The importance of customer service skills for every employee
If you don’t have an outward-facing job, then you might not think it’s important to hone your customer service skills. Well, think again. Throughout your career, you’re likely to experience numerous professional situations that require good customer service skills. For example, you might have to fill in for a colleague who usually handles customer inquiries. Your boss could ask you to participate in a meeting with an in-house stakeholder, which means you should be able to field questions and provide information. You can even benefit from good customer service skills during a job interview, since you’re basically answering questions about your professional abilities. In other words, even if you’re an introvert, honing those skills that work well in a customer service setting can be to your advantage.
Three customer service skills every employee needs
Customer service skills encompass a series of abilities. Three of the most important are communication skills, patience, and resourcefulness. Here’s how you can hone them:
1. Communication skills: Good listening and speaking skills are essential to effective interactions. You can hone your communication skills by listening without interrupting, summarizing the gist of a conversation partner’s message, and taking a moment to formulate what you want to say before speaking.
2. Patience: Interacting with others isn’t always easy, and people can try your patience for any number of reasons ranging from rudeness to a lack of organization. However, you have to stay professional at all times. Whenever you feel yourself becoming impatient, take a deep breath, and count to 10 before responding.
3. Resourcefulness: Even the most skilled conversationalist can’t predict what someone might say next. Certain questions or remarks might be totally unexpected—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, since it can make you approach the topic in a different manner. Being resourceful and keeping an open mind will allow you to continue a conversation in a way that could benefit both parties instead of shutting down communications. You can become more resourceful by not always responding immediately when someone asks you something to which you don’t have an answer. It’s better to say, “That’s a good point. Let me think about it and get back to you” than to awkwardly end the conversation.
Honing your customer service skills will stand you in good stead, regardless of what your job duties are. Take some time to practice the three most important skills, and you’ll become more adept at navigating professional interactions with everyone from colleagues to clients.