It should be a rite of passage that everyone work one retail position in their lifetime.
Retail positions get you out on the floor, mingling with the customers and truly learning what customer service is all about. It’s in-your-face customer service. It’s where you can get a grasp on different personalities and how people should be treated.
There are certainly customer service experts out there, and to claim everyone can be one is just not true. It takes a lot of work and finesse to learn how to delight customers. It goes without saying, though, that any human being who works needs to know something about treating customers well.
Here are the top five customer service skills every employee from any department should have down pat.
Everyone needs to be able to speak clearly and know how to talk to people so they can obtain necessary information. Communication skills, as hackneyed as it sounds, are incredibly meaningful when dealing with customers. It’s the only way to understand an issue and to articulate how it can be fixed.
Tremendous Listening Abilities
Sure, your ears work, but that doesn’t make you a good listener. Listening abilities are more about picking up keywords or phrases in order to figure out what the customer is actually trying to tell you. Being a good listener means that you can resolve problems quickly without a lot of back and forth.
Loads of Patience
Teachers or child care providers aren’t the only ones who need a boat load of patience. Any type of customer service requires the same skill. Patience allows you to deal with angry or upset customers with ease and keeps you calm when doing so. Patience also keeps you in a positive head space and keeps your mood even so you don’t lose your temper or become defensive.
Willingness to Take Accountability
The ability to acknowledge that you or the business has caused an issue for the customer is a huge step in providing great customer service. Many people are defensive and find it hard to take accountability. Yet, taking accountability actually makes you look better – it makes you more credible. Admitting fault and coming up with solutions is a big customer service win-win.
Have you ever been in a situation where you were ignored by someone working in retail or food service? They look you right in the eye, but keep moving? That never, ever feels good. Attentiveness is keeping your mind centered on the customer the majority of the time you’re doing your job. Addressing people when they visit your shop. If they look confused, offering to help them out or answer questions. Don’t assume the customer knows what they’re doing; anticipate their needs and be helpful.
Even if your job title isn’t Customer Service Representative, you need to be prepared to handle customers and these 5 essential skills could help you in a pinch. It’s your turn! What customer service skills do you think everyone should possess? Tell us in the comments!