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Top 7 Key Skills For Customer Service Jobs

By Sunder Ramachandran

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Great service is the only differentiator in today's competitive world and every company is investing in hiring professionals with a service oriented attitude.

Customer centric jobs call for certain unique skill sets and those who possess them are usually spoilt for choices. So if you are looking to make a career in the service industry, here are some key customer service skill sets that you need to brush up on.

  1. Communication skills:

    Good communication is the lifeblood of the service industry and it's important that your communication style reflects professionalism. This means your language should be devoid of grammatical errors and you should be able to demonstrate a satisfactory use of word choice so that your customer maintains confidence in your skill sets. Follow the T.I.S rule (Think it, Ink it, Sink it). When you come across a new word, make a note of it in your personal diary and read it out loud atleast thrice.
    You need to speak in an upbeat and positive tone. This enables you to connect with your customers and colleagues and also build long lasting relationships. A lot of negative emotions like anger, sarcasm, impatience, etc also get communicated through your tone so it's important to watch out for it. Your tone should reflect empathy and concern for your customer.

  2. Listening skills:

    Good listening skills will help you understand the main ideas of the person you are communicating with. It also enables you to understand the specifics of a particular situation that you could be dealing with. Good listening skills will also ensure that you provide appropriate answers to customers' questions and understand the emotional clues that she may drop.

  3. Problem solving skills:

    You should be committed and have a sincere desire to solve the customers' problems. Your ability to ask the right kind of questions will be a key factor in providing an effective solution. You also need to prioritise your time and understand a customer's needs and wants.

  4. Flexibility:

    You need to adapt to a customerís unique needs and changing circumstances. You should be open to change and be willing to take the customer's feedback and act on it. Being flexible also helps you identify new business opportunities and make more sales for your organisation

  5. Initiative and proactiveness:

    You need to be proactive and anticipate customers' problems. You should be able to apologise and correct a mistake rather than hiding behind company policies. Walking the extra mile for the customer will cement the relationship and would lead to repeat business.

  6. Professionalism:

    You need to be professional, friendly, and courteous. Being direct and expressive helps you build a strong relationship with the customer. Conveying respect for customer, team members, company, and competitors is also important as this demonstrates confidence in self and the organisation. A professional attitude will leave the customer with a positive feeling.

  7. Task orientation:

    As a customer service professional, it's important to strike a balance between the job at hand and relationship & rapport building activities. While you need to engage in building a positive relationship with the customer, you must keep issue resolution and meeting targets as the top priority. You are ineffective if you keep sweet talking with customers without asking the customer for the order (closing the sale).

Sunder Ramachandran is a Managing Partner at W.C.H (We Create Headstarts) Solutions - [http://www.wchsolutions.com], a Training solutions organisation. He can be reached at sunder@wchsolutions.com

Source: http://Top7Business.com/?expert=Sunder_Ramachandran

Article Submitted On: October 27, 2006