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 yes, it’s true that some customers can be difficult to please. But 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.
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5 Customer Service Skills You Need to Master
Here are five customer service skills you need to master. That is if you want to consistently attract loyal customers and stand out from your competition.
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 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 at the same time, it also drives loyalty to your business.
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 (as 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 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. That is: 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 simplest 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. And this is something your competition may be lacking!
- Be Flexible
Life throws us all the occasional curveball. This 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 try 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.
“Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement”.
– James Cash Penney
There are many obvious reasons why customer service is important, with an important one being satisfied customers will return to a business and become loyal supporters. Good customer service is how a business can retain customers for long-term success, and there are many strategies a business can use to reward repeat business. It is loyalty and feeling valued that motivates a customer to offer a business a positive review and a referral. This makes it much easier for a business to grow, and stand out, in today’s competitive environment.
A business must make it easy for customers to speak up, ask questions, or express concerns. If a customer has to deal with a front-line employee, or an online bot, it can be very frustrating. Frustrating customers do not return. In addition, encouraging two-way communication with customers is an important way for a business to learn how customers feel about service levels, products, and their expectations.
Most employees want to do a good job, so it is Important that not only expectations regarding customer service standards are well communicated internally, but also that a thorough and comprehensive training program exists for employees. Consistency is important and speaks volumes about a company culture that clearly prioritizes both internal and external customers.
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