Interpersonal Skills for Customer Service Managers

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  • 0:03 Interpersonal Skills &…
  • 1:00 Written, Verbal,…
  • 2:28 Active Listening &…
  • 4:08 Tact & Empathy
  • 5:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jerri Glover
As a customer service manager, you must develop your interpersonal skills in order to be effective in dealing with customers and leading your team. In this lesson, we'll examine key interpersonal skills and ways to improve them.

Interpersonal Skills & Your Success

Amy has been looking for a job as a customer service manager. She read an ad that listed a number of required skills. The first skill listed was interpersonal skills. She had heard the term. But wondered what are interpersonal skills? Let's examine what interpersonal skills are and what we can do to improve them.

Interpersonal skills are skills that pertain to the relations between people. They are vital to your success as a customer service manager. They govern how you interact with people within your organization as well as your external customers. There are a number of skills that are considered interpersonal. In this lesson, we are going to focus on five key skills. We'll also talk about how to balance some seemingly opposing skills. The five key interpersonal skills we'll cover are:

  • Written, verbal, and nonverbal communication
  • Listening
  • Assertiveness
  • Tact
  • Empathy

We'll begin with communication skills.

Written, Verbal, Nonverbal Communication

As a customer service manager, you must have exemplary written, verbal and non-verbal communication skills. We'll address these individually.

When writing, be careful to avoid sarcasm or humor. What you find funny or intend in jest the reader may misconstrue to be offensive, derogatory, or dismissive. Write clearly, concisely, and use easy to understand language. Avoid jargon and acronyms unless you explain their meaning.

As Amy reviewed her materials on written communication, she recalled receiving an email from a co-worker about some treats that had been delivered to the break room. The co-worker wrote in the email, 'Don't eat these if you need to watch your weight.' Another co-worker was deeply hurt by this remark. The co-worker writing the email made the remark in jest, but you can see how it might hurt someone's feelings.

When communicating verbally you should use skill-level appropriate language. Don't speak in a condescending manner. Avoid acronyms or jargon when speaking with customers and new employees. Humor and sarcasm should be used sparingly. Just as in the email scenario, when you attempt humor at the expense of someone else, it can result in workplace tension.

Use body language to enhance the communication. Make eye contact. Don't fold your arms or turn away from the person with whom you are speaking. Try to place yourself on an equal physical level with the person you are talking to in order to avoid looking down to them when speaking.

Active Listening & Assertiveness

When Amy thinks of listening, she is reminded of a mentor she had at her very first customer service job. Each time someone would present a problem to her mentor, the mentor would carefully listen then repeat the problem back in her own words. She would follow up by giving the person a specific time in which she would respond.

People want to know that you hear them and understand them. Active listening is a good way to improve your communication with others. When employing active listening, first, listen without interrupting. Let the person you are talking with complete their thought. Secondly, repeat back what the person has said using your own words. This will show that you really heard and understood what they said. Lastly, make good eye contact. This helps the other person feel connected to you.

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