26 Customer Service Skills for Great Employees
When you’re running your business, you’re already swamped with a number of things vying for your attention to assure you keep your business running and to keep things afloat. One way to make your life a whole lot easier is by having a team of dedicated employees right by your side to give you a helping hand when things get tough. Ask any experienced business owner and they’ll tell you that your employees are the lifeline of your business and without them, you won’t be able to achieve any real success with your business. That said, recruiting quality employees is tough and you’ll have to overcome many roadblocks to ensure you build a team of great employees. To help you overcome these roadblocks, I’ve put together a list of some of the most effective customer service skills that will let you know you’ve got a great employee on your hands. So continue to read on and make sure to be on the lookout for these skills on all of your incoming resumes.
- They’re happy!
This one may seem a bit simple, but please allow me to expand. When I say that you should look for happy employees, I mean that you should be on the lookout for people that display an upbeat attitude and are overall cheerful people. Think about it like this, when you walk into a restaurant for the first time and are curious to see what it’s all about, having a nice waiter that is patient and willing to answer all of your questions will make a world of difference compared to a waiter that is impatient, standoffish, rude, etc. In fact, the experience with the bad waiter will most likely assure that you never return to the restaurant again (and you might even leave a bad Yelp review to top it off.)
That’s why looking for people with an upbeat, cheerful attitude is so important for strengthening your brand. Along with that, happy people are easier to work with, which means that your employees will have an easier time working with each other as well.
Another way to ensure that your employees are happy is by ensuring that you’re providing a platform for them to trade shifts and message each other with ease. Click on the button below to begin your trial of Deputy to learn more.
- Natural problem-solvers
Imagine this scenario, you run two locations of a restaurant and you leave one to attend to an emergency that occurred at the other location. While you’re gone, your team experiences an unexpected rush caused by a field trip that ended up visiting your location for dinner. Your team is doing all that they can to keep up with the orders coming in but they’re just not able to handle it and need some reinforcements. So your most trusted supervisor pulls out their phone, opens the Deputy app, and sends a mass message out to all of the employees asking for some immediate help. Two employees end up answering the call and your team is able to hold the fort until you’re able to make it back.
This example of quick thinking on part of the supervisor is why finding people who are natural problem solvers is so crucial for the success of your business. If it wasn’t for the supervisor sending out that group message, your customers would have had to wait a long time for their food, which would have displayed subpar customer service on behalf of your brand and could have resulted in a bad Yelp review or two.
In many areas of life, what you’re saying isn’t necessarily always as important as how you say it, this is especially true in regards to great customer service. Having an employee that is able to convey a message firmly will often be the difference between a satisfied and a dissatisfied customer.
That’s because employees who exude confidence through their words and actions are displaying that they know what they’re doing and are better able to make the customer feel like their issues are properly being taken care of. Keep in mind though that there is a big difference between cockiness and confidence, and you should be sure to be aware of the differences so you don’t end up with a team filled with arrogant employees.
Whether you’re a restaurant or a car mechanic, you’re going to want the person with a natural ability to persuade people and sway their thinking. While you may be thinking, “I’m not building a sales department, why would I care about that?”, remember that if your employees are going to be personally dealing with customers, you’re going to want them to be able to upsell and recommend products that would be a good fit for what the customer is looking for. Not only is it good for bringing in more profits for your business, but your customers will be delighted with the customer service that is recommending them products. To be aware of when you’re speaking with a candidate that has exceptional skills in being persuasive, pay attention to how well they sell themselves in their initial job interviews.
- Respectful and loyal
While you were in the interview process, how did the candidate speak about their past employers? Were they quick to bad mouth and detail each and every way that they went wrong? Or were they respectful and spoke highly of the employer even though they no longer work there?
This little peek into the candidate’s real personality is great for determining their level of loyalty as well as the respect they have for the company. This is important because if they’re ever in a situation where they have to deal with a troublesome customer that may be provoking them, their respect for their company is what’s going to stop them from losing their cool.
- Culture fit
This one will rely heavily on the type of business you’re running but is important nonetheless. You need to be assured that your employees’ values and beliefs match up with the values and beliefs of your company in order to be assured that they’re able to accurately reflect the values of your brand. You should also test to see if they mix well with your typical customer profile.
- Displays empathy
If your customer comes to one of your employees with a serious problem, you’re going to want them to take the issue seriously so the customer knows that their issue is being properly taken care of. Ask them questions regarding how well they are at reflecting customer’s behavior.
If there is a spill or some other issue in your shop that has the potential of growing to be a larger issue, you don’t want your team to wait around for you to tell them to clean up the mess. You’re going to expect them to be proactive with the situation and fix the spill right when they get the opportunity. Which is why being proactive is such an important trait to look for in your candidates. Not only will they make your life easier, but they’ll go above and beyond of what’s expected of them.
Imagine having an irate customer come into your store that is angry and is just looking for a fight. No matter how much of a hassle it may be to deal with them, your employee must keep their composure to protect your brand and ensure that the customer doesn’t leave just as mad as they came in. Make sure that patience is a core aspect of every candidate you look for.
