Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / FEB. 11, 2015
version 4, draft 4

10 Skills for Excellent Customer Service

When you’re applying for a customer service job, it’s not enough to simply say you have "customer service skills." To really wow a hiring manager, use some more specific language that details the skills, qualifications and traits that make you the ideal candidate. The job posting itself will be a good place to get ideas about what to include, but if the job posting is not very forthcoming, here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Listening skills

Before you can help a customer solve her problem, you’ll need to understand the problem. Without good listening skills, you’re likely to misunderstand or make assumptions that can lead to a lot of time wasted.

2. Speaking skills

When you understand the problems or concerns of customers, good speaking skills will help you convey the information customers need to know. If you’re working in an environment in which you’re using something other than your native language, having strong foreign language skills will also come into play. In your cover letter, you might describe how many years of experience you have with that foreign language, or what sort of education you’ve pursued to master the language.

3. A friendly attitude

Speaking skills aren’t enough – you’ll also need to convey information in a way that pleases customers and shows them you care about their needs. Generally, that requires an open, friendly demeanor.

4. Problem-solving skills

When you’re dealing with complicated issues, having the ability to work through the steps and to troubleshoot potential problems will really come in handy. This requires extensive knowledge of an industry and its processes.

5. Resourcefulness

When you don’t know how to solve a problem, you should know where to turn to get help. That’s called resourcefulness, and it’s another skill that comes from taking the time to really get to know an industry and its various parts.

6. Efficiency

While your employer will want you to take the time to solve customers’ problems, he’ll also appreciate your ability to get things done as quickly as possible, in order to move onto the next customer. In some customer service roles, you’ll be required to have at least some level of efficiency – and perhaps even quotas – to handle a certain number of customers in a given day.

7. Empathy

Over time, it’s easy to get desensitized to the troubles your customers are facing. Thus, an innate sense of empathy will help you avoid getting jaded in your day-to-day activities.

8. Patience

Likewise, having patience will help you when you’re dealing with a customer who’s unhappy or with handling the same problems every day and delivering quality customer service to each person.

9. Computer skills

Most customer service roles will involve talking with customers over the phone, or at the very least, accessing the company’s internal computer networks to find solutions to problems. Thus, be sure your cover letter or résumé or CV includes information about what systems you’ve worked with or computer courses you’ve taken.

10. Sales acumen

In some customer service roles, your job will not only be handling customer issues, but also "upselling" or inserting sales pitches into your conversation. If a customer is having trouble with an outdated product, for example, you might discuss the benefits of upgrading to a newer software version or purchasing a new product.

The next time you’re applying for a customer service job, don’t make the mistake of simply stating that you’re skilled in "customer service." Instead, use some more specific information to seal the deal.

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