10 Excellent Customer Service Skills
By: Caylin White
We aren’t only about providing customer care support here. We are about building each and every team member to be the best they can be through specific skills training. When you join the VIPdesk team, you are joining a tribe of people that are passionate about providing excellent customer care support across all channels, brands, and companies. That means we need to attract the best people to do the job!
Here are 10 excellent skills of a customer care professional, aka Brand Ambassador as we affectionately call them, here at VIPdesk.
Listening is key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood. … If there is one communication skill you should aim to master, then listening is it. Listening is so important that we take the extra time training our Brand Ambassadors the traits of listening fully here.
The three main (of many) types of listening:
- Listening to Learn or Informational Listening
- Listening to Evaluate and Analyze or Critical Listening
- Listening to Understand Feeling and Emotion or Empathetic Listening
Listening fully means you are using all of these qualities, which are high on the training list for Brand Ambassadors here at VIPdesk.
- Pay attention
- Show that you’re listening
- Provide positive feedback
- Defer judgment.
- Respond appropriately
Active listening enhances your ability to absorb and pass on the data and information given during the exchange. By developing your skills and techniques to actively listen, your communications will offer your customers greater clarity and empathy.
Imagine you are having a conversation with your best friend and she keeps interrupting to tell you about a similar story. You are simply frustrated because you aren’t even done with the story you are telling! Allow your customers to tell their story with an open ear.
Warm and Caring Tone
According to Acrolinx, “tone of voice is how the character of your business comes through in your words, both written and spoken. It’s not about what you say, but rather the way that you say it, and the impression it makes on everyone who reads or hears you. Think about it.”
Warm and caring always wins! It helps to build trust. When customers identify a tone of voice, they’re also identifying a personality of the brand. Developing a consistent tone of voice across to your customers’ connections to your brand, including all social media channels, helps them to understand you genuinely care and your customers feel at ease.
The difference between tone and voice is the personality that comes along with it. Tone is the mood and attitude conveyed by the conversation. Voice is the megaphone of your tone. They need to sync up in a positive way!
According to YourDictionary.com the definition of empathy is as follows: “Empathy is defined as the ability to understand the thoughts feelings or emotions of someone else.”
The three types of empathy are:
- Cognitive Empathy – putting yourself in the other person’s shoes
- Social Empathy – sensing in yourself what the other person is feeling
- Empathic Concern – the need to help them because you know how they are feeling and are moved to do something about it.
How far do you go when you are expressing empathy? Are you so moved by how the customer is feeling that you are compelled to do something about it right then and there? That’s what our Brand Ambassadors are trained to do.
We focus on the empathic concern here at VIPdesk, that’s why we feel empathy is an excellent skill to hone as a Brand Ambassador.
Confidence comes from the Latin word ‘fidere‘ which means “to trust”, so having self-confidence is having trust in one’s self. Self confidence in customer service is a must!
As a team, we build confidence in each Brand Ambassador by believing in them! We create a trust-worthy environment for them to thrive in, be in virtual or in office.
We encourage each Brand Ambassador to be themselves, let their personality shine through as a resemblance of how confident they are!
Being confident truly stems from knowing the knowledge back and front for the brand that they represent – so knowledge is power! If you know every product line, service provided and the ins and outs of your brand, you are going to be one confident customer care professional and that will show on every call, email or text!
Ask Clarifying Questions
Clarifying questions are simple questions of fact. They clarify the dilemma and provide the backbone of the conversation so that the Brand Ambassador can ask good probing questions and provide useful feedback.
Polite speech is often necessary to ask for further clarification of language, especially when the conversation is between a customer and an expert. Being polite is something we hope goes without saying, however, is a part of training none-the-less for each Brand Ambassador that comes on board.
We use questioning techniques in our training with Brand Ambassadors. In everyday life, at work and at home we are using these techniques, we just show them how to apply it to customer service. By applying the appropriate kind of questioning, you can gain the information, response or outcome that you want even more effectively.
The benefits of clarifying questioning are:
- Relationship building.
- Managing customer happiness.
- Avoiding misunderstandings.
- De-fusing a heated situation.
- Positively persuading people.
Service with a smile is more than just a phrase…
Smiling improves your mood and the attitude in which you face everyday situations, including your sales work and customer support. A smile is contagious, and humans tend to mimic emotions, so a good attitude on every Brand Ambassador’s part will improve your customer’s response as well!
A smile costs you nothing, but if you don’t offer one you can lose it all when it comes to your customers.
A good smile can increase confidence by up to 10%, studies have shown. This impression can be seen by people as a vital component in the customer service process.
It helps build a good first impression of your brand; a customer will always prefer to do business with someone who is happy.
Smiling is a win-win for both the Brand Ambassador and brand. So say cheese!
We created five reasons to be truly honest with your customers, your team and yourself. Brand Ambassadors are trained about being honest with their customers to never over–promise or under–deliver.
- Honesty creates trust, which is the foundation for all relationships.
- Reputation of a brand is built on honesty.
- Honesty squashes impatience.
- Truth encourages understanding with customers.
- Honesty creates excitability to provide feedback.
- Honesty creates a positive working environment, even if you are virtual.
Personalize, personalize, personalize! We are not robots, therefore, we should not at like them! Each Brand Ambassador has a name, a story, a life and each customer has the same. The personalization of each customer service experience should shine through in conversation naturally.
Here are a few ways to personalize each customer experience:
- Get to know your customers by name
- Recognize and reward loyal customers
- Reward customers for the valuable feedback
- Learn their story
- Educate your customers with free stuff
- Remember their history
- Relate to their experience with your own story (suitable for work!)
Brand Ambassadors naturally have helpfulness in their skill set make-up. Being helpful does not just mean helping your customer through their problem. It means helping each customer realize something they may not even know yet that could better them! Helping both pre-emptively and pro-actively.
The easiest way for you to become a valuable resource is to be helpful and useful to your customers. This means, sharing new information with them that’s going to help them build value with the brand. Sharing ideas, information and future facts can be very helpful for your customer.
Be helpful beyond being helpful, that’s our motto.
We like to call these VIP touches here at VIPdesk. We are always saying we want to elevate the human experience of customer service and this is how we do it!
Brand Ambassadors have been known to exceed expectations all the time with us! Here are a few ways in which they do so:
- Social shout outs
- Sending handwritten notes
- Birthday celebration emails
- Personalized graphics in emails relatable to the customer
- Gift wrapping a little present to a quality customer
- Create a customer loyalty program
- Put the spotlight on the customer by asking questions all about them
Going above and beyond is more than just excellent customer service. It involves situations which could be truly surprising, memorable for a long time and sometimes even life-changing.
Things like making a delivery which is normally impossible, sourcing a specific item which might not be available in any store in the US, or helping someone with something unrelated to the product/brand – all things that really take time and extra energy to execute. That is truly going above and beyond!
Excellent service starts with excellent skill sets. We want to fine-tune these consistently for each brand we work with. We hope this article has helped you find the right skill sets to create a Brand Ambassador program that works for you!
VIPdesk is available to chat any time!
Please reach out via our contact page or to Othmar Mueller von Blumencron at othmar.blumencron@VIPdeskConnect.com to connect about our services.