The Core Qualities of Customer Service
By Carolyn Quainton in Behaviour, Communication, Customer, Emotional Intelligence
What are the skills and characteristics of a fantastic customer service employee? What does it take to survive and thrive in the role?
It’s certainly not an easy gig – dealing with an increasingly demanding public, day in, day out. But it’s a role that’s valuable and highly rewarding – if you’ve got the right attitude and attributes.
In this blog post we share what we consider to be the six core qualities that any customer service professional worth their salt needs…
1. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
“Success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other person’s viewpoint.” Dale Carnegie
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognise, understand and manage emotions (our own and other people’s).
EQ can be broken down into four components:
Developing your EQ helps you to:
- Recognise how you come across to others
- ‘Read’ (and empathise with) your customers
- Be attentive to your customers’ needs
- Manage and diffuse conflict
- Manage stress and build resilience
- Improve levels of patience!
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw
‘Good communication skills’ is an ability to share information effectively – allowing us to understand and to be understood by others.
We communicate in two main ways: 1) Non-verbally (body language); 2) Verbally (words).
Generally speaking, if we’ve got high levels of EQ (emotional intelligence) we’ll be good at communicating. We’ll have greater awareness of how we come across, and how we should adapt our communication style to meet the other person’s needs.
Being a good communicator helps you to:
- Understand and share information effectively
- Build trust and rapport
- Become a better listener
- Handle conflict
- Be more productive
- Influence others
“The defining factor of success is never resources; it’s resourcefulness” Anthony Robbins
Resourcefulness is the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties. And as a customer service professional you are a useful “resource” for your customers.
Being resourceful helps you to:
- Handle surprises
- Improvise and adapt
- Take the initiative (pre-empt what your customers need)
- Reduce conflict and complaints
- Feel in control (a resourceful CS professional steps up and “owns” the customer experience)
- Feel a sense of satisfaction
4. PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE
“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” Confucius
Product knowledge is fully understanding and effectively communicating with customers about your product or service.
Being knowledgeable about the product or service you’re offering helps you to:
- Feel confident
- Handle objections
- Solve problems
- Sell more
- Stay mentally alert
- Be more efficient
- Product knowledge is always a ‘work-in-progress”
- Without Product Knowledge, Resourcefulness is essentially “blagging it” .
5. TEAM WORK
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Henry Ford
Team work is the process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal. Good customer service starts with the team that’s behind it.
Working effectively as a team helps you to:
- Support each other
- Solve problems
- Work more efficiently
- Communicate effectively
- Feel happier at work
- Deliver a ‘joined up’ experience to the customer
“Take pride in what you do. The kind of pride I’m talking about is not the arrogant puffed-up kind; it’s just the whole idea of caring – fiercely caring.” Red Auerbach
Taking pride in your work means:
- You highly value your work and are proud of what you do
- Showing up as a true professional (even when you’re having a bad day)
- Genuinely caring about your organisation, your customers and your colleagues
- Going the extra mile to create memorable experiences
As a customer service professional, you are the face (or voice) of your organisation. If you’re proud of the brand you represent, your customers will be too.
Taking pride in your work helps you to:
- Feel greater job satisfaction
- Feel a greater sense of purpose
- Look, act and feel more professional
- Improve your organisation’s reputation
- Deliver outstanding customer experience
- Raise your profile within your organisation
So what about you?
Tell us what you think of these six core qualities. Anything we’ve missed?
To what extent do your customer-facing employees demonstrate these skills?
Talk to us today to find out how we can help you to develop these core qualities in your customer service teams.