5 Customer Service Skills to Perfect

There are a few customer service skills that every employee needs to master if they are in a customer-facing position. Without these skills, your employee could be scaring your customer away or you could land up with a customer service train-wreck.

One of the most popular skills punted by a number of publications is the skill of being a “people person”. This is a vague trait and isn’t helpful to those looking to move to a support position within a company. It also doesn’t help employers who are looking for the right skill set when hiring the customer service superstars.

Here are a few universal skills that every staff member can master which will dramatically improve their conversations with customers:

  • Patience: When a customer is confused and/or frustrated, they need someone who is going to be patient with them. There is a reason they are seeking their service from your business and not just doing it themselves – you’re the experts.
  • Attentiveness: This means really listening to what the customer is saying and is crucial for providing great service. Not only is it important to listen to what the individual customer is saying, it is important to listen to what they are saying as a whole. They won’t always say it in the way you are expecting, they might say: “I can never remember where your toilets are.” – this could be translated to your toilets not being well sign posted.
  • Communication Skills: Get to the problem at hand quickly; customers don’t need or want to hear your life story or how your day is going. Be careful of how some of your communicate habits translate to a customer and err on the side of caution if the situation is questionable. If something is an extra charge, communicate this clearly so there are no surprises when the bill comes.
  • Product Knowledge: Your best customer-facing employees will have an in-depth knowledge of your menu items. This doesn’t mean that everyone on staff should be able to build the dish from scratch however, they should be aware of what goes into a dish. If a customer asks whether something contains an allergen, the staff member should be able to confirm whether or not this is the case without having to leave the customer.
  • Use “Positive Language”: Minor changes in your conversational patterns can go a long way towards creating a happy customer. Customers will create perceptions about you and your business based on the language you use. Here is how to differentiate between “positive language” and “negative language”:
    Positive Language:
    • Suggests alternatives
    • Sounds helpful
    • Stresses positive consequences
    Negative Language:
    • Does not suggest alternatives
    • Uses words like “can’t” or “won’t”
    • Carries an element of blame
    Rather than saying, “We can’t make this menu item because we don’t have ‘X’ in stock.” Rather say, “What about menu item B, it is very similar to menu item A.”

By simply working on and improving these skills, you could offer your customer an incredible experience which will keep them coming back for more.