Working with the general public can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s a wonderful feeling when you can make a customer smile, but not all customers are easily wooed. Great customer service skills require communication and a basic understanding of human behavior. You can often find classes offered at your local community college that will take a closer, in-depth look at what makes up great customer service skills, and we will be discussing some of those in this blog. Contact Glendale Community College’s Professional Development Center for more information on customer service skills classes and more.
One of the most important factors in customer service is communication. It’s important to listen to not only what the customer is saying, but to also listen to their body language. Understanding what is the heart of the issue will ensure that you respond appropriately. Communication is the basis for every relationship — both professional and personal.
Communication is the number one skill that an employer looks for because they are detrimental to the entire business, both internally and externally. Proper communication within a business can directly affect a customer’s experience, just as much as the communication with the customer themselves.
Patience, Attentiveness, and Empathy
The way you respond to a customer is just as important, if not more, than understanding what they are trying to communicate. When you show patience with a customer, you prove to them that they are your priority. Listen to them closely, ask questions, and respond quickly and appropriately to their concerns.
It’s important to understand how the customer feels, so that you know how you would want an employee to react to you if the situation were reversed. Empathy allows you to not just think about a situation from another perspective, but to feel it.
When you have patience,listen to a customer attentively, ask them questions, and listen to the answers rather than worrying about what you are going to say next, the scenario tends to play out better for everyone involved. Understanding how a customer is feeling will allow you respond appropriately to their concerns.
Adapting to Specific Customer Behavior Styles
There are four general customer behavior styles, and understanding each will allow you to respond appropriately to a number of different situations. The more you understand about your customers’ behavior, the more you can understand how to not just make them happy, but how to exceed their expectations.
- Analytical – These customers will be concerned with data. They want details and facts to back up their decisions. When dealing with an analytical customer, the best thing you can do is provide them with facts. Make a list of details about the product or service they are considering, be patient and allow them time to process, and let them weigh out the pros and cons.
- Driver – The driver is exactly what it sounds like — they want the important information so they can make a decision and get things done. With these customers you’ll want to get straight to the point and focus on the decision making factors.
- Amiable – These are the customers that want to make a personal connection, and will take the time to discuss personal interests with you. When dealing with an amiable customer, take your time and find common ground. This effort will result in them listening to your advice, and you can steer them in the direction that is best suited for their specific needs.
- Expressive – You will know you’re speaking with an expressive person because they like to talk in terms of the big picture. When you’re dealing with one of these customers, ensure that you give them the facts that fit into that picture, and most importantly, ask for their opinion. Let them talk about how they feel about the products or services and how each would fit into their ideal image.
Allow the customer’s behavior style guide your service. Make sure that how you listen and how you respond, go hand-in-hand with how the customer feels and how they make decisions. To learn more about these customer behavioral styles and how to efficiently interact with each take a class at The Professional Development Center in Glendale.
Problem Solving and Defusing Difficult Situations
There are certain steps that a customer service professional should take when they are trying to solve a problem or deal with a particularly difficult customer. First and foremost, remain calm. Don’t allow their anger or energy to affect yours. Continue to listen to what is upsetting them, and repeat it back to ensure that it is indeed the issue that you want to focus on.
Make sure you show empathy at this point; understand where the customer is coming from and how you would feel in their situation. When you understand the issue, be very clear in explaining to the customer the steps you are going to take to solve this problem for them. Take your time here, and make sure that the customer knows that they are your priority and you will do what’s needed to make them happy.
Practice your New Customer Service Skills
Reading about skills and understanding how they apply in theory is a great start, but in order for you to improve your customer service skills, you must put to practice the new things that you have learned. You have to consciously make the decision to improve your communication skills and show empathy. You have to remind yourself to pay attention to customer behavior so that you know which style category they fall into so you can appropriately respond to their needs. Practicing the new skills that you have read about will help you incorporate them on a day-to-day basis and make you a customer service aficionado.
Take a Customer Service Skills Class at The Professional Development Center
The Professional Development Center at Glendale Community College offers an array of classes to further your career. Everything from improving your customer service skills to learning new technical skills for a new career. Contact the Professional Development Center in Glendale today to take your career to the next level.