Skills Required for Good Customer Service

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 28 December 2022

Published 26 May 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Customer service is the act of providing assistance and advice to both existing and prospective clients or customers. Good customer service is a behaviour, an act of taking care of the customer's needs and requirements by providing professional assistance and delivering high-quality service. In this article, we explain what good customer service means and list skills you can use to provide good customer service at your workplace.

What is Good Customer Service?

Good customer service is the ability to meet and surpass the customer's immediate needs. It is the act of reaching out to the customer even after their requirements are met. This kind of service aims to meet the customer's expectations by understanding what the customer is enquiring or looking to find and doing everything within your ability to meet that need. Delivering this assistance to the customer with efficiency, empathy, speed and convenience is what differentiates a great customer service experience from an average one. Customer service is a skill set which requires knowledge, technical know-how, active listening and empathy. The result of good customer service is a customer that is happy with the service provided at the time of the sale of the product and also content with their after-sales service.

Four basic characteristics of good customer service:

Politeness

Show good manners and proper etiquette when you serve your customers. Greet them and actively listen to their queries or complaints.

Promptness

Try to ensure prompt delivery of products as per schedule. Any kind of delays and cancellations are best avoided to maximise customer service efficiency.

Professionalism

Show that the customer is cared for by providing them with professional assistance through your professional skills and competencies.

Personalisation

Address the customers by their name. Customers value loyalty and appreciate the personal connection when they are doing business with you.

Related:

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  • Interview Question: "What Does Customer Service Mean to You?"

What are the skills needed for good customer service?

1. Friendliness

Attitude is key. Being friendly is a basic requirement for customer service. Greet people with a positive smile and a friendly greeting. Be respectful and courteous to all your customers. For any kind of customer service, whether in person, on the phone or online, having a patient and engaging attitude is important. It is important to remain calm and positive even if the customer does not.

2. Prompt response

Customers appreciate prompt responses. Organisations should value the customer's time and attend to their questions promptly. Have basic information about typical queries from customers on hand. Avoid keeping customers on hold while tending to someone else.

Consider multiple channels such as phone calls, emails or personal interactions as well as social media and messaging apps to reach a broad audience. Customers can sometimes find the answers they need through automated systems. If automated systems are in place, consider directing customers to a phone menu or website first before contacting a customer service employee. Investing in improving processes and technology and training the customer service officers can be helpful in ensuring prompt customer service.

Related: How to Improve Customer Service Management (Steps and Tips)

3. Knowledge of products

Customers like to know about the products they are buying or services that are being offered. Great customer service means you need to be aware of the various features and uses of the products and services that you are selling. Show the customers the advantages of the products or why they should choose one over the other. You need to find the right balance as providing too much information can come across as hard-selling and can put off a potential customer from buying the product.

4. Listening to the customers

When you communicate with the customer, actively listen to what they have to say. They might have a valid point that can be used to improve your customer service skills further. Show empathy and listen to the customer so you can find a good solution to their questions and have the ability to promote your products and services.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

5. Express gratitude

Acknowledge your customers and thank them after every transaction and for choosing the services of your organisation. The simple act of saying 'thank you' to the customer can impact customer satisfaction.

You can express your gratitude to the customer in the following ways:

  • sending a handwritten personalised thank-you note

  • adding a small gift like stickers or candies to the customer's package or bag

  • offer free samples of products and new launches for the customer to try

  • offer a special discount either immediately after a transaction or for a future purchase

6. Know your customers

Get proactive in knowing your customers. Find out what the customer requires even before they ask. Great customer service comes from anticipating your customer's needs and taking the initiative to address the issue.

Have the empathy to relate to the customer, their queries and concerns. This is a crucial customer service skill where you put the customer at the centre of the experience. Get to know your customers well. Who they are, what are their likes and concerns? Then you will be better prepared to offer personalised customer care.

Use the following practices to get to know your customers better:

  • ask simple questions and find out where you stand in comparison to your competitors

  • conduct surveys to get genuine customer feedback and gain insight into their wants and requirements

  • use social media to find out what the customers are researching or buying online

Related: What Is Customer Service? (With Duties, Skills and Tips)

7. Request feedback and use it

Ask for honest, specific and detailed feedback. When customers are asked to provide feedback, they feel important and appreciated. Make customers feel involved by communicating that their opinion is valued. Learn what the customers like and dislike. Request feedback while customers are completing the transaction or afterwards. Customer feedback can bring valuable insight as it can help you to understand what's working for the company. Based on the feedback, you can suggest what changes need to be made in the organisation for the launch of the next product, what can remain the same and what can be promoted even further.

If you seek feedback consistently, make use of it and listen to what the customer has to comment. You will have a clear idea of what is working for your customers and what is not. Review the feedback regularly and continue to improve your services and products and the total customer service experience. Using customer feedback efficiently will further help to continuously improve customer service.

8. Focus on your customer relationship

A strong customer relationship is important for business success. Building a relationship with the customer promotes customer loyalty and retention. This helps to build up the revenues for the company.

Customer relationship does not only have to be based on transactions and profits. How you focus on this relationship is important. It is often about the attention given to the customer during the course of the transaction and after-sales service which makes a lot of difference. Businesses may be able to improve customer retention rates by implementing a strategy to focus on the customer relationship. Maintain and improve this relationship through personalised service so that it leaves a positive impression on the customer's mind.

9. Keep your promises

Keep your commitment to the customer. They hold the buying power. If a commitment is given to a customer it should be fulfilled. Only promise if you know you can sustainably deliver it as customers trust that commitments made to them will be fulfilled. Failure to deliver on a promise made to a customer can cause reputational risk to the firm. If that happens, try to offer something else in return to gain back the trust.

10. Follow up with customers

To provide an outstanding customer service experience, follow up and connect with the customer at a later date. Take time to connect with customers who have been out of touch for a certain period of time. Reach out to them to make them feel appreciated and show how good your customer service is. Ideally, this can result in a new transaction by the customer or they might even advocate your brand and spread information about your products and services through word of mouth.

Having loyalty incentives like thank-you letters, loyalty programmes and surprise gifts are some proactive customer service gestures to make the customer feel appreciated. Given the importance of customer service in most businesses, customer engagement and relationship management is often crucial in an organisation's overall business strategy.

Related:

  • Top Customer Service Interview Questions and Sample Answers

  • What Is Customer Service in Banking? (Skills and Tips)

  • Writing a Customer Service Resume Objective (With Examples)

  • What Is Customer Support vs Customer Service? (Plus Tips)


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