When it comes to outshining your competition, the solution is simple: all you have to do is master the right customer service skills.
You already understand that without your customers, you wouldn’t have a business. And while it’s true that some customers can be difficult to please, at the end of the day, their satisfaction with the customer service you provide can cause your business to thrive or fail.
Even a seemingly negative experience with a customer isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, the most challenging customer service situations can serve as your most valuable learning tools and insights to provide better customer service. And when your customer service is unbeatable, your customers take notice— which is why they’ll always choose you over your competition.
Here are 5 customer service skills you need to master to consistently attract loyal customers and stand out from your competition.
- Patience: Think about it when a customer reaches out to you, it’s usually because they have a problem or complaint. Despite how frustrated a customer may be, part of what they’re looking for when it comes to a solution is to feel heard, acknowledged and understood. Dealing with several customers each day can be exhausting, especially if most of them are frustrated and angry, but maintaining your patience throughout every customer experience— regardless of how escalated it becomes — is a customer service skill that will instantly set you apart from your competition. You see, when a customer feels heard, they also feel appreciated. This not only helps resolve difficult situations, but drives loyalty to your business.
- Empathy: Taking an empathetic approach to customer service is crucial, although it’s probably something your competition isn’t doing. While having patience is one part of providing excellent customer service, being able to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and understand exactly how they feel (opposed to just listening) can take your customer’s experience one step further. Having empathy for a customer is guaranteed to positively influence the outcome of any complaint, which ensures your customers are always leaving satisfied.
- Learn How to Read Your Customers: It’s likely that your business deals with customers in person, but also over the phone, through social media or over email correspondence. Therefore, the importance of being able to read your customers emotions in various interactions cannot be understated. Whether it’s a digital or in-person customer interaction, it’s important for you to be able to understand your customer’s emotional state. The risk of losing a customer is much higher when you accidentally misinterpret the level of their anger or frustration. Being able to accurately assess a customer’s emotions will allow you to offer them the best personalized solution possible.
- Treat Every Customer As if You’re About to Lose Them: Not all customers that you deal with are going to be angry. Whether a customer gives you positive or negative feedback, treat them all the same— as if you were about to lose them. This simply means whenever possible, make the effort to go above and beyond for your customers. Even the most simple gestures (such as offering an umbrella on a rainy day) can be an unforgettable moment for your guests. As mentioned above, it’s not easy for a customer to forget when they’ve felt appreciated and acknowledged, which is something your competition may be lacking.
- Be Flexible: Life throws us all the occasional curveball, which is why being flexible with your customers can greatly set you apart from your competition. Of course, it’s understandable that each business must have a structure with rules and regulations in place, but not all companies are willing to make an effort to accommodate last minute needs and requests. If your business masters this customer service skill, you’re guaranteed to be more memorable than your competition, and keep customers coming back for more.