Nowadays customers demand a company to be available on different channels, to respond quickly and solve issues immediately. That makes providing good customer service, not an easy challenge. The very first channel was a phone and even though now customers can approach the company through social media, live chat and email they still often prefer to reach the support by making a call. Phone calls can be tough to handle and having a proper conversation requires a lot of empathy and understanding but also broad knowledge in the field. Soft skills are crucial for providing support on the phone, but they can also be easily applied for other channels, here we have gathered the most important skills you need to make your e-commerce customer service rock:
- Acknowledge - make the customer sure that you know why they call and that you are here to help!
- The right attitude - try to match the tone and emotions to the customers, but always keep smiling!
- Proper communication abilities - guide the conversation, be kind and make the customer listen!
- Multitasking & flexibility - be ready to handle more than one issue but never overload yourself!
- Summarize - don’t just jump to the conclusion, let the customer know that you understood the problem and found the solution!
“82% of customers have ceased business with a company
because of a poor customer experience.”
This step is the most important for every channel, always be sure that your customer feels heard and understood. For email, live chat or social media we usually use auto-generated answers, but phone requires a bit more of an effort. Already here it is important to be informative, adjust to the customer’s current behavior and start the proper conversation.
THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
Seems easy and obvious but requires a lot of skill and confidence. An agent should always start a conversation ‘smiling’ to a customer, a warm and polite tone of voice will do the job. However, be careful, being too nice might be a problem while talking to an irate customer! The best practice is to ‘mirror the customer’ by matching their tone. While dealing with a customer who is yelling it should be enough to raise the voice a bit, make the customer hear you being confident and calm, that should make it easy to get the conversation on the right track.
"66% of customers get frustrated because of
dealing with unfriendly or impolite employees"
PROPER COMMUNICATION ABILITIES
The key is to provide excellent customer experience with the support, always listen to the customers, it does not matter that your agent knows the solution from the start, let the customers express themselves, interrupting won’t make them listen to the agent but most likely bring frustration. The key is to be patient and professional, but at the same time stay human, an agent should feel free to use their own or a company’s persona voice and approach. Customers should always have the feeling of talking with a human so do not be robotic! While writing email or messages, it should be common to use appropriate emojis or elements of informal language.
MULTITASKING & FLEXIBILITY
Be ready to handle more than one issue at the same time but never overload yourself! A customer always needs some time to respond (chat and email), so give them a minute to explain the issue but also (if possible) use pre-made questions and answers, it can guide a customer and help to be more clear while asking for the help. However, be careful not to keep customers on hold for too long, it can make them frustrated! Always update customers, usually, it is enough to say “I will get back to you within 2 minutes”. However, respect what you say and if you need to keep the customer waiting longer, let him know how much time you need.
Don’t just jump to conclusions but let your customer know that you understood the problem! Sometimes it is enough to repeat what a customer has said in a supportive way. Summarizing helps to keep track on a conversation, by following up you make sure that both you and the client are on the same page and can move on to the next step - the solution. Often it might help customers to describe the issue better or more in detail. They hear what they have said, and they realize that it might be not enough information! The method should be applied to all channels, and it is not only a useful communication practice but also a great way to keep order in every conversation and make the customers more satisfied with the support.
The basic framework of a conversation is first to acknowledge the client, analyze the case and understand to be able to provide the solution. The most important here are customers, they should be leaving the support calm, informed and satisfied. Each channel is specific on its own. However, they all require agents to have specific soft skills. In our previous blog posts, we focused on the technical aspects of providing customer service. However, as we explained now, it is not only about that. In the age of digitalization and automation, we shouldn’t forget to stay human and train communication skills. Every conversation must have the flow and the right tone. Agents should be thought how to deal with different situations and work efficiently with issues.
If you liked this blog post, we think that this eBook on the skills your agents need to make your customers happy is a great place for you to continue your efforts on creating an efficient and enjoyable omnichannel customer service.
In this eBook made by Zendesk, you will discover the specific soft skills needed to navigate on the four main customer service channels of today - phone, email, chat, and social media. Happy learning!