The holiday season is here and like previous years, it is going to be extremely busy. While it can be difficult for customers to choose the perfect gift for their loved ones, it is even more difficult for customer service personnel to handle all the influx. The holiday season is a make or break time for all kinds of businesses irrespective of their size. Providing great customer experience throughout the year generally and during the holidays especially can make all the difference. Ensuring that your customer service teams have the right skillset is crucial. Here’s a list of necessary skills that your customer service representatives need to have to help your business be more successful this holiday season.
We are constantly surrounded by distractions. Even if you are sitting in a secluded environment without any distracting factors, your mind can still wander off easily. Our minds are so dynamic that it is difficult for us to focus and listen to something especially when we have to do it for an extended period of time throughout the week. If you are not actively listening then it’s highly possible that you do not understand the customer’s problem and it can grow into a mess. Active listening is an important skill for customer service especially during the busy shopping season. A pro tip, once your customers have finished saying something, give them a summary of their concern to ensure you heard it right. Also, short breaks can help you refresh your mind and pay attention to the customer. This way you will be able to offer better support thus helping increase business.
Time is of the essence when you are dealing with multiple customers at a time or when there is a queue of customers seeking help. Time management skills are essential for customer service representatives. Ideally you should deal with customers on a first come first serve basis. Dividing your support teams into two or more levels of escalation can help you manage time and load as well. Different levels of support can be provided to customers based on the issues brought forward, this can happen by putting in place a prequalification criteria. Determine the needs of your customers and escalate the process to the right department or support level as per the requirement. You have to find the balance by prioritizing requests. On the website, social media or company app, live chat support is a great way to manage queries and handle issues in a timely manner. Customer service chat personnel can handle multiple chats at the same time.
All your other skills can go to waste if you do not know the art of communication. Try using simple language which is easy to understand. Avoid technical jargon unless absolutely necessary. If communication is happening with customers via live chat, make sure you use some emojis to make the conversation more interactive, more human and easy to relate to. While on a call with the customer, focus on the tone of your voice. Speak with clarity and empathy. Listen to the customer and respond to them in a timely manner with the right choice of words, tone and body language.
Empathy, in this case specifically, means the ability to understand the customer’s point of view and responding accordingly. This is one of the most important skills when it comes to dealing with angry customers but as we said above, all your efforts to show empathy will be a waste if you cannot communicate properly. Many of the customers might be buying from you for the first time and may have a lot of questions. There can also be a situation where the customer is angry or disappointed. Just put yourself in their shoes and you will be able to deal with the situation because you will understand how they are feeling. Be considerate of what others feel and even if you cannot find a solution right away, choose the right words to say. Customers want to be heard and have the need to be understood.
Online shopping is at its peak during the holiday season. Your websites will be brimming with traffic and consequently, you should have live chat agents answer customer queries and help find information required. This is the most basic skill they need to have especially during the holiday season when there are going to be so many help requests. There can either be a situation where there are queues of people requiring support or a difficult customer scenario to deal with. Whatever the situation is, a good customer support agent needs to be able to handle the pressure during difficult situations. Some pro tips to better pressure management and handling difficult situations is to try keeping calm. Take short breaks now and then, go for a walk and stretch out.
All of the above customer service skills are crucial and if your team lacks any of them then it is the perfect time to help them develop the right skillset. Once they have the skills, you can offer excellent quality support in the holiday season as well as throughout the year.