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What Customer Service Skills are Most Valuable? Seth Brickner

When it comes to impor­tant cus­tomer ser­vice skills, com­mu­ni­ca­tion leads the pack. Strong com­mu­ni­ca­tors have the best chance of get­ting peo­ple to open up, under­stand­ing their needs and help­ing resolve their issues.

Most of us know some­one who stands out as hav­ing excel­lent com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills. These peo­ple seem to shine when it comes to talk­ing with oth­ers, as if it’s the most nat­ural thing in the world and some­thing they were born to do. They also seem to be fan­tas­tic lis­ten­ers and empathiz­ers; they just seem to get people.

Think for a moment: who do you know like this? What spe­cific skills make them such good communicators?

Key com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills in pro­vid­ing excel­lent cus­tomer ser­vice include:

Lis­ten­ing: This is the sin­gle most impor­tant com­mu­ni­ca­tion skill, yet it’s hard to find peo­ple who are good lis­ten­ers. Most of us get no for­mal train­ing in “lis­ten­ing;” we are told to be quiet and lis­ten to our teach­ers and par­ents, but this is a pas­sive process. To be a good lis­tener one has to actively focus on the per­son speak­ing; this includes block­ing out dis­trac­tions and tak­ing men­tal (or actual) notes. It also includes pay­ing atten­tion to what’s not being said; what is the speaker’s atti­tude and apti­tude on the sub­ject? Cre­ate a men­tal pic­ture to under­stand the big­ger con­text in which the com­mu­ni­ca­tion is tak­ing place: is this a request for infor­ma­tion, an oppor­tu­nity to assert one’s self as an expert, a com­plaint, a sug­ges­tion, or some­thing else?

Speak­ing: Com­mu­ni­cat­ing your mes­sage with con­fi­dence is one of the most impor­tant cus­tomer ser­vice skills a per­son can pos­sess. Peo­ple are inclined to fol­low those who appear to know what they’re talk­ing about; by con­vey­ing their ideas and sug­ges­tions with con­fi­dence, great com­mu­ni­ca­tors estab­lish credibility.

To con­vey con­fi­dence when you speak, enun­ci­ate clearly, keep the tone and vol­ume of your voice low, and mod­u­late your voice empha­size your key points.

When cus­tomers feel they are lis­tened to, and when they are assisted by confident-sounding rep­re­sen­ta­tives, they receive the type of qual­ity ser­vice we have come to regard as cus­tomer ser­vice excel­lence.

Seth Brick­ner is a Devel­oper and Facil­i­ta­tor with Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems Inter­na­tional. In addi­tion to train­ing and devel­op­ment, his back­ground includes edu­ca­tion, tech­ni­cal sup­port and cus­tomer ser­vice. When not trav­el­ing or in front of a com­puter mon­i­tor, Seth can be found run­ning, cook­ing, play­ing gui­tar, read­ing, con­vinc­ing him­self he can sing, or enjoy­ing the hik­ing trails of Colorado.
6 What Customer Service Skills are Most Valuable?
Seth Brickner
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