Customer Service Soft Skills: Definition And Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Customer service soft skills help make a customer service interaction successful. They help representatives provide better support to potential and existing customers. If you are interested in a customer service career, developing these skills may help you become a strong candidate. In this article, we highlight which soft skills are useful in customer service, explain why they are significant, provide some examples of these skills and show you how to develop them.

Related: What Is Customer Service? Definition And Career Advice

What are customer service soft skills?

Customer service soft skills describe how you interact with others, be it your colleagues or customers. They are non-technical, interpersonal skills, such as communication, compassion, listening and problem-solving. Unlike hard skills, which are industry-specific, soft skills are common and helpful across all fields. Soft skills may take longer to develop because of their intangible nature. While some skills may come inherently from your upbringing and personality, you can also develop them through experience and training.

Developing soft skills as a customer service representative may help you better interact with customers, providing them with improved care. They can help you develop behaviours and attitudes that make you a more appealing candidate for customer service positions and assist you in delivering better outcomes for both your consumers and the company you work for.

Examples of soft skills for customer service professionals

Soft skills are particularly useful in customer service because they can help you provide better support to customers. Below are some soft skills which you can develop to become successful as a customer service representative:

Problem-solving

The primary goal of customer service is to address problems for customers. Customers may not always be able to self-diagnose their issues correctly. Having good problem-solving skills can help you better assist consumers in identifying their problems and their cause, determining the best solutions and putting them into action.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions And Examples

Active listening

Active listening allows you to identify what customers require so that you may fix any difficulties they are facing or answer any questions they have. Through good listening skills, you can help customers have a better experience and also create a good impression of the organisation.

Conflict resolution

Conflict resolution refers to the ability to solve an issue by following known procedures or finding new ones. Conflicts may arise when customers think that the received product or service is not as per their expectations. In such situations, having conflict resolution skills may help you provide the appropriate solution to resolve their problem and deliver an overall positive customer service experience.

Communication skills

Communicating is a key responsibility of a customer service representative. As a representative of an organisation, you may connect with your customer in person, over the phone or via chat or email. The ability to express yourself clearly, personalise the interaction and use the appropriate vocabulary and tone may have a significant impact on the customer experience.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills

Ambiguity management

Customers may not know about the product or services that the organisation provides, and they may not be able to provide you with the exact information you look for when dealing with their issue. Having ambiguity management skills may help you get the information you require while ensuring a smooth experience for your customer. Using examples to convey an idea and asking the correct questions are examples of ambiguity management abilities.

Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings and experiences of another person. As a customer service representative, empathy can help you have a better understanding of the situation your customer is in and how they would be feeling. This can help you provide an effective solution to their problem and an overall improved service experience. Empathising with your customer involves listening to them actively, acknowledging their concern, being patient and respectful while they speak and making them feel valued.

Persuasion

Persuasion is the act of convincing others to believe or do something. As a customer service representative, you may require persuasive abilities in a variety of scenarios. Having good persuasion skills can help you guide customers to take certain actions and reduce the time it takes to solve problems.

Related: What Is Persuasion? Definition, Examples And How It Works

Positivity

The ability to use positive language when addressing the needs of your customer is often vital to customer service. It can assure the customer that you or the organisation would provide them with the solution to their problem, no matter how large the problem may seem. It may also allow you to look further into the issue in a way that lets the customer feel more at ease.

Stress management

As a customer service representative, you may encounter stressful situations. The ability to stay calm when interacting with an upset or angry customer can help you reduce stress and make rational decisions. This can help you alleviate the situation and assist the customer better.

Time management

While it is good to be patient when listening to your customer and dedicating time to understand their problem, it is also important to ensure that you provide the solution promptly. With good time management skills, you can manage more customers and solve their problems in less time. This also creates a pleasant customer experience because they are also looking for a quick solution.

Writing skills

Many organisations consider good writing an essential customer service soft skill. Whether you communicate with customers through social media, email or virtual help desk software, answering in a professional, fast and useful manner can help you provide a better experience. Well-written and positive responses can make customers feel important and provide them with assurance, especially if their issue may take some time to fix.

Body language

Good body language can help the customer trust you. This can make them more open, friendly and cooperative. It may also allow you to better understand the issue and provide the best possible remedy.

Willingness to learn

Willingness to learn is one of the most important soft skills. It is essential to stay up to date on new knowledge, customer and business needs and market trends in a position of customer service. Keeping an open mind and a readiness to learn and experience new things can help you succeed in your career.

Related: Guide: What Does A Customer Service Representative Do?

Ways to improve your customer service skills

Developing soft skills can help you become a better customer service representative and also a more competent applicant when applying for a job. Below are tips you can follow to improve your customer service soft skills:

Perform a self-assessment

The first step in identifying areas of improvement is to perform a self-assessment. Taking notes on your customer interactions can help you identify which skills result in successful interactions and positive feedback and which skills you may choose to develop so you can provide an improved service. Self-assessment would be the most effective if you use it as a continuous process.

Ask your manager for feedback

Managers have the responsibility to observe how the representatives interact with consumers. You may ask your manager to give you feedback on your customer interactions. If most of your interactions take place digitally, you may want to share your communications with your manager to highlight your strengths and areas that require improvement.

Ask your colleagues for advice

Talking to people in similar positions as yourself may be a great way to improve your soft skills and learn new ones. Asking your colleagues what helps them improve their interactions may help you in identifying skills you can develop to help you in your professional growth. Your colleagues may also have observations about your interactions that may help you improve.

Observe customer reactions

Your customer interactions are frequently the main criterion when the organisation evaluates your performance. Observing customer responses and actions that result in positive feedback may help you improve your performance and provide a better customer service experience. You can also measure how effectively your new approaches perform by continuing to observe the customer responses.

Read customer feedback reports

If the organisation you work for takes feedback from the customers, you may want to evaluate the reports if they are available to you. Reviewing customer feedback may provide you with better insights into your performance and abilities. This may, in turn, help you identify areas you can improve upon and new skills you can develop.

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