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How to develop effective customer service skills


Posted Date: 23-Sep-2012  Last Updated:   Category: General    
Author: Member Level: Gold    Points: 65


Are you interested in improving your customer service skills? Read this article which provides information about the good and effective customer service. You will learn about the basics of customer service such as communication style, languages to be used and not to be used, rapport building and other essential skills.



Effective customer service

Customer service is a pillar for a successful business. An effective customer service is able to win the trust of the customers which also is helpful in building good reputation and growth of the organization. Customer service is said to be good when the provided service is helpful and effective to the customer. The goal of customer service should be customer satisfaction and retention. The mission of customer service should be to provide effective services to the customers so that they happily leave the organization. When customers get more than expectations, then they do come back, which says the story of successful customer service. The customer service representative should focus on quality service rather than quick service. The organization that follows the rule of thumb 'Make the customer feel special' are able to satisfy the client by providing excellent service.

Different communication styles in customer service

Customers need to be feeling valued and understood. If customers have an impression of receiving personalized service, then they feel better and are satisfied with the customer services. A happy customer can be beneficial for the organization by recommending your products and services to other people. Therefore, a positive communication style needs to be approached to handle the customers. Here are different communication style which are used to interact with other.

  1. Aggressive communication : People with aggressive communication style are not a good listener. Such people are close minded and do not try to understand the point of view of other people. Such behavior may create a tense situation and sometimes triggers aggression in others. Therefore, aggressive communication style is not recommended in customer service.

  2. Passive communication: Passive communication style is totally opposite of aggressive communication style. People who adopt passive communication style do not speak much and tend to agree on all the facts. They do not raise voice and hesitate to share their opinion. Though such style is not preferred in interpersonal relationships, but, in customer service, passive communication style can be followed to handle the irate customers. Passive communication style has the ability to diffuse the tense situation and placate the angry customers. .

  3. Assertive communication: Assertive communication style falls somewhere between aggressive and passive communication style. People who follow assertive communication style are good listeners. They express their opinion honestly and are sensitive to feeling of others. Such people clear state their expectations. They use appropriate local volume and speak comfortable. Such style is perfect and is recommended in customer service environment. Organizations should recommend assertive communication style to the employees who deal with the customers. When customers are communicated in assertive style, their problem is heard and understood. The customers feel respected and are open to the solutions to resolve the issue.

Importance of language in customer service

Language plays an important role in customer services. The customers make the perception on the quality of communication and the language being used during interaction. Therefore, training should be provided to the customer service representatives to deal with the customers. There are certain words and phrases that should be used and avoided when dealing with customers. Below is the list of such words and phrases which are must for effective communication.
  1. Definitely/ Certainly

  2. I do understand the inconvenience you have faced and I apologize for …"

  3. I will be glad to assist you….

  4. I assure you I will try my level best to...

  5. What I can do for you right now is ….

  6. I am sorry for the inconvenience that you have faced, what I can do for you is ….

  7. I would suggest …..

  8. All you need to do is to just….

  9. For Special customers like you….

  10. Thank you for the patience and understanding

Words can leave a positive impact on the customers. They feel happy and are satisfied when the representative communicates in the language given above. But, there are certain words, which may sabotage the customers and should be avoided. Here is list of those words which should not be used during communication.
  1. No

  2. I cannot ….

  3. I don't …

  4. Policy

  5. But

  6. Why

  7. Honestly

  8. Endearment terms such as buddy

  9. Profanity terms

  10. That is not my department

Building rapport with the customers for effective customer service

Rapport means creating comfort zone for the customers so that they can express themselves freely. The logic to build rapport is to make the conversation with the customers enjoyable. Building rapport with customers is one of the processes of communication. A good rapport with the customers is essential for the good outcome of the conversation. The key to develop rapport is to be natural instead of reciting something. Customer service representative can build a good rapport with the clients during conversation. It does not matter whether the communication is done face-to-face or via telephone.

Here are some tips to be followed to build a good rapport with customers.
  1. Greet the customer with a smile

  2. Start the conversation on a good note.

  3. Concentrate on the customer and avoid the distractions.

  4. Let the customer know that they are being listened.

  5. Show empathy to the customers to make the conversation effective.

  6. Approach a friendly attitude .


Skills required for good and effective customer service

  1. Communication skills :
    Good communication skill is the life line of any customer service. The customer must see the professionalism attitude in your communication style. Communication is said to be good when it is free of errors, and the words are spoken in upbeat and positive tone. Therefore, candidates willing to develop their career in customer service should develop the communication skills. And this can be done only through practice.

  2. Listening skills :
    Listening skills is another skill which the employers look for in the candidate while appointing customer service associate. In the customer service organization, it is important to hear the problems of the customers to understand the problem and provide the appropriate solution. Especially, dealing with unhappy customers is not an easy task. But, even if the customer is angry and speaks harsh words, the candidate is supposed to stay calm and listen to whatever they speak.

  3. Questioning skills :
    The customer service representative should have the habit of questioning to the customers to know about the real fact or problem. Asking questions to the customers ensures that the problem of the customer is understood very well.

  4. Problem solving skills :
    The good customer service representative should have the ability and desire to solve the problems. Those representative who have ability to ask right set of questions, have great chance to provide effective solution to the customers.

  5. Flexibility :
    Customer service representative should have the flexible nature. The ability to adapt according to changing situation and customer need helps in their career growth and organization too. The representatives must always be ready to take action on customer?s feedback.

  6. Initiative and proactiveness :
    The customer service is said to be good if the representatives are proactive and accept and apologize for the faults. Instead of hiding behind policies, they come in front to solve the problem. This attitude of representative builds a good rapport with the customer and organization too.

  7. Professionalism :
    Professional attitude is also must for good customer service. Whether communicating with customers, employees, team members or competitors, respect should be conveyed. This develops confidence as well as rapport. The customers also have positive feeling about the organization.

  8. Task oriented :
    Developing relationships and rapport is part of the customer service job. But, it should not affect the task and the target. A good customer service representative strikes balance between the job and job related responsibilities. They always complete the given task on time and do not give any lame excuse for the task being not completed. For example, if a salesman spends hours talking with the customer sweetly, but is unable to sell the product in the end, then the conversation is said to be ineffective and task is said to be incomplete.


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