Top 20 Customer Service Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 16 November 2022 | Published 26 June 2021

Updated 16 November 2022

Published 26 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you aspire to work as a customer service professional, excellent customer service skills can help you thrive in your career. Customer service roles help clients and customers with questions, issues or complaints. You also communicate for and act on behalf of your company in a customer service role. You provide clients with information about the company's services or products and often interact with customers more than other jobs in the company. In this article, we discuss the top 20 customer service skills every customer service professional should develop or hone.

What are customer service skills?

Customer service skills are talents and abilities that help you provide support to both existing and prospective clients. They are a set of traits and capabilities you use when interacting with customers and you often reflect a company's values and customer service philosophy by demonstrating them. You use customer service skills to describe, explain, sell or resolve problems about a product or service. For example, you may need to help clients distinguish between different vehicle models if you work in the automotive industry.

Related:

  • What Does a Service Delivery Manager Do? (With Salary Info)

  • What Is Good Customer Service? Definition and Guideline

Why are customer service skills important?

Customer service skills are important because they can increase profits and the reputation of a company. For example, companies with great customer service often get repeat customer business. Conversely, customers that experience poor customer service may cease to do business with a company. Considering approaching each interaction with a customer as a chance to improve their satisfaction and your customer service skills.

20 customer service skills

Here are 20 customer service skills you can develop as a customer service professional:

1. Attentiveness

This customer service skill is about listening to clients carefully. Attentiveness is vital to providing excellent customer service since it means you pay full attention to the client's experience. You can be highly attentive by listening and asking questions to understand what the customer is communicating.

2. Patience

Patience can help you execute an organisation's customer service philosophy successfully. Customers often reach out to companies when there is an issue or concern, so being patient can help them feel you're invested in listening and solving the problem. You can develop patience by taking the time to understand someone's concerns and why they have them.

3. Communication

Customer service professionals can give excellent customer service through effective communication. These skills often involve oral and written communication, active listening and emotional control. Being clear with your communication also increases customer service.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills (With Definition and Examples)

4. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence means balancing your emotions and reactions when dealing with customers who are experiencing issues. Consider keeping a positive tone, relating to what they're experiencing and not taking the customer service interaction personally.

5. Empathy

Empathy is your ability to understand the client's viewpoint. You can establish customer trust and loyalty by demonstrating empathy in your interactions. It also allows you to collaborate effectively with your colleagues.

6. Problem-solving

Good customer service involves problem-solving. Customers often appreciate creative solutions and positive outcomes, regardless of how long it takes. Consider brainstorming resolutions that leave a customer feeling good about contacting the company.

7. Creativity

You can excel in customer service with creative solutions to problems. You may handle several customers experiencing the same issue or unusual situations unique to one customer. The creativity you use for each problem can help you grow your customer service skills.

Related: Creative Skills in the Workplace

8. Time management

Consider keeping time management skills in mind as you interact with clients. For example, if a fix for a customer's issue involves another office that's closing soon, explain to the customer and ask to follow up with them.

9. Product knowledge

Having a deep understanding of product knowledge is an element of excellent customer service. To develop this skill, learn and study the products and services your company offers.

Related: Product vs. Service: Difference and Characteristics

10. Authenticity

Effective customer service requires you to lead and maintain positive conversations that are genuine and authentic. It can influence a client's impression, so consider being genuinely interested in supporting the customer and generating a good outcome.

11. Detail-oriented

Detail-oriented customer support professional can effectively solve a client's problem by focusing on details. For example, if a customer didn't get an order delivered, you can verify the address on file to make sure it's correct in the system.

Read more: Detail-Oriented Skills: Definition and Tips

12. Positivity

A positive attitude is crucial to giving exemplary customer service and it can often influence the customer, too. Consider staying positive even during challenging situations to offer the customer a pleasant experience, even if something isn't perfect. Your positive attitude might be something the customer appreciates more than the actual resolution.

13. Active listening

Listen to customer questions keenly and talk one at a time to not speak over them. You can improve your listening skills by asking questions, writing notes and repeating information the customer shared back to them.

Read more: What Is Active Listening? With Tips for Improvement

14. Confidence

Customers often trust what you say and do when you display confidence, so being mindful of your words and manner of speaking can grow this skill. Consider speaking in a direct, but not loud voice and minimising pauses.

15. Adaptability

Each client's problems are unique, and you may deal with something new each day. Try to be flexible as you handle different issues, personalities and solutions to give the best customer service possible.

Related: Adaptability Skills: Definition, Examples and Tips

16. Professionalism

Professionalism is an overall great skill. Focus on the customer's needs and maintain a calm, kind and professional demeanour, regardless of work or personal issues.

17. Mental ability

Customer service skills require a strong mental capacity to work in challenging situations, and you may encounter circumstances beyond your control. Keep this in mind, though be creative to find resolutions when you can.

18. Tenacity

A strong work ethic, effectiveness and genuine interest can serve you well as a customer service representative. Knowing how to do your job well and the best ways to approach a situation can have a positive impact on the customers you interact with and your career.

19. Willingness to learn

Your willingness to learn is key to developing customer service skills. Whether learning more about your company's products or trying new techniques to listen well, your commitment to continuous learning is important.

20. Graciousness

This skill is essential to helping you end a conversation with a customer. Knowing how to thank a customer and close a conversation effectively can help them feel appreciated and valued. Consider confirming with clients if they're satisfied with the outcome and thank them for being valued customers before offering a pleasant farewell.

Related: How to Manage Customer Relationships (With Importance)

How to write customer service skills on a resume

Here is how to include customer service skills on your resume while applying for a customer service job:

  • Ensure the customer service skills you list on your resume apply to the current role you're seeking

  • Include the most outstanding skills first on your list, working down in order of importance

  • Weave your most relevant customer service skills into your resume profile

Example: “I'm a positive and attentive customer service representative with four years of experience in corporate social responsibility. I'm eager to support your organisation in creating excellent working relationships with your clients. I have a high customer retention rate on cancellation calls by using my active listening skills and authentic personality effectively.

Related: Customer Service Resume Skills: Definition and Examples

How to improve your customer service skills

Here is how to improve your customer service skills to help you become an in-demand customer service professional:

1. Identify areas for growth

Knowing which customer service skills you want to improve can help you focus your attention on them. For example, if you want to grow your listening skills, consider asking a colleague to practice a simulated phone conversation to test the new listening techniques you want to practice.

2. Engage with customers

Customers often enjoy interacting with actual people rather than automated services. Consider using social media channels to interact with your customers, engaging them before they come to you with any issues.

3. Encourage feedback

Even great customer service can benefit from feedback, so consider allowing your customers to give input about your services. Create an easily accessible feedback channel to allow your customers to give you feedback on how they feel the situation went so you can learn from the evaluation.

Read more: Customer Support Skills: Examples and Ways to Improve Them

What are the most important skills in customer service support?

There are many vital skills for excellent customer service, though these are often the most important:

  • Excellent communication

  • Adaptability

  • Attention to detail

  • Empathy

  • Authenticity

  • Persuasive speaking

How would you describe your customer service skills?

Customer service skills can mean different things for different customer service professionals or industries. Consider describing your customer service skills with specific incidents or events that can effectively show your skill level, whether on your resume or during an interview. For example, to showcase your listening skills, you could recount a specific customer call:

Example: "A customer called about an undelivered package. When I asked her how her day was going, she said it was very busy because she was unpacking from a recent move. By actively listening to her, I thought to check which address the order was placed under. It turns out the customer forgot to put her new address for the order and we quickly located the missing package."

Related: A Guide to Writing a Customer Service Resume Summary

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