Managers and business owners invest a lot of time into recruiting, interviewing, and hiring employees that will be a good fit with the brand and the rest of the team. The last thing they need is for the new employee to start and have zero customer service skills. Employees who work with customers every day need a special set of skills that allow them to deliver exceptional customer service.
Poor customer service or experiences cause customers to move their business elsewhere. In fact, poor customer service costs businesses $75 billion annually, making it more important than ever to hire individuals with the right skillset.
Here are 10 customer service skills every employee should have before joining your team:
Customer service employees need to be willing to learn, listen, research and solve problems. If an employee is not willing, he or she will never be able to make customers happy or advance with a company. People who are unwilling will actually keep themselves from improving their performance.
Not every customer conversation will be smooth sailing, making patience necessary for employees. Customers are looking for somebody to take the time to guide them, understand their struggle and help them find a solution.
3. Product Knowledge
Not every employee will have this skill immediately, but they should be willing to learn about products and services. Customers expect representatives to be knowledgeable of the product, brand and company procedures. Being connected with a customer service representative who has to look up the answer to every question or places the customer on hold to ask for help cause further aggravation.
Being able to actively listen to customers and co-workers is essential in being a successful employee. Active listening means the employee gives the customer or other employees time to express their frustrations or problems without interruption. Hiring attentive employees will also build a better team culture and improve employee retention over time.
The ability to understand the feelings of another individual doesn’t always come easy, especially if they haven’t had the same experiences. Empathetic employees will be more forgiving to their peers when mistakes are made and more patient with customers who call in upset. More importantly, the customers will feel like they are valued more by empathetic employees versus those who lack that skill.
The ability to read others can help employees know what to say and when to say it. It also helps them understand whether the customer is satisfied with the outcome of the call or conversation. If they sense the customer isn’t happy, they can take additional steps to resolve the issue before ending the conversation and risking negative backlash.
Some days will go as planned at work, and some days don’t. Every employee needs to be able to go with the flow when things change or take a turn for the worse. Being flexible results in a more positive attitude and happier employees.
Depending on their role, many employees can benefit from being persuasive and able to talk others into thinking a certain way or making a specific choice. This is especially true if they are attempting to upsell a customer on a new product or service.
9. Strong Work Ethic
The last thing any employer wants is to hire an employee and discover they are slow as molasses. Having a strong work ethic means employees not only show up for work, but they also put in the effort while there.
One of the best qualities employees can have is responsiveness or the ability to deliver what they say they will, when they say they will. Employees who promise one thing and do another or simply never respond to messages are difficult to trust. If you don’t trust them, your customers won’t, either.