5 essential customer service skills to establish rapport

15 Nov, 2018

No matter your industry or your role, there are certain customer service skills that everyone who works in a retail or service-oriented profession should master.

These 5 skills help you to better understand your customer's needs and expectations, which are necessary to build rapport.

1. Active Listening

When you work in customer service, you quickly notice trends in customer requests. While this can be helpful in finding quick resolutions, it can also lead you to jump too quickly to conclusions. When you use active listening, you pay attention to what the customer is actually saying and not just what you anticipate they will say. But that's just the first step. Once you have heard the customer, your rephrase what you heard back to them and ask for confirmation that you heard them correctly. When you do this, both you and the customer know for certain you are the same page and working toward the same goal.

2. Attentiveness

Every workplace is filled with distractions and often we feel compelled to multi-task. The downside to multi-tasking, however, is that your attention is divided. When interacting with customers, your attentiveness indicates that you consider them important enough to prioritize their concerns and needs. Additionally, when you are attentive you are less likely to make errors inadvertently.

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3. Clear Communication

You cannot find the appropriate product or solution for your customers if you don't understand one another. Clear communication is equal parts what you say and how you say it. Avoid jargon and opt instead for language that is clear to anyone outside of your industry. Maintain a courteous and professional demeanor throughout your interactions.

4. Use Positive Language

Never make derogatory comments about your company or products in any context. When helping customer's compare products, highlight the benefits and avoid words that may have negative connotations. If a customer has a problem, keep the conversation focused on finding a solution.

5. Persuasive Language

Once you have established a basic rapport with a customer, use persuasive language to lead them towards the right solution for their needs. When you are able to skillfully steer the conversation, you are more likely to achieve the best resolution efficiently.

All of these skills are considered soft skills. They are not about your knowledge or your technical skills. Instead, they focus on how you are able to interact with a customer. Customers may not remember exactly what you do to assist them, but they will remember how you treat them.

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