You’ve landed a cool job in your great company. You’ve realized your dream of helping people be more successful. You’re eager to get started and shine in your new role.
But to shine as a customer service representative, you need to put in a lot of hard work. It’s a nuanced role because what works for one customer will not work with another. You’ll have to learn a lot on the job – about the product or service you are supporting, about the needs of your customer base, about the company policy, and more.
During the first few days, it might feel like the factors that make you successful are completely out of your control.
And it might be true. But the good news is, you can train yourself on the basic customer service skills to make sure that you do the best you can to turn these out-of-control success factors in your favor.
Skill 1: Communication
When you are supporting customers over channels where they cannot see you (email, phone, chat, etc), you need to be extra careful about the way you communicate. Without your body language, every word you say or type can be interpreted in many ways.
So the first skill any customer service representative should learn is communication.
Email communication – Basics
Writing an email to a customer is very similar to writing one to an acquaintance.
Just keep the email light and friendly, give them the information they need and ask for the information you want. Make it sound welcoming so the acquaintance/customer knows that they can reach out to you again if needed.
Luckily enough, most customer service emails you will have to write would be reactive. That is, customers are going to reach out to you first with a specific question. All you have to do is answer the question to the best of your ability.
There are 6 basic checks you can do before writing a customer service email. Watch this video to find out what they are:
Email communication – Pro
You know the basics of customer service email communication. Great!
The next step is to wow your customers with your emails.
Wowing the customer depends a lot on what you say – if you are telling the customer that they will get a freebie along with their recent purchase, they are going to be happy. But you don’t always have control over what you say (You cannot buy happiness all the time, either).
Sometimes you are going to have to say no, or that you are unable to help them. This is when the way you say what you say is going to matter a lot. Watch this video to learn how to write exceptional emails that can wow your customers:
Social media communication
With emails, you can follow the company guidelines to an extent and add your personality to make them really special.
But when you talk to customers publicly as a brand, everything you say is going to be a part of your brand. That’s why social media communication is trickier.
There are certain things you can do as a brand to be better at social media communication and social media support. Watch this video to find out what they are:
Subscribe to the Freshdesk Academy YouTube channel to be notified when we release videos about customer service communication over Facebook, chat, and phone.
Skill 2: Empathy
Empathy is the ability to have a human interaction with a customer. If you take a look at some of the spectacular customer service failures, you will see that they involve a (maddening) lack of empathy.
On the other hand, you would have noticed that some support conversations you have had with companies end up making you happy even when you did not get your way. That’s what expressing empathy can do.
To express empathy, you need to feel empathy. But not everybody is born with the ability to empathize. Watch this video to learn about the steps you can take to cultivate empathy:
Expressing empathy at the right moments is as important as feeling empathetic. For example, being empathetic motivates you to find a solution to a customer’s problem as quickly as possible. Expressing empathy to customers helps them understand that you are on their side and that you will do everything to find the said solution.
Watch this video to find out how to express empathy while talking to customers:
Skill 3: Handling difficult conversations
Customer service conversations are not always rosy. There are many situations when you have to have to say no to customers. Maybe they asked for a product or a service you don’t offer. Or maybe the customer made an unreasonable or even an unethical demand. So learning to say no is an essential skill you need as a customer service representative.
Watch this video to learn how to say no in customer service:
Sometimes, it’s not the situation that’s difficult but the customer you are dealing with. You will have to deal with aggressive, abusive, unreasonable customers or even reasonable customers who are very frustrated.
Dealing with these kinds of customers will rarely result in a win-win solution. But learning to deal with difficult customers without losing your cool is an important skill that you can learn by watching this video:
Skill 4: Being motivated
Customer support representatives often have to deal with situations that can be very demotivating.
Sometimes, it could be their day-to-day work which can be repetitive as they have to solve the same issues over and over.
Sometimes, it could be personal problems that are affecting their motivation at work.
But no matter what the reason for demotivation is, it severely affects the quality of work and the customer experience. And this, in turn, will make them feel more demotivated.
When you are new to this, overcoming demotivation can be really hard. Watch this video to learn how to tackle demotivation caused by repetitive nature of work:
Skill 5: Being a customer champion
A support representative’s work starts with communicating with customers but it doesn’t end there. Within the company, they should act as the customers’ advocate and represent their interest in meetings.
They need to learn to work with other internal teams to get things done for the customer. And this involves collaborating with teams like product management, design, marketing, engineering and more.
Watch this video to learn how to communicate customer feedback to internal teams:
Bonus skill: Knowing what not to do
It’s not easy or quick for a customer service representative to find their footing.
You will face a catch-22 situation because the consequence of the small mistake can be much bigger than you expect. But you can become better only by trying new things and making mistakes.
However, there are some common mistakes that you can avoid doing right away without trying it yourself. Watch this video to learn what not to do in customer service:
There you have it – 5 skills you need to train on when you are a new customer service representative.
Would you like to learn about any other skill that’s not listed here? Let me know in the comment section below.