In many countries, customer support is straightforward – a customer has an inquiry, an agent helps them, and both parties go their separate ways. Usually nothing memorable happens. But how can you change this into a positive memory for your customer? Soft skills can be utilized to make a routine support experience something that stays with a customer for a long time and helps drive loyalty and satisfaction. Here are the 5 soft skills that are essential to great customer support teams and skills you should look for if you want your support operation to improve…
1) Positivity – This is an important soft skill for not only customer support but life in general. People who have a positive outlook are more likely to believe a solution exists and will work harder to find it for the customer. When assisting customers, a positive attitude can change the mood of a conversation and put them at ease as the agent works on a solution to their issue. Agents who can change a support experience to a positive tone early in the conversation are often the most successful and receive the best reviews.
2) Accountability – Sometimes even with a positive attitude the answer to an issue isn’t what we’d like it to be. This is where accountability comes into play. No agent is perfect and sometimes they may accidentally close a ticket too early or provide a wrong answer to a customer. Don’t focus on the erroneous actions but look at how they react when they learn about their mistake. Agents that accept responsibility for the situation and look to make it better are the ones you want to keep.
3) Willingness to Collaborate – Even the best agents aren’t going to have the right answer to everything. This is where being collaborative is important in finding the answer in a timely manner. Be it in-person or through internal chat via a customer support software solution, finding people who can work well together is critical in building a strong team. It elevates the entire level of quality for the team and makes agents feel like they aren’t all alone in dealing with customer issues.
4) Humility – Part of a strong collaborative relationship is knowing that your idea or solution isn’t always the best one. Humility is key in this regard. Having a super knowledgeable agent is awesome, but if they take all the credit every time something good happens on your team it takes away from the morale of everyone else. Seek out agents who aren’t looking to brag on their latest accomplishments, but make sure leadership acknowledges them when they do well as good work should always be recognized.
5) Patience – Thanks for waiting on our last skill! Being patient with both customers and team members can be difficult but it is important. Sometimes customers just want to vent and be heard – having agents that are willing to listen and be attentive is crucial for these moments. However, remember agents aren’t superhuman and make sure you have support software or something similar in place that has customer information (i.e. what products they have) so agents don’t have to wait or rely on confused customers for important knowledge. Your competitors likely have a system in place for this and so should you because it makes supporting customers easier.
In short, great customer support agents have one thing in common – they all possess a wide array of soft skills. Approaching customer support with a good attitude, showing willingness to work with others, and being quietly reliable are the basic soft skills all great agents have. These skills simply can’t be replicated by technology but providing the right tools for agents can amplify the skills to make their customer support even better.