Excellent customer service is a vital component of organisational success. We are living in an era dominated by changing customer priorities and the fear of mistakes being magnified through social media. With this in mind, anyone considering a career in customer service should be looking to exhibit a variety of attributes and skills. There are various levels of customer service training that a professional can undergo in order to hone their skills, and these can be very beneficial when job hunting.
Interpersonal skills are an important attribute to look for amongst people in customer facing roles. With priorities now focused less on price and more on behaviour, attitude and skills, the onus is on organisations to ensure their staff have the capability to listen and respond to customer needs. They should also focus on the extent to which they do what they commit to do and how easy they are to do business with.
With so many forms of communication at our fingertips, customers can now reach out to organisations through a variety of channels. This means that customer facing staff need to be well versed across all platforms. Are they able to respond in a timely manner? Are they able to link one form of communication to another? And, are they able to ensure colleagues can do likewise? It is important to ensure that cross-platform skills are shared across an organisation so the customer’s experience is seamless.
Those who always put the customer’s needs first rather than simply trying to get out of a situation without providing an appropriate solution will be the individuals most likely to win customers over. These individuals take responsibility for problem solving and, as the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index suggests, they are also the people that customers are more likely to recommend as a result. Solving a customer’s problem quickly and efficiently is one way of providing high quality customer service that will continue to develop a strong relationship with the customer, making loyalty and recommendation from the customer more likely.
Being knowledgeable and professional within the organisation’s subject area is an essential attribute for any individual in a customer facing role. Combining this knowledge with a willingness to learn and good communication can help to build mutual confidence and respect, especially when the employee can show that they are acting in the customer’s best interests.
Customers are seeking a more personalised and authentic experience and this means the people they deal with should be able to respond to their needs directly, rather than trying to mould requests to a set of pre-agreed approaches. It means that employee attitude and behaviour is more important now, than even 5 years ago, and this translates to staff doing what they commit to, their level of helpfulness and how easy they are to do business with. Anything less and the customer experience is diminished. And if that happens, loyalty, trust and reputation risk falling by the wayside.