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Essential Skills for Customer Service Personnel

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  • 0:00 Key Skills for…
  • 1:20 Great Listening
  • 2:01 Clear Verbal Communication
  • 2:50 Understanding Human Behavior
  • 4:23 Empathy
  • 5:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Janet Jorden

Janet has a bachelor's degree in management information systems.

In order to provide customers with a top-notch experience, you must be equipped with an arsenal of certain skills. This lesson identifies four major skills needed to excel in customer service: great listening, clear verbal communication, understanding of human behavior, and empathy.

Key Skills for Customer Service Personnel

Today is Jennifer's first day working as a server at a steakhouse restaurant, and she is so excited to put her training to use. She's already sporting a friendly smile before approaching her first table of the night. Let's follow Jennifer through her night as she makes use of four skills for excellent customer service:

  • Great listening
  • Clear verbal communication
  • Understanding human behavior
  • Empathy

The guests at her first table are trying the restaurant for the first time, and Jennifer is already proving to be a great listener. She focuses on doing a great job of clearly communicating with them since they require more clarification and specialized care than most guests need. She shares a unique perspective with these guests because, just a few short weeks ago, she had the same amount of knowledge they have. Her table is so impressed with her skill level that they pull the manager aside, compliment her customer service skills, and promise to return for the awesome food and to see Jennifer again. Jennifer made such a strong impression by being a great listener, understanding the guests' behavior, clearly communicating, and being empathetic in her interaction with her table. Now, let's visit each of these skills to better understand how she did so.

Great Listening

For the purpose of this lesson, we'll define listening as the ability to hear something with thoughtful attention. As Jennifer showed with her first table, a little bit of thoughtful attention and specialized care made all the difference in what could have been a frustrating situation for both parties. Jennifer recognized that her first-time guests would require specialized care, so she listened to them and was attentive to their specialized needs. Make sure that you pay enough thoughtful attention to what your customers communicate to you so that you are able to echo their needs back to them. Summarizing what the customer has asked of you gives the guest a sense of security that you will be able to address their exact request.

Clear Verbal Communication

Clear verbal communication is the ability to speak accurately and concisely. Communicating with a customer is one of the most important skills. Confusion and false information can be frustrating for all parties involved. Understand that your customer may not have the same level of expertise that you have on the subject. Save yourself and the customer time by allowing them to tell you why they are here and what they require. Make sure that after you listen, you are able to communicate and summarize their needs and how you plan to address them.

In Jennifer's case, she clearly explained how the 6-page menu was set up. She explained the monthly deal of three appetizers for $12 and how half-portions were available on all entrees. By providing clear communication, the customers navigated the menu better and were comfortable with their selection.

Understanding Human Behavior

To understand human behavior is to be able to interpret or view how a person acts in response to a particular situation. In many cases, this means giving context to a customer's expressions to better understand how you can serve their needs. It's amazing what placing a smile on your face can do for your interaction with customers. Understanding customers' behaviors can highly impact your ability to take care of the customer; therefore, read their needs. Equally important is your approach and how you choose to react. Your reaction can greatly influence a customer's overall experience.

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