Providing good customer service is mandatory for any business that aims to promote customer loyalty by ensuring the highest level of service that one could possibly expect. Customer delight should be the focus of every going concern, since customers are the biggest assets of any organization.
Required Skill Set
"Ability to empathize with the customers can go a long way in creating a positive and credible impact." -- This skill, especially is useful, when the consumer feels cheated on account of having purchased a defective product.
Sometimes, consumers may feel let down, and blame the store, if the said product does not deliver all that was promised. In a situation like this, a customer service representative may not always be able to resolve the matter, since store policies may not allow a refund.
The customer may only be given the option of exchanging the product for a different item. This may anger the consumer who may prefer hard cash. In this situation, a skilled representative should be able to empathize with the consumer and try his/her level best to resolve the situation.
Tact and Patience
"A satisfied customer can help promote the business through word of mouth." -- The aforementioned situation can be considered in order to understand the importance of being tactful in uncomfortable situations.
A representative, who finds himself/herself at the receiving end, should be tactful and patient. Being defensive is not advisable, since this may further annoy the consumer. The appropriate approach would be to have a word with the store manager, and convince him/her of the prudence of retaining a customer even at the expense of bending a few rules.
Attentive and Courteous
"Customers want to be welcomed in the store they visit." -- It's not just about the buying-selling transaction they look forward to, it's far beyond this. Customers appreciate attention, and being deficient in this department would deprecate the goodwill of your store.
For a customer service representative, it is important that he deciphers between 'paying attention' and 'overpaying attention'. It is the former they want and the latter they dread. Customers hate being hounded around the store. Give them the required space, but be there for them when they need you.
"Customer, after all, is the King, is he not?" -- A majority of customers dropping in at the store carry a mind map of what they are looking for. In sober terms, it is the so-called "just the basic idea" they bring along.
However, there are a few customers who have an eidetic picture of what they want to pin on to, making their way quickly to the cash counter. We are, but talking about a customer who falls under the former category.
The customer visiting your store might have an incomplete, even faulty information about the product they intend to buy. Due to this, they may fall short of expressing themselves to a T.
A customer service representative must put the customer at rest and solve his queries by lending a patient ear. In a way, you train yourself to decode the customer's questions, and if you fail to do it, chances are, you may lose out on a hefty buyer.
"A good customer representative is courteous, and takes all the effort possible to make the customer feel comfortable." -- Customers are an irrefutable investment of the organization.
It, indeed, is the customer service representative, who bears the onus of weaving a healthy relationship between the customer and the store. Remembering details of the last conversation with them and picking it up from that point when they visit you next, is a credible way to make them feel valued.
"Understanding their views and heeding them is what consumers expect of you." -- There are times when customers have grievances.
You know your product has failed to touch the spot of satisfaction somewhere. There is nothing more annoying for a customer than to be left aggrieved, and it's worse when the status of their complaint stands unresolved. You don't want to lose them, do you? And, if you have, serious work is demanded to get them back.
A customer service representative is deemed successful when he works toward winning the customer with his skill of positive persuasion. Persuasion needs some degree of tact; if overdone, it may prove counterproductive.
Good Negotiation Skills
"A customer service representative should have good negotiation skills." -- For instance, let's assume that a person works at a car dealership and is negotiating the price of the car with a potential buyer.
The buyer should not feel as if he/she is being ripped off. Sometimes, this may be inevitable, especially when both parties are trying really hard to push forth their case.
A good negotiator will make the customer feel that the latter got the better deal despite driving a hard bargain for the dealership. This brings us to the importance of being able to understand the needs of the consumer.
Good at Assessment
"A skilled representative is able to understand the needs of the customer by asking just the right kind of questions." -- Probing questions should be avoided, although one needs to ask just the right questions to assess the needs of the buyer.
A customer service representative, who knows what the customer desires, will be able to market the product effectively. The customer will also feel comfortable with someone who knows exactly what he/she wants and will be amenable to parting with more money than what was actually planned.
Tips and pointers can only guide one in the right direction. Ultimately, it's up to the representative to figure out whether he/she has the right skill set.