8 soft skills for a better customer service


After the sale is before the sale. The contacts of your call center agents in support are a massive opportunity to strengthen your customer loyalty lucratively through an excellent customer experience. For this purpose, your operators should have specific skills. Read this blog article to find out what these skills are.

Why is it so important to continuously work on improving the customer experience? Because numerous studies have shown that a positive customer experience considerably increases customer loyalty. And, loyal customers are more likely to become regular customers or even so-called brand ambassadors. They might also share the values and culture of your company — and this ultimately results in a higher turnover.

Your customers on the phone: Your opportunity for maximum satisfaction

Customers have high demands — when it comes to being provided with a satisfactory service. And the competition does not hesitate to promise your customers a better experience. Your support professionals in the call center must therefore actively work towards providing a service that ensures a high level of satisfaction by meeting customers in their current location, including them in the process and leaving a positive impression. This is where skills 1, 2, and 3 are key.

Skill #1: Define all caller situations in the customer journey

Not all callers find themselves in the same situation. Always following the same pattern when dealing with a customer for the first time and then arriving at the root of the problem later, is wasting potential. The best way forward is to address the issues and concerns of each caller individually.

Using a CMS enables the present situation of a caller to be ascertained already at the outset. Therefore, concrete forms of address and related strategies should be defined for each phase of the customer journey. The best way of doing this is to create a customer journey map in advance.

Skill #2: Ensure that your customers remember you in a positive light

Proactivity is trumps. Avoid responding passively to customer concerns and ensure that your team knows all products and services inside out — including applications and trends. Being able to offer your customers recommendations and tips that go beyond what is expected will increase the level of caller satisfaction. On this basis, you can be sure that the contact experience provided will leave a lasting, positive impression on your customers.

Skill #3: Involve your customers in your solution process

Personally involving your customers in the solution process gives them a sense of being valued and the feeling of being taken seriously. For this involvement, regularly obtain feedback on your assumptions and express your thoughts in the search for a joint solution. This additionally has the following advantage: What your customers tell you in the process goes far beyond the mere description of specific problems and provides you with a great deal of useful information on how to improve your products and services. Do not miss this opportunity!

Jointly solving problems — your customers on an equal footing

A customer discussion can only end with two winners who are able to jointly solve a problem in a process. Skills 4 to 6 can be helpful.

Skill #4: Avoid causing your customers to feel uneasy

The emotional part of a call is a particular skill. The basis for this is a specific mindset — with the following characteristics:

  • Your conversation is not a contest about who knows more about products and services.
  • Your call center agent should not slip into the role of a know-it-all.
  • Customers requiring your support should not be made to feel uneasy at the end of the conversation. On the contrary: they should feel positive in the knowledge of perhaps finding a solution to a similar problem themselves in the future and the high probability of them calling back for help and support if needed.

Skill #5: Create an emotional bond

Customers today do not only see the product, they generally want much more: They would like to share values, profit from an optimal price-performance ratio and make positive experiences — and this over their entire customer journey. To this end, your call center agents can use the power of emotions, which can be triggered by different actions, for example:

  • expressive, short storytelling,
  • small surprises like a free upgrade or hand-written individual note,
  • anticipation of frequent needs.

Skill #6: Make it easy for customers

What applies to the direct selling process also counts in support: agents that reduce the hassle for customers and make the process easier at the same time contribute towards increasing sales performance.

  • Avoid customers having to repeat their concerns.
  • Provide valuable documents following the telephone conversation.
  • Immediately call back customers where calls are interrupted.
  • Ensure that customer problems are resolved satisfactorily at the outset.
  • Ensure that customers can fully rely on your support and expertise when purchasing your products or services.

Teamwork in the call center: that’s what matters

Optimal customer support is not a permanent 1:1 experience, but also calls for good teamwork behind the scenes. This is where skills 7 and 8 come in.

Skill #7: Share new knowledge from dealing with customers within the support team

Helping customers in individual cases is the aim of every customer contact. Helping a member of your support team to learn something new that can be transferred to other customer support cases, can increase the success of support considerably. It is therefore important for team members to share customer experiences with satisfactory solutions with other call agents. This can maximize the productivity of the entire support team.

Skill #8: Transfer knowledge already before the first support enquiries

Do you have a product that repeatedly receives updates or is complex? Be proactive and ensure the permanent qualification of your call center agents. As soon as updates reach your customers, corresponding support enquiries are received. Starting to transfer knowledge at this stage is already too late because a large number of customer enquiries concerning product upgrades are received at an early stage.

Your minimal program: The basic principles for correct phone calls

Every phone call is a valuable customer contact — and is more than just an act of providing information. This naturally also applies to an in-house solution. Your customers can hear whether your employees find their call annoying or accept it in a positive way. Complaints in particular are liable to give rise to unpleasant escalations.

If you are unable or do not wish to use a professional call center, your employees should at least ensure the following or be trained accordingly:

  • Use a standard, fixed welcoming address — this ensures that customers know that they have reached the right number.
  • Do not speak too fast.
  • Keep statements simple.
  • Avoid using technical terms.
  • Keep calm during calls even if the caller is angry.
  • Reach concrete agreements.
  • Make notes of all telephone conversations — preferably digital: with name, concerns and agreements reached.
  • At the end of the call summarize the results.

If your call center has these eight skills, the door to a positive customer experience and optimal success is wide open.

Would you like to put your call center and customer experiences to the test? Use professional analysis tools, uncover weaknesses and ascertain where training is still required. More on this in our article “How to use your call center analysis optimally”.

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