Customer service agents are the first-person customers turn to when their issues remain unresolved. In fact, 70% of customers believe that fixing an issue at first contact is the most critical element of good customer experience. As per McKinsey, just by delivering consistent customer experience, companies can increase their revenue by up to 5% and reduce their customer service costs by 20%.
Companies looking for ways to improve their customer service skills need to improve customer support skills for their organization and measure it with the right KPIs. This means providing continuous training to their agents' empathy muscle, teaching them how to pace their time out, guiding them on how to listen actively without losing focus and most importantly teaching them on the art of going the extra mile. Such rigorous training would not only help improve customer service but also surpass customer expectations.
Customer Service Skills for Your Organization
To provide the right experience to buyers there are seven customer service skills you need to train your agents to conquer. A perfect blend of these skills will ensure your customers are always a satisfied lot. Here is a list of customer service skills that you need to hone right away -
Time Management Skills
Valuing client's time is one of the most important customer service skills. Unreasonable waiting time can upset callers and can fail to materialize into a positive experience. In fact, reports tell that long wait can trigger anxiety forcing customers to walk away from your business. To ensure this doesn't happen, it is important to train your agents on time management skills. This is because time management is among many essential customer skills for every employee. To start with, it's important to train agents to identify and eliminate redundancies in engagement. Thereafter, they need to be trained on how to plan their work so that unwanted conversation or activities do not consume their time.
Next, agents must be trained to multi-task. Multi-tasking is the biggest time-saving skill, and it is a skill essential to becoming great customer service agents. Another important time-saving skill is knowing how to reduce interruptions. Getting on top of each of these aspects can help agents to become organized, prepared, and disciplined to turn time-saving into a habit.
Great Listening Skills
Your agents need to know that listening is not just the same as hearing. In fact, listening too is an art and needs to be mastered for becoming a great agent. Listening is all about paying attention to the tone and speech of the customer before comprehending the actual issue. There should be no interruptions whatsoever, even if it warrants certain clarifications and must be executed with an abundance of patience. This way, you try to pay attention to detail.
Also, trying to understand the underlying issue with proper attention will help an agent get to the crux of the matter and solve it in the first attempt. Besides, helping agents to solve problems in one sweep, listening offers another major benefit. It makes a customer feel that their concerns are being addressed with passion and extraordinary dedication.
If long waiting time can distress customers, repeating the issue to multiple support representatives over and again can cause an equal amount of frustration and annoyance. An Accenture report on customer experience says that 89% of customers are put off if they must knock on different doors on the same issue.
Therefore, your customer representative must strive to serve as a final step to the solution. For this, they must quickly and accurately diagnose issues, understand the aggrieved customers' pain points, offer possible solutions, help customers to compare and choose the best solution. Your customer agent must go the extra mile to get the issue resolved in a quick TAT. This gives the customer confidence and satisfaction in your services.
Apologizing is important to maintain a positive outlook between business relationships, A sincere apology can mend a relationship with unhappy clients. One big skill that agents must possess or cultivate is to be sincerely apologetic. Repeating "I'm sorry" may be a standard practice, but it may not be enough to assuage a customer. It often gets interpreted as an insincere attempt to mollify the customer. Train your agent to first understand the situation and then realize how best to convey regret with utmost humility.
Agents must first try to empathize with customers. This can be done with empathetic statements such as "I fully understand", "I see", etc. In doing so, agents can soften the frustration of customers. After apologizing, if the customer wants to know why something has failed, agents need to tell them why things have gone wrong and reassure how things can be set right.
Empathy is one of the most essential skills that call center agents need to have. It helps deliver a positive customer experience, defuse highly charged phone calls, and creates ambit for a conducive business. Agents often tend to lose empathy because they don't think a situation is as serious as the customer believes, or because they are in the know-how of the solution. Training sessions do help, but not always. Such sessions often turn out to be a repeat exercise.
A good way out is for the top-level leaders to get down to show how to handle irate customers. When agents find you turning an angry customer into a happy customer by showing empathy towards them, they too will understand and try to act likewise. In the process, it will serve as a longstanding encouragement for them to handle such situations using the same approach. Yet another good way to instill this habit in agents is by rewarding empathetic customer agents on a monthly basis.
Knowing how to improve customer service skills with self-control is one of the most important traits an agent needs to have. Because some customers like those who are irate or highly exasperated can be annoying to the extent of even verbally abusive. Customers come in all hues. More often, aggravated customers may ventilate their frustration in an aggressive and abusive manner. As a responsible representative of your company, it falls upon the agent to handle the situation calmly. While dealing with aggrieved customers, the situation may transpire from bad to worse, because they may not be willing to listen to what an agent has to say.
Therefore, having self-control will help an agent stay calm when attacked, remain positive in the face of aggression, and maintain professional disposition when countering personal attacks.
By displaying self-control agents do a world of good to the company they represent. The message they send across is that the company is a highly professional company and cares for their customers irrespective of customer mood or behavior.
Deep product knowledge is a quality that agents need to master. It leads to clarity in communication, faster troubleshooting and, confident conversations. The fallout of inadequate product knowledge can be severe. If agents are unable to satisfactorily resolve customer problems, customers may either abandon the purchase or leave a negative review. To avoid such situations, agents must be thorough about the company's products or service, buying or servicing procedures and policies. Also, they need to be proactive in understanding changes to product features and company policies.
Complete product knowledge helps an agent lead the customer through the sales process. The best way to overcome this is to have the customer agent to know product or service features inside out and skillfully turn these features into benefits for their customers. Thorough product knowledge also ensures the customer's visit has been a satisfying one.
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