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The Best Customer Service Skills List You Need to Hire Reps

customer service skills list

 Customer Service | 4 min read

Looking for a good customer service skills list? You’re in luck!

Hiring decision makers need to look at the big picture when building their team. Not only is it crucial for candidates to have the right technical skills, but it's also important to assess for the right soft skills. Many new agents are just beginning their customer service odyssey, so it’s vital to search for the right traits.

Discovering whether someone has the mettle to work customer service often means looking at the total package, including resume, social media presence, recommendations, and interview. Set the right standards from the start and you’ll accelerate the process.

These 10 customer service skills help reduce team turnover and raise customer satisfaction:

1. Patience

Patience is the root that all other customer service skills come from. Despite the old axiom, the customer is sometimes wrong – it’s up to reps to make them feel welcome and supported anyway.

People reach out to customer service when they are feeling their worst, and they may take liberties with customer service reps that they wouldn’t take with anyone else. Are your applicants ready?

2. Listening

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Active listening should figure near the top of any customer service skills list. Without listening, applicants can’t hope to formulate a solution that will leave the customer feeling validated.

They should strive to take a genuine interest in each problem. It’s easy to lapse into the habit of waiting for the right time to speak – but even the smallest hints a customer provides can lead to a great resolution, if you hear them.

3. Communication

Communication tops the charts when it comes to most job postings. It also features on every good customer service skills list. An in-person interview gives terrific examples of oral communication skills.

A well-written, well-organized resume suggests clear thinking, too. Written communication is a requirement for developing documentation and passing lessons on to others.

4. Product Knowledge

This one is especially critical in B2B. Frequently, customer service agents meet customers when an existing solution is no longer suitable for them. Customers need to be apprised of their options, but there’s no time to look up detailed specs in mid-call.

Applicants should demonstrate some knowledge of your products from the very start, highlighting their research skills.

5. Positivity

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Customers may not remember everything a rep says, but they’re sure to remember how it’s said. Customer service experts need to look at every problem with optimism.

Only in this mindset are customers left feeling confident. Luckily, how job seekers describe their accomplishments and their relationships with others can reflect how optimistic they are in general.

6. Adaptability

Customers may not know exactly what they need when they first make contact. Even once reps help them clarify, those needs can still turn on a dime. When someone throws a curveball, applicants must act fast.

Quizzing eager interviewees on problem-solving strategies can help, but muscle memory is the key: Knowing which solutions work in which situations takes time.

7. Time Management

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Customers want to believe they’re being heard. Still, reps can’t spend all day with them. When one person gets more than their fair share, it starts the next one off on the wrong foot.

Speed will naturally increase with experience. Applicants can show you evidence of time management skills, but they also need to know how to escalate and hand off issues they can’t solve promptly.

8. Perceptiveness

Being able to discern a customer’s mood is indispensable to any customer service skills list. How someone is feeling gives you plenty of insight on how to treat them.

That means taking in all the clues: Expression, tone of voice, word choice, body language, and more. An excellent customer service agent extends those skills to phone and email, too – context is key in these encounters.

9. Presence

Sometimes, customers will come at agents with accusations or even raised voices. Most of the time, the frustration customers feel really comes down to worry over the unknown.

Customer service pros are the superheroes who put things in context and focus on solutions. Skills in dealing with the public, managing conflict, and de-escalating confrontation can all be very helpful.

10. Drive

How can a company achieve a culture of excellence? Everyone has to do two things. First, take ownership. Second, commit to continuous improvement.

Customer service reps can’t do this alone: Business leaders must set the stage by choosing valuable metrics. Past experience in a continuous improvement mindset helps new team members adapt quickly.

Even the best customer service skills list can only point the way. The skills applicants need most will vary from call to call and even from moment to moment. As a hiring decision maker, you can’t go wrong with these. Pair them with a philosophy like the flywheel framework for inbound customer service, and you’re be good to go.

Flywheel Assessment CTA

Published on March 29, 2019

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