Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru
Some say that to be perfect in a customer driven industry and to deliver 100% customer satisfaction is next to impossible. However, isn’t that what makes it more desirable?
If the idea of customer service excellence were so easy, every organization would be at the top of their game!
An essential starting point to make the impossible possible, is to have an employee base that is customer centric. There are those special individuals who possess the perfect service skills that make them stand out in the crowd and can be spotted a mile away because of their amazing charismatic personality. It is important to spot them and build a team with such people around. It is easy to say that customer experience must be the DNA of an organization, but employees like these are what it takes to create a customer centric organizations.
We are here to make it easy for you to build such an employee base. Our list of 7 ‘must have’ customer service skills is a quick checklist for hiring managers to identify those STARS:
1. They are good communicators
We know that communication is a two fold process and includes both speaking and listening. A customer experience expert is a master in both these skills. While it is extremely important to speak clearly and effectively, it is more important to listen actively – to not make an already irate customer repeat himself. Clear communication also includes not assuming things but questioning the customer if one has any clarifications. Remember that old adage – “When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.”
Another aspect to communication is transparency and honesty in what is communicated. Many a times, a customer is furious because his expectations are not set right; for example, he was promised a call back in two hours, and 6 hours down, the call still did not come through. These false promises are a sure shot way to doom!
2. They are inherently positive!
We do know how tough it can get to handle irate customers. But any employee in this field is going to be interacting to employees, resolving their concerns and listening to their grievances perennially. Sometimes, the negativity of the situation or being spoken to rudely can bog one down. However, it is the ability to bounce back from such a situation that makes an amazing customer experience representative.
The positive attitude of such a person will also reflect in his/her words always. The power of words works wonders on your customer. The famous lines of the poem will have to tweaked here. For a customer, ‘Sticks and stone will break my bones, but will definitely hurt me!’. It is not what you say, but HOW you do that makes all the difference. Positive employees will master this art of speaking in a positive tone. They will make small changes in the way they put across certain things for they know it can help create a positive impact and can affect immensely how the customer hears the response. For example,
- Normal language: “Sorry, booking that ticket is not possible as the theatre is full. Please try tomorrow.”
- Positive language: “Let me see what I can do for you. I will check for any ticket cancellations and will keep you posted if we can book one for you today. If not, will it be fine if I book a ticket for tomorrow?”
The latter response shows ownership and that there would be some effort to assist the customer and the end result would be communicated as well.
Also, the tone that is used makes a big difference. Most CEx executives may not even interact with the customer face-to-face. Their work is over the phone or online. In such cases, when a customer cannot even see you, it becomes extremely important to keep a check on the tone that is used. One has to be extra cautious to ensure that one does not sound apathetic, rude or uninterested in helping.
At the end of the day, employees who can maintain their cool and have a smile on their face even when the entire ship is sinking, looking and thinking for that essential life saving procedure or response to a grumpy and unhappy customer, is the winner.
3. They are empathetic
The pace of today’s life is so frenetic that empathy is actually a virtue. It is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, empathy with the customers, having the ability to step into their shoes, is what separates good customer service representations from amazing ones. At the end of the day, isn’t the customer just wanting to be listened to and understood?
4. They are potential Oscar winners!
You may laugh here, but being good actors is essential to being a good CEx executive. Every great customer centric employee will have those simple yet effective acting skills to maintain their daily jolly personality while dealing with tough customers. One has to smile, despite being furious on the inside. But hey, that’s what we signed up for!
5. They are able to ‘Read’ customers
In today’s time and age, the customer is rarely seen or even heard. The employee should be able to comprehend the mood and psychology of the customers by the tone of their voice or email. Only after the rapport or frequency is matched, they are able to create a more personalized and positive experience and not sound or write like some automated device.
6. They are innovative, persistent and determined
A good customer service expert knows that customer experience cannot take the one-size-fits-all approach. Every customer has a different set of requirements and is delighted by different means. That expert will know that he constantly needs to keep changing his strategies and adapting new ones in dealing with different people.
He also does take short cuts to solving a customer query. And nope, he doesn’t stop until he delights his customer! He explores all angles, thinks out of the box and when all options are exhausted, creates something new. We must note that it is usually that one employee who goes out of his way for customers, that makes experiences for customers more memorable.
7. They are wanting to learn and improve on
Although wanting to constantly learn is a very basic skill, it is a very powerful one. An employee who is not wanting to improve on what he already knows will soon become a liability. The impactful employees invest time and money in their skills; they read, talk, discuss, debate and most importantly teach and share best practices. These are the gems that need to be looked after by the organizations.
So there you have it – the 7 essentials that every employee must have to create a customer centric organisation from the core. Are there more qualities that can be added to the list? Do let us know your thoughts.