Did you know that 65% of sales come from returning customers? Getting clients to purchase from you again dictates a significant portion of your customer service efforts, making it one of the most crucial aspects for any business looking to maximize profits.
Customer-facing roles need people with certain essential traits to effectively connect with their buyers and provide as helpful a service as possible. Besides technical abilities and know-how, businesses must also improve their employees’ soft skills to drive their growth.
If you want to learn more about the necessary soft skills in customer service, this article can help!
What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are personal qualities and attributes that make up a person’s ability to work with others. They dictate how well a person does with the non-technical aspects of work. For example, good communication is a soft skill many businesses look for when expanding their workforce and what customers expect when making purchases.
The importance of soft skills in the workplace can’t be overstated. Soft skills are generally difficult to quantify, but they work in tandem with a person’s hard skills to deliver on the job.
A great example of this combo in a corporate setting is during employee orientation, where senior staff use their expertise (a hard skill) and their communication skills (a soft skill) to train new employees.
Using the same example, a professional who can’t communicate effectively can’t share their knowledge. On the other hand, a person who can talk but isn’t an expert has nothing to share.
Almost every aspect of business benefits from better soft skills. Effective communication and teamwork boost productivity and cut wasted effort. Creativity paired with critical thinking skills helps employees overcome challenges with unique solutions. And so much more.
Top 5 Essential Soft Skills in Customer Service
Here’s a list of the soft skills every customer service representative (CSR) needs and methods on how to train these soft skills for your virtual assistants (VAs).
1. Active listening
Active listening is a communication skill in which the listener gives their full and undivided attention to the speaker. This skill also includes reading the non-verbal cues and emotions of the person talking to provide better feedback and establish a solid rapport.
Customers with concerns can be distressed and ambiguous when describing their problems. By turning away distractions and focusing on the customer, CSRs will easily identify and solve the underlying issues the speaker may have, even if they’re unclear.
If you want to work on upskilling your online VA’s active listening, scenario-based training is powerful. By roleplaying, you see how your VA handles customer service in a safe environment where you can quickly correct and improve their behaviors.
2. Emotional intelligence and empathy
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your emotions and the emotions of others. Understanding a customer’s emotions helps customer reps respond accordingly, while empathy aids in making a customer feel validated, making even the most demanding clients into returning customers.
A great way to improve your VA’s emotional intelligence is by preparing a list of empathy statements they can use on the clock. Simple statements like, “I’m so sorry to hear that.” or “I can imagine how frustrating your situation is. Let me help.” let the customer know they have someone on their side while doing business with your organization.
3. Enthusiasm and positivity
A CSR’s attitude impacts the customers, so it’s best to approach each situation positively and enthusiastically. If the staff on duty sounds bored or pessimistic, clients get frustrated and feel like the company doesn’t care about them.
Enthusiasm is contagious. If you want your VAs to be enthusiastic and positive, you should behave the same. If you act excited and ready to help, your CSRs will learn to be the same and model customer interactions based on your behavior.
4. Independence and problem-solving skills
A good CSR should be able to handle most concerns with minimal micromanaging required. Ideally, they must catch most customers and forward the ones who need more serious help to the correct channels. However, if a customer rep needs to consult every issue with their superiors, why have one at all?
Your virtual assistant’s skills will naturally develop with experience. To speed up this process, prepare a flowchart or step-by-step guide for common concerns.
Make it an interactive activity and incentivize them to contribute or improve on the guide as they gain experience. This practice will help improve their critical thinking while streamlining the training process for any new hires.
5. Time management and organization
Customer reps handle many inquiries, requests, and complaints before customers get frustrated and leave. Juggling many tasks takes a lot of practice, but time management and organization are vital in scaling operations to success.
If possible, slowly ramp up the number of requests your VA must work on until they’re used to the volume. That way, they don’t get overwhelmed and start burning out or making mistakes when the load suddenly becomes heavy. It’ll take some patience, but it’ll be worth it.
Service with a Smile
Your customer service representatives are the face of your company, and their soft skills decide whether a person becomes a one-stop shopper or a return customer. Businesses that want to thrive should provide the best client experience possible, and that’s where outsourcing can help.
Access to seasoned professionals enhances customer interactions without the long and expensive training process.
Outsource Access specializes in outsourcing for enterprise companies, small and medium businesses, and solopreneurs! If you want an online virtual assistant who covers your customer service needs and more, check out our process or book a call today to learn more!