- Good at picking up clues through body language
While employees should always stick to brand guidelines in regards to customer service, there will always be customers that prefer (and sometimes even require) special treatment. Your employees need to be able to personalize the service experience whenever they need to.
In order to really provide top-notch customer service, your employees must be able to really sit down and listen to the concerns and requests of the customer. This also means picking up on things like tone, language, etc. In other words, you want them to be able to quickly and effectively pick up on issues before they grow to be a bigger problem.
If they come late to the interview, are constantly stumbling over their words, and just seem confused in general during the interview. Then that shows that they aren’t a very conscientious person. Someone that is conscientious will not only be eager to please, but they will pick up on clues that let them know how to properly serve a specific customer.
When a customer comes in with a difficult request that will require the full attention of your staff, you want the peace of mind of knowing that your team will do everything in their power to ensure that the customer leaves happy. This is why dedication plays such a major role in the customer service process, you need your employees to be dedicated to their position to ensure they’re able to stick with the problem all the way through.
- Naturally curious
During the interview process, did they ask plenty of questions and do their best to learn as much as they could about the company and the position itself? This is important because it shows a natural curiosity that will prove useful when they’re put in a situation where they will need to ask a customer questions to better understand the issue.
- Communication skills
This one is kind of a no-brainer but is worth bringing up regardless. You should analyze your candidate’s ability to communicate and efficiently explain whatever it is they’re trying to say. This means having a great attitude and being patient enough to have a full conversation with a customer if that’s what it takes to get to the bottom of an issue.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, there’s usually more than one way to find a solution to a problem, and you’ll need to be aware of all of your choices to be sure that you’re choosing the right one. This is where having employees with creative problem-solving skills comes in handy. If you’re able to, try implementing job assessments as part of your interview process to test their creative problem-solving skills.
Every customer that comes into your shop is different and your team needs to do what they can to appease the requests of every customer. Although you may have your own set of very specific rules for dealing with customers and responding to their requests, if you come across as being too rigid and strict, you risk coming across as fake and not as sincere.
Your employees should have goals for the day aside from looking forward to clocking out. It’s important that employees set goals for themselves whether they be long-term (being promoted to supervisor or manager) or short-term (win employee of the month). One way you can help this is by actively giving your team goals to hit for each week or month.
- Great work ethic
When it comes to great customer service, we’ve all seen or read stories about employees going above and beyond to ensure that the customer is taken care of. These stories stem from employees taking the initiative to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Your customers will also enjoy your employees great work ethic that motivates them to go the extra mile to ensure that their problems get solved.
- Willingness to learn
The only way that employees can increasingly get better at helping customers with their issues is if they’re constantly upping their knowledge base through their willingness to learn and get better at doing their jobs. Your customers will also benefit by being serviced by employees that are well versed in your store’s product offerings.
- Quick on their feet
As a business owner, I’m sure I don’t have to explain how you never know what can happen in your store. Whether a bus filled with hungry tourists pulls up to your restaurant or the power goes out during a lunch rush. You must be prepared to handle any and all occurrences that can potentially hurt your business. Not only that, but you never know when a customer might come out of left-field with a request that catches them off guard. You’ll need your employees to be able to thrive in these types of situations and ensure that they’re doing what they can to please the customer.
While an employee may prefer to work as a cashier, sometimes you may need them to jump on being a waiter, or some other role in your store to ensure that everything continues to run efficiently. Make sure to ask questions during the interview about how they feel about taking up roles that they may not be as familiar with.
You never know how long it may take to handle a particular customer’s request, it may be a quick fix or you may have to spend a week emailing back & forth with your corporate office. Either way, you want your employees to be persistent enough to do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of the issue.
- A sense of humor
You may not have been expecting to see this one but bear with me for a second. A big part of exceptional customer service is making the customer feel comfortable in your store and a great way of achieving this is by using humor to lighten the mood and to build a connection with the customer. Just make sure that they don’t go overboard with it and make the customer irritated by making light of the situation.
When a customer has an issue, they want an employee to give them a strong definite answer. Not a wishy-washy half-hearted answer where the employee seems like they don’t really know what they’re talking about. Although it ties in a lot with confidence, you want to be assured that your employees are comfortable with making definite decisions.
- Thick skin
Last but definitely not least, an employee with thick skin means that they’ll be much less likely to be offended by a customer and will not take things to heart. No matter how polite and well-mannered your employees may be, you never know when an ill-mannered customer will come along and insult them or act out just to get under their skin. The best way to ensure that an employee has thick skin is by checking their resume to see if they have experience with customer-facing positions. This will ensure that they’re at least accustomed to dealing with a wide variety of customers.
In order to build a rockstar brand that will build loyalty amongst your consumer base, you must ensure that your employees are displaying traits that correlate with great customer service. If not, your customers won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere.
A big part of providing great customer service is making sure you have enough employees on the clock that are able to provide services for all of your customers. If you’re having trouble with your employee scheduling operations, click on the button below to begin your trial of Deputy. An employee scheduling platform that makes it easy for your managers to create the schedules as well as for your employees to receive the schedules.