When today’s consumers contact a business they expect a pleasant and productive customer care experience. So, when their expectations aren’t met, they have no qualms about leaving a company, of which they once loyal patrons, high-and-dry. This will then, inevitably, impact your organization’s contact center services ROI.
As such, it’s extremely important for Communicators to possess certain traits and skills that will enable them to go above and beyond customers’ expectations. Recently, Mattsfactor.com created an infographic which outlines the most critical customer care skills all Communicators must inherently possess or strive to acquire.
Let’s explore these 10 skills further.
1. Knowledge of the product: It’s difficult to tend to a customer who’s having trouble with your product when you’re unsure, yourself, how the product works. Therefore, it’s important that companies provide Communicators with intensive product-specific training so that they can answer any and all questions.
2. Attentiveness: To put it simply, customers just want to be heard. Being an active listener and demonstrating initiative during conversations is a critical skill for Communicators. Even inserting a simply “I understand” goes along way. This also requires going off script from time to time.
3. Appropriate communication: Communicators must be able to control their emotions and always act appropriately even when they come face-to-face with an angry customer. Listen to what your customer says and always provide a positive solution. Try listening back on tough calls to figure out ways in which you can improve.
4. Patience: While you may have to fill a certain call quota, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to rush a customer off the phone. Take enough time to find out what the customer needs, even if that means having them walk through the problem more than once.A great way to ensure you understand is repeating the problem back to the customer.
5. Empathy: When a customer contacts you via the customer care hotline, chances are it’s because he or she has a question or they’re upset. Instead of coming across as stiff or jaded, exude empathy. Showing compassion will help in calming the customer down and better understanding the problem at hand.
6. Honesty: The worst thing you can do is make false promises to a customer and conceal the truth. Be honest at all times, even if the information you’re about to give to the customer isn’t something he or she necessarily wants to hear.
7. Adaptability: When you’re a Communicator, you’re going to have good and bad calls—it’s inevitable. It’s your ability to adapt to the situation that will separate you from others. A great way to improve the way you think on your toes is through practicing with mock-calls.
8. Work ethic: Apathy won’t get you anywhere in the customer care world. You must go above and beyond for every customer you come in contact with. Never cut corners and always display ethical work standards.
9. Self-control: It’s easy to become frustrated with a customer if he or she is a stubborn or argumentative individual. However, it’s important to “kill them with kindness” in these scenarios. When in doubt, bite your tongue. A great way to work on this skill is by practicing with mock calls, as mentioned above, or listening to example calls with your manager.
10. Responsibility: Always take responsibility. Even if a customer is wrong or makes a mistake, it’s important that you take responsibility and don’t push the blame on others within your company. After all, part of contributing to a team-oriented atmosphere is taking responsibility for your own mistakes and working with others to improve in the future.
Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.