If you have a retail job or have your heart set on a career in the hospitality and restaurant industry, then you need to know why customer service skills are important. But what if you’re not earning a hospitality management degree, how do you cultivate them?
Almost every job has an aspect of customer service to it and even if you’re not dealing directly with external customers, your boss, people in other departments and your direct co-workers are all like internal customers. Understanding what good customer service takes can help you out if you’re a restaurant manager and a customer is complaining about a bad experience or if you’re a graphic designer meeting with your client about their latest project. To help you prepare for any situation we’ve outlined a few essential customer service soft skills you should have below.
5 Essential Customer Service Skills
Respecting a customer is the absolute number one rule in customer service. No one wants to, or should, be treated as if they matter less than the next person. Showing customers (and your co-workers) respect will make them see you are there to help with whatever they need. This will also help cool hot tempers if you’re dealing with someone who is unhappy. After all, the golden rule of treating others as you would like to be treated still applies.
This employability skill is certainly tied to the idea of carrying respect for others. But maintaining a professional demeanor is more than just being respectful. Professionalism entails everything from being reliable, showing up on time, under promising and under delivering, owning up to mistakes, etc. Having a professional demeanor is not only a great way to keep your cool during stressful and tense situations but you’ll also stand out to your employer which may mean you’ll be considered for promotions more quickly.
If you’re interested in serving customers better, try putting yourself in their shoes. Understanding a situation from the customer’s perspective will go a long way to make sure you they get a good impression of you and your employer. This is important to employers because each person that interacts with a customer serves as a type of brand ambassador, so every positive experience the customer has the more likely they are to become a repeat customer.
While a lot of customer service is making sure patrons have a positive experience, there are times when you’ll be called upon to fix an issue for a customer. In these situations, creative problem-solving skills are key. Employees who are good at customer service know that it is better to try to help a customer rather than passing them on to someone else, as customers often resent that game of “hot potato.” Listening carefully to the customer (respect), understanding their perspective (empathy) and thinking through all of the options you can offer are all part of creative problem solving.
Strong Communication Skills
Whenever you are dealing with people frequently on the job, verbal and written communication skills become very important. Being able to effectively communicate your ideas, a company policy or a resolution to an issue helps the customer feel like they are being cared for well and you have their best interest in mind. When communicating, be sure to use positive language and a calm tone of voice. Also maintain eye contact so the customer knows your complete focus is on them. Doing these few things can quickly turn an angry customer into a happy customer. In addition, also be sure to use active listening skills and body language to really understand where the customer is coming from so you can properly respond.
Bryant & Stratton College Blog Staff. “Customer Service Skills & Why They Are Important.” Bryant & Stratton College, www.bryantstratton.edu/blog/2015/may/employability-skills-how-important-is-customer-service. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.