Customer Service Skills: More than Providing Information

customer service skillsCustomer service is one of the more difficult business skills to learn. It takes a lot training and patience to effectively answer customer questions. Unfortunately, many businesses have forgotten how to perform great customer service. Instead, they provide generic sales information and use service-oriented scripts when answering customer questions.

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Customer service is not measured by the number of customers you talked to in a given period. It is measured by the satisfaction each customer received from your help. Rushing through one customer just to get to the next is a great way to send customers to the competition.

1. Patience

Customers call customer service hotlines or seek out in-store representatives because they are confused and frustrated. They can’t find the information they need. They don’t know enough to secure the purchase or they can’t figure out how to use some of the product’s features. They need help, not quick but shallow answers.

Slow down. Take the time to fully understand their concerns. Then take the time to fully explain the answers. Customers would rather have complete answers over quick service. Rushing through the customer’s concerns just to get to the next customer will result in unhappy customers. They want to feel special. That means taking the time to help them and doing so in a friendly and courteous manner.

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2. Attentiveness

Pay attention to what the customer is asking. Too many customer service or in-store representatives think they already know the question and quickly provide an answer that doesn’t help the customer. Don’t speak until the customer has fully explained their needs. Then don’t give a quick response based on what you thought they were going to say. Pay attention to what the customer is asking and answer that specific question. Don’t volunteer additional information. Don’t give unnecessary examples. Just answer the question that is being asked and do so as directly and concisely as possible.

3. Know the Product

Nothing annoys a customer more than talking to a company or store representative that has no idea how to use the product. Learn how to use the product. Learn its features and how it works. You should be able to answer any question customers have and you won’t be able to do so if you don’t know how to use the product yourself.

We are living in an era of big-box stores and self-service. Walk into most businesses and ask a representative a question about the product. Most will have to turn the box over and read about their own product before address the customer. Don’t be that person. You should be able to quickly and accurately explain the product because you have learned how to use it.

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4. Solution-focused

Customers have specific questions that require specific answers. Solution-focused customer service seeks to provide the right solution to the customer. Instead of providing general information that address the customer’s problem, provide solution-based information that answers the customer’s question. Too many businesses are now using pre-written customer service scripts filled with generic, unusable information and then are surprised when customer’s leave unsatisfied. Customers don’t want a deluge of information. They want one specific solution-focused answer. If they don’t get that, they will go somewhere else.

Providing great customer service is a very difficult job. It takes patience and a lot of training. Not only do you need to know how to deal with customers, you also need to know how to use the product you are supporting or selling. Stay focused on the customer and provide a solution-based answer that address specifics of the customer’s question.

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