It’s critical for customer support staff to master several soft skills to meet the needs of today’s customers.
In today’s global economy, customers have become increasingly price-sensitive, but competing on price alone is a poor business strategy—one that could potentially push your business into an unplanned exit strategy.
Providing rock star customer service is a way companies can build loyalty and keep customers coming back, but it’s not easy for frontline service reps to delight today’s customers. In fact, it is harder than ever before. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, “as customers handle more of the simple issues themselves, frontline service reps get increasingly tough ones—the issues customers can’t solve on their own.”
Along with training on systems and policies, today’s frontline customer service staff needs to master a wide range of professional soft skills to satisfy the most demanding customers. Here are just five examples of soft skills that are often missing from basic customer support training.
Learning how to effectively get your organization’s message across is a key skill for any employee, and it’s especially important for the people who deal directly with your customers on a daily basis: your frontline support staff, who are the face of your company and your most prominent brand ambassadors. Unlike recreational social media messaging, incomplete thoughts and typos are unacceptable in customer-facing communications. It takes practice and commitment to communicate professionally via email and on the phone. The right training provides that practice and essential feedback.
By the time a customer has exhausted all automated forms of assistance, their patience level is often also exhausted. The ability to recognize and diffuse a conflict early are key skills that help lead to more satisfied customer outcomes. The active listening and empathy required to deal with such situations come with the emotional intelligence that can only be developed through coaching and training.
Creative problem solving
The best customer service representatives “think on their feet” and know what to do when they are required to go off-script. Training in creative problem solving can provide employees strategies for looking at problems from alternate angles and developing that kind of out-of-the-box thinking.
“What can I do to make this right for you,” is often the last resort in negotiating a resolution with a disgruntled customer. From that point forward, skilled frontline representatives need the skills to know how to lead a successful negotiation toward a win/win outcome.
Dealing with unhappy customers can wear down customer service people. Stress at work that is amplified at home, and vice versa, shows up as increased absenteeism, turnover, conflict, and health-related issues. Savvy customer service department heads offer stress management training to teach employees how to recognize their personal stress triggers and provide tools to better manage stress in their work and personal lives.
Developing rock star customer service professionals requires training employees around a wide range of professional soft skills. Regular feedback on demonstrations of skill and competency is critical for engaging employees in soft skills training and ensuring that it sticks. Check out this video to learn how you can use video for social assessment in the workplace to improve employee performance by enabling regular feedback from peers, mentors, managers, and coaches.