Is Customer Service A Skill? A Guide On How To Nail It In Your Business
In this article, we explore the question: Is customer service a skill? In addition, we will provide a fundamental understanding of customer service and why it is so crucial for your business.
Customer service is a group of skills that when combined encompasses all customer-focused activity, both directly and indirectly.
What Is Customer Service?
Before we ask ourselves the question, is customer service a skill? We first need to understand what exactly is customer service at its core.
Customer service encompasses all customer-focused activity, both directly and indirectly.
Good customer service ensures quick, responsive, and dependable assistance to all customers regarding their product or service needs.
This includes answering inquiries and resolving complaints, and providing necessary information on products and services offered by your business.
Customer service also includes planning and executing various initiatives aimed at improving customer satisfaction while minimizing customer turnover.
These initiatives can range from the design elements of a website to having an effective code of ethics that directs employee behaviour.
It’s important to note that a lot of customer service happens behind the scenes.
One of the most challenging yet impactful customer service qualities a business can have is predicting client needs and catering to them before the customer even asking.
Many businesses use BI (Business Analytics) tools to capture and analyses data and make these predictions.
Why Is Customer Service Important?
Customer service is a critical part of running a business regardless of size or industry. Having excellent customer service ensures that your customer is satisfied with the product or service along with the process of purchasing it.
In addition to the short term satisfaction, there are ongoing benefits to maintaining a high level of service. Below we have listed the most common.
The Benefits Of Great Service
- A reduction of returns and refunds of products.
- Repeat business from the same customer.
- Advocacy from the customer sharing their experience.
- Social proof from great testimonials and reviews.
- A building of trust in your brand.
- Increased engagement with outgoing communications.
- A reduction in customer escalations and the resources required to deal with them.
Is Customer Service A Skill? Or not?
The short answer to the question, is customer service a skill? Is yes. While there are some inherent characteristics to a person must have, such as empathy, a friendly demeanour, and a
good moral compass customer service is undoubtedly a skill that can be taught and improved upon.
The long answer to this question is that customer service is a combination of many different skills which can all be learnt and improved, below we expand on the most common of these skills.
Empathy. Empathy is vital for customer service because it helps customers feel more understood, which allows them to feel confident about their purchase decisions.
Being empathetic can also be a powerful way of building trusting relationships with your customers.
Patience. Patience is essential because it allows you to give customers time to express themselves and helps you put yourself in their shoes.
Patience also helps you stay calm and not react too quickly, which can help de-escalate a concern.
Clear communication. Clear communication is the backbone of every business. It allows employees and customers to understand and express their needs and wishes.
Clear communication also reduces communication friction, and this helps ensure understanding between the customer and employee and can help avoid any future issues.
Product Knowledge. Having in-depth product knowledge is another crucial customer service skill. This will allow you to educate your customers better and answer any questions they may have.
Another advantage of product knowledge is finding solutions for your customer that they may be unaware your product or service can provide.
Active Listening. Being able to actively listen and have a high degree of attentiveness is perhaps one of the most underrated customer service skills you can possess.
This will allow you to absorb your customer’s concerns and ensure you have not missed anything.
This also goes a long way at making your customer feel they are essential to you as you have taken the time to listen and understand their concerns.
How You Can Improve Your Customer Service
Now that you know the answer to the question, is customer service a skill? You can work on improving your CS (customer service) abilities and approach.
As discussed above, customer service is a set of skills that can be trained and developed. Below we list some of the most common ways of improving your CS skills for both your employees and yourself.
- Create a code of ethics for your business; if you already have one, ensure it is revised and up to date.
- Role-play scenarios with colleagues or friends so that you are better prepared should they arise.
- Study your products or service and increase your knowledge.
- Study your competitors and their CS processes.
- Take online courses to develop any of the skills involved with customer service.
- Map out potential problems and practice solving them. This will also help you when you face them in your business.
- Use technology to your advantage. Tools such as scheduling software and ticketing systems can significantly increase your effectiveness.
- Offer omnichannel support; this makes it easier for your customer to communicate using the platform they are comfortable with.
- Follow up, after you have helped a customer, a follow up to ensure they are satisfied is an excellent practice.
- Ask for feedback, collecting feedback using a tool like Jot forms will help streamline future operations.
- Keep good records, using a CRM to ensure accurate customer information is vital. You can check out our comparison guide here.
- Share their wins; if your customers solve a problem or have a great experience using your products or services, share in their successes and thank them.
- Respond quickly. If your customers message you regardless of whether it is a direct email or a comment on social media, a quick response goes a long way.
- Reward loyalty. Having a reward program helps promote return business as well as ensuring your customers feel appreciated.
Customer Service Statistics
Repeat Business: Nearly 80% of customers will return to do business with your organization if you have made a mistake, as long as you have fantastic customer service.
90% would return if they had a great experience and were provided fantastic service without a mistake ( Source: Salesforce Report )
Customer Churn: 50% of customers will consider another brand if you have failed to provide excellent customer service. ( Source: Zendesk Report )
These customer service statistics are focus on repeat business as this has one of the biggest financial impacts, a repeat customer will decrease acquisition costs while increasing CLV ( lifetime value ).
How To Test Your Service levels
There are two main ways a business can effectively test its customer service levels; we will not go into detail with either of the two as there is plenty of information online.
However, it is essential that you understand what they are:
- Survey your customers – Post Purchase
- Mystery shopper / customer
Both of these approaches will allow you to identify how effective your customer service has been without the bias or influence of internal stakeholders.
Hopefully, we have answered the question: Is customer service a skill? And expanded on your knowledge of customer service as a whole.
Even if you are familiar with good customer service skills, it is always recommended that you brush on the latest customer service trends as consumer behaviours change frequently.