly guide and offering practice role plays will help your new recruits get up to speed much quicker. Keep your guidelines in a shared folder in the cloud and update it whenever you come across new best practices. That means your current staff can refer to it when they need to, and your future hires will have a clear idea of their job before even starting.
Anyone who has worked in customer service will know that it can get pretty stressful. Between heavy workloads and frustrated customers, it can be easy to let things get to you mentally.
At some point, your team will run into issues with a particularly disgruntled customer who takes their anger out over the phone, so it's your job as a manager to help them deal with it. Not only will your staff be able to keep control of the conversation at hand, but knowing you've got their backs will make for a much happier workplace. As you train your team in customer service skills, be sure to include techniques on how to deal with aggression and remind your team they're not at fault.
While most customer service skills are related to personal interactions and a good knowledge of your product, your representatives need to be efficient on the tools you use so your department can run like a well-oiled machine.
For example, there is the CRM: if your team isn’t fully aware of the capabilities of your customer relationship management software, they won’t use it properly and it will be more of a hindrance than a benefit.
Make sure your new recruits are fully up-to-speed by running a few tests before they speak to actual customers. Then, create workflows of how to react to the most common issues you face. This will stop slip ups and you’ll all populate your database with all the relevant information on each client.
Whether it's a different language or simply over-complicated terms, your team needs to be able to understand their customers and offer clear service, both in written and verbal communication.
As part of your training, set standardized language based on what you know is concise and easy to understand to give your customers the best experience which in turn boosts your team's motivation. Your brand language should focus on positive language rather than negative — think "how can I help?" Rather than "what is your problem?"
You can also put your team in the best position possible by providing them with high-quality communications software to ease the entire process.
New recruits are usually eager to please and willing to learn, but over time, your team can get too comfortable into their role and complacency can set in. Unfortunately, while they’re sitting still, the world is changing fast. New technologies come at a rate of knots and best practices seem to update on a weekly basis, so if your team is going to stay at its best, you’ll need customer service agents that are willing to improve.
The last of our top customer service skills covers the ability to learn new techniques and be fluid in their work. If you have a team that follows this philosophy, you can stay at the cutting edge of customer service, which will help your business gain a reputation as a trustworthy company that people want to keep coming back to.
All of these customer service skills can come naturally or they can be taught, but one meaningful way of getting ahead of the game is by setting up a solid framework for your team to operate in. With the right tools in place, each of your customer service agents can get to work on their number one objective of communicating with customers and offering a positive experience.
Bitrix24 offers fully integrated tools for all aspects of customer support, with communications tools that cover telephone, email, instant messenger, and social media. You can even create a website and implement a chatbot widget all from one platform.
In terms of your customer relationship management, you can store all your customer information, as well as records of every interaction, on the cloud so your entire team can access it with an internet connection and a laptop or smartphone.
So while you’re planning how to implement your customer service soft skills, get started with Bitrix24 today for free.