Back To CourseBuilding Customer Service Soft Skills
2 chapters | 9 lessons
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Stacey Taylor currently teaches college business courses and holds an MBA degree.
For many of us, instant messaging was our first experience of having quick, real-time conversations. When instant messaging was introduced, it changed the way we communicated. It allowed us to communicate back and forth with friends and co-workers in real time. Instant messaging is no longer solely used by friends and co-workers. Businesses have jumped on the bandwagon and use instant messaging for servicing customers.
Online shopping has become a great convenience for many customers. Shopping for products and services are right at our finger tips. The only difference is there are no sales people to help if a question arises about a product or service. Thanks to instant messaging and chat, customers can speak to a customer service chat agent in real time, and get all of their questions addressed. In order for this customer service channel to work successfully, customer service chat agents will need to be equipped with certain soft skills.
Soft skills are personalized traits that allow individuals to interact and communicate with people effectively. Since face-to-face interaction is missing when communicating by instant messaging, it is extremely important for customer service chat agents to have the necessary soft skills to deal with customers efficiently. Let's take a minute to focus on a few important soft skills.
The tone of a customer service chat agent is a major component when using instant messaging and chat to service customers. Unlike a customer service phone representative, when using instant messaging and chat, tone can be difficult to understand. Let