Despite technological development, customer service remains above all a question of human interaction. This means that the skills and characteristics of employees can make a massive difference in the quality of service and experience.
In this article, we will discuss how interpersonal skills play a role in customer service by not only establishing a relationship for selling but also clarifying your doubts, listening to your suggestions and complaints, solving the problems relating to the products and services purchased, as well as working to improve the customer’s experience.
Interpersonal Skills and Customer Service: What’s the relation?
Without interpersonal skills, customer service would be almost impossible. A professional who uses technical skills to repair a damaged product or to troubleshoot, on the phone, a technical issue for a customer, and is not empathetic to try and calmly understand and provide support to the customer, will not provide an excellent service.
What are Interpersonal Skills?
Caballo (2003) defines interpersonal relationships as a set of behaviors expressed by the individual that express feelings, attitudes, opinions, or right in a way adequate and practical for work, respecting other people’s behavior and solving problems, decreasing the likelihood of the emergence of future difficulties.
Interpersonal skills can be considered a class of learned responses that make up the individual’s behavioral repertoire, making it possible to act and deal appropriately in the most diverse situations.
What is Customer Service?
Customer Service is all the support offered to customers, before, during, or after their purchase, which helps them have an excellent experience with the business.
The definition of customer service goes far beyond just providing answers: the concept of customer service is an essential part of what your brand means to customers, becoming a critical factor for the success of your business.
Whether your goal is to maintain customers or generate new leads, you need quality in customer service, which should be aligned with the value your company wants to pass on to consumers and their goals as a whole.
Thus, you have an excellent opportunity to be in touch with your target, boost customer relationship management and demonstrate that you are concerned about it.
Before we delve into the 5 interpersonal skills to succeed at providing excellent customer service, I’d like to recommend some interesting articles to check next. These are relevant and related topics, and I am sure you’ll find them insightful. Open them in a new tab and read them later, enjoy!
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5 Interpersonal Skills to succeed at Customer Service
Enthusiasm is the number one factor in predicting your success in customer service, sales, or management. Enthusiasm is contagious; meeting an enthusiastic person will cheer you up in a neutral state of mind.
If you already feel happy, enthusiasm will make you even more satisfied, and if you are upset, it has the power to soothe things.
“An employee who conveys genuine enthusiasm will do so in a unique, perhaps a singular, way and will fit his style and personality. And whether his style is animated or reserved, it will be real.”
Steve Curtin, author of Delight, Your Customers
- Effective Communication
There is no way to treat all your clients as if they had the same level of knowledge; insisting on this path will only frustrate both sides.
After all, someone who has just purchased your product or service will hardly understand more technical terms or expressions.
Grammar enters the list of things you need to worry about and is crucial to what the customer understands that we have the minimum qualification for the job possible.
So avoid using slang and keep in mind that not everyone shares the same culture or knows the same expressions as you.
Finally, communicating correctly is not just about using the right words and applying a grammar of excellence.
You need to speak the language of each customer and adapt the service according to each situation.
Imagine that you make a purchase from an online store, and it informs you that your product will be delivered within seven working days; however, on the sixth day, your order has not yet arrived, and you receive an email from the store.
In the text, the person apologizes and communicates that the delivery will delay at least two days. Exactly two days later, the product is in your hands. What service lesson can we take from this?
By contacting the customer and warning him of the delay in delivery, you (store representative) resolve the problem before it even happens.
In this way, complaints are avoided, and trust is established between the two parties.
- Empathetic (Service)
More than solving the problem of customers, brands need to put themselves in the place of the consumer, understanding their emotions and showing that it is an essential part of the business.
Empathy is often hailed as a critical aspect of customer service. And it’s easy to understand why: it’s the ability to put yourself in the shoes of others.
This touch, more personal and embracing, will help brand recognition and customer experience throughout the service. However, it is essential to remember that we need to apply empathy in customer service with balance and care.
After all, the customer may distrust a very friendly brand, so keep the balance.
Thus, it is essential to understand the client and his behaviors to know what he is looking for and what would make him contact the brand. Mastering this information will allow you to create personal actions with much more confidence.
One of the ways to put yourself in the customers’ shoes is to create an empathy map. In this place, you should put customers in hypothetical situations to understand how your consumer will fare in a particular case.
Then, it is necessary to note how the company will help overcome the problem. It is not required to delve too deeply, and these will only be initial ideals to develop later when the situation happens in practice.
Another killer strategy to provide good customer service is to collect feedback constantly; ask him what his needs are, his company’s strengths, and how you can improve.
Send questionnaires by email, ask objective questions by phone or apply satisfaction surveys at the end of each call. No matter the way you gather feedback, the important thing is to listen to your customer.
Once you have the information, share it with the rest of the customer service team and use it to improve your processes. After all, it’s no use harvesting feedbacks if you won’t use them to your advantage.
Feedback is a way to show how important what the other thinks is and if taken into consideration even better because the customer will understand that the time they took to make an assessment was worth it and even though the day he received the service had a bad experience the scale of the impression he will leave will certainly not be so bad.
Customer service is a job that requires interaction, so interpersonal skills serve as a means of connecting and establishing a relationship of trust and lasting.
Reference and Further Reading