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.