Strong interpersonal skills in customer service are a key competitive advantage to attracting and retaining customers, as customer relationship competence comes easy.
In this article, you will learn some of the crucial interpersonal skills to be able to provide excellent customer service, with easy tips on how to develop each skill
6 Examples of interpersonal skills in Customer service
1. Active Listening
Listening builds trust and rapport. Listen carefully, ask questions and summarize your customers’ answers; it shows them that you care about them and want to offer them the best solution.
Watch for any signs that they are unhappy, understand what they are saying and seek clarification on things that may be ambiguous.
Customers can provide you with the best source of real-time feedback, and employees are usually the first to receive feedback from your customers.
Together, they can diagnose what’s wrong and identify opportunities to create a better customer experience.
9 Tips for better Active Listening
- Show that you are following your customer’s mindset by giving them short sentences of verbal comments such as “I see” instead of “hum hum”;
- Do not interrupt them;
- Repeat with your own words, one or more of the client’s points; paraphrasing allows the client to ensure you are listening;
- Ask relevant questions! Put what you think the customer said in your own words.
- If you understand correctly, the client will agree. If not, they will at least have the opportunity to clarify.
- Avoid arguing! A good listener is there to find out what the customer thinks.
- If the customer wants to hear your opinion, they will ask. Otherwise, it’s a better idea than to stay quiet.
- Don’t be afraid of silence! It gives you time to think about what the other person is saying.
- Silence is naturally part of listening and is not a space to be filled as quickly as possible with a meaningless conversation.
One of the most critical customer relationship skills is building trust.
Convincing your customers for any deal or solution will become easier if you seem confident and reassuring in your phone or face to face conversation.
4 Tips for Being Perceived as Confident by Customers
- Speak loudly and clearly
The first thing you need to work on is your voice. Whispering or stammering will show that you have no trust in what you sell.
- Learn all about your products
If you do not know what you are talking about, no one is going to trust you. Most importantly, if you don’t know the answer, ask.
Your customers will appreciate this.
- Ask the right questions to be able to help your customers better
You can serve them better if you interview your clients. You can confidently associate the product/service that best meets their needs with their answers.
- Control your body
If you are meeting your customer in person, please remember to avoid doing overly distracting things with your arms just to seem confident in posture; keep your hands open without crossing your arms. Standing upright and avoiding bending as it may be seen as a sign of weakness or tiredness, you want to transmit a positive and engaging energy.
Be relaxed and enjoyable, your confidence will make customers feel comfortable, and they will want to do business with you.
Most likely, many competitors in your market offer the same products, but customers will continue to come to you if they feel comfortable.
3. Management of unforeseen events
Being adaptable is an essential customer relationship skill to prepare for all the surprises you may encounter during your work.
Dealing with the unexpected in work is not innate; you can improve with a bit of practice.
5 Tips for Developing the Skill of Adapting to Unforeseen Events
- Sometimes don’t do anything
While some crises may require you to act immediately, in most cases, the best option would be to take a moment or two to ensure that your response is well thought out.
- Stay optimistic
Here’s another way to think about an unexpected problem. It’s an opportunity in disguise. An opportunity for you to show your initiative, face the pressure and show your leadership skills and customer relationship skills.
Trying to maintain a positive attitude will inevitably pay dividends even in the face of adversity.
- Consult the others
While an unforeseen event may allow you to prove how reliable you are in a crisis, it doesn’t mean you have to fend for yourself.
If you ignore the people around you and the skills and knowledge that is generally available already, you can make your life more difficult.
Ask for help when it makes sense, and ask for a second opinion if you are unsure.
So you survived the storm, and things went well. That means you can forget the problem and go back to normal, right? Wrong!
Assess what happened, why or how the unexpected problem appeared in the first place, how you managed it and how you could have handled it more effectively.
This is also the time to discuss with your colleagues what happened and whether they could have done better.
- Accept the unexpected
Whatever your work routine, there is no way to avoid the unexpected.
If you can accept that you cannot prepare for all eventualities, you will be more confident to face life’s surprises.
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4. Learning to work under pressure
Knowing how to solve problems, think ahead, and keep your cool at all times is a valuable skill that will help you offer the best solutions to your customers.
Handling customer complaints is naturally part of your job. Becoming upset, anxious, or undecided about a ‘problematic’ customer indicates that you are stressed.
You can reduce your stress level if you anticipate and prepare for difficult situations.
These 3 proven techniques not only will help you develop your customer service and interpersonal skills but also deal with the pressure you may face.
- Control and Composure
An angry customer does not control their emotions, so you must control yours; regardless of his belligerent behavior, always stay calm. Let him vent his frustration without interrupting him; however, if he becomes verbally violent, tactfully ask them not to use this type of language.
- Detach yourself
It can be difficult not to take the situation personally, but it is the only way to remain objective. Detach yourself from the tone of the customer’s voice and focus on what they are saying to find the root problem.
Assume that customers generally have a valid reason to get upset; they are not satisfied with the company, and you have to know why and focus on its resolution.
The best customer relationship skill is to deal with each customer as they come to you. And whatever the outcome, accept the fact that you did your best.
Showing clients empathy for their difficult situation and staying committed to solving it makes them feel understood. Listen carefully to what he says, then let him know that you are here to help him.
Apologize for the inconvenience and offer viable solutions to relieve frustration. For example, if your company made a mistake, offer a discount or free item.
Take short breaks to recharge your batteries and refresh your mind; take a quick walk or sit in your car and meditate. Changing scenery and fresh air can help you reduce your stress level.
Rather than having lunch in your office, leave the premises or at least your workstation.
Reading a good book or listening to soothing songs to calm your mind.
5. Time management
Effective management of your time as a customer service representative is one of the most crucial customer relationship skills in your position.
Providing exceptional customer service means having a sense of customer service and providing timely service.
Although it’s not always essential, being on time creates a good impression for customers. And that’s the goal!
Here are some ideas to optimize your customer service skills and respond in time to customer requests:
- Validate the incoming request in less than 30 seconds;
- Respond to customer support e-mail within 24 hours maximum;
- Prioritize customer requests: A customer service software can be configured according to your criteria;
- For example, any e-mail that is longer than two hours and has not been assigned must prioritize the others.
6. Maintain a positive and committed attitude
It’s not uncommon for problems to happen. The system can lock when the customer most needs to use it, and the product may have an unidentified factory defect in the quality tests.
In these situations, what will count will be your attitude towards the problem faced by the client. A positive attitude helps a lot in providing good customer service; the right attitude can turn negative customer experiences into positive ones.
If a customer has had a problem, your team must mobilize to resolve it as quickly as possible; the longer it takes you to solve a problem with your product or service, the more you associate your brand with a low yield and service quality. To prevent this:
- Commit to the customer. You will solve the problem, and this is the priority of your day;
- Offer temporary solutions so that the customer is not “at hand” while the problem is solved;
- Update it according to the progress of the resolution of the issue.
Customer service is all the support you offer to your customers, whether before, during, or after purchase, which helps them have an excellent experience with your company.
Excellence in customer service means offering the customer an efficient service, solving his problem accurately and thus helping him reach the desired result.
Reference and Further Reading
Customer Service Skills: Definitions and 17 Examples. Indeed.com.
Good Customer Service? The 11 Types of Customer Service. Grooming Thought Leaders.
Top 10 Soft Skills for Customer Service Jobs. The Balance Career.
5 Interpersonal Skills to succeed at Customer Service. AcethePresentation