Top 11 Customer Service Skills (For Managers and Candidates)

Customer service representative with headset virtually assisting customers.

Customer service is often just one element of a broader job description, but an essential component for many organizations. Employers need skilled employees in client- and customer-facing positions who understand how to interact with the public, provide a positive experience, and resolve any issues.

Both hiring managers and job seekers can benefit from developing an in-depth understanding of the following skills involved with customer service, whether you’re looking to find qualified candidates for your team or want to enhance your own application for a customer service role.

Top Customer Service Skills

1. Tact

Customer service representatives may occasionally have to deliver news to customers that they won’t like to hear. By using tact during their interactions, customer service professionals can help manage expectations while being respectful of their perspectives. This can also help the customer feel well taken care of while providing them with a positive experience—even in challenging situations.

2. Patience

When customers are frustrated or in need of help, they may not be the most polite in their interactions with customer service reps—understandably. But it’s your team’s time to shine by offering an outstanding experience. During these sensitive exchanges, it is important for employees to exercise patience and be respectful as they offer ways to solve the issue for the customer.

Related: What Soft Skills Should You Look For On Someone’s Resume

3. Adaptable

To provide attentive service, employees may need to learn how to quickly pivot to offer great service and maintain customer satisfaction. For example, a retail manager may need to balance checking customers out at the register while answering phone calls or opening fitting rooms when they’re short on staff (and we all know how tough staffing up has been in the retail and hospitality industries has been the last 18 months!). Being flexible and adaptable makes it easier to provide quality customer service while fulfilling other duties. PS, remember to recognize the folks on your team who are going above and beyond. It helps them see their impact, feel acknowledged, and can impact retention and recruiting.

4. Empathy

Empathy is a valuable soft skill that helps customer service professionals better understand their customers. When they can put themselves in a customer’s shoes and consider how they could be feeling in that moment, employees can often provide more thoughtful responses. And who among us hasn’t had to ask for customer service at some point? Is that what you’d want your customers to experience with your team? Empathy can be the key that unlocks that.

5. Written Communication

To address customer issues and concerns online, many companies use text-based channels like email, chat, and social media. The ability to communicate effectively through both writing and speech is essential for successful and effective customer service professionals. This skill can enable them to resolve problems quickly and effectively and provide a positive experience for customers.

6. Active Listening

To resolve a customer’s concerns, customer service professionals must be able to identify their core issues. Paying attention to what a customer says when they’re seeking assistance can help employees offer helpful, informed solutions.

Hiring for a customer service specialist? Click here.

7. Resourcefulness

Employees with exceptional service skills explore all available options to provide customers with the best solution without compromising company policies. Once a customer service professional understands a customer’s concerns, they should be dynamic and use their resources to provide the customer with what they need.

Being resourceful likely boils down to something slightly different for every company but needing to understand the available resources and how to access them is pretty universal. Is your team empowered to make refund decisions on their own or will they partner with a manager or another decision-maker? If the customer is saying they’re ready to leave, does everyone know what they can do or how to leverage your win over or win back strategies? Those can be key resources for them to tap into!

How can you best arm your frontline of service to use their resources to positively impact a customer’s experience with your company?

8. Conflict Resolution

If a customer is calling you, chances are they need help with something that feels urgent. And that sense of urgency may lead to conflict if they don’t feel heard and helped. An employee knowing how to mediate high-tension interactions can prevent conflicts from coming up in the first place or escalating.

9. Knowledgeable

Customers rely on service professionals to answer their questions and act as a representative of their organization. Having in-depth knowledge of a company’s products and policies is essential for providing accurate, helpful support to customers. They’re often your first and best brand ambassadors.

10. Accountability

Taking ownership and seeing the issue through to resolution comes down to accountability. An employee acknowledging when the company was at fault for an issue can help customers feel like their concerns are being taken seriously. Or just apologizing for an error and offering a speedy fix can go a long way! Being able to take accountability can help build goodwill with customers and have a positive impact on the company’s reputation.

11. Collaboration

Sometimes it just takes more than one person to solve a problem. Customer service professionals may need to consult with colleagues in other departments to gather enough information to resolve an issue. Building an environment of collaboration can help set your team up for success when they need to address an issue or when you’re recruiting for customer service professionals.

Leveraging Customer Service Skills in the Workplace

The right skillset can make a big difference in a candidate’s success in a customer service role. Those with strong customer service skills can leverage their knowledge and experience in a wide variety of professional situations, making them versatile candidates for a range of public-facing roles.

Looking for a customer service professional to add to your staff? Connect with us today!

Hiring a Customer Service Representative?

Reach out to Insight Global today. We can find you qualified candidates in as little as 48 hours! Questions? Call us toll-free: 855-485-8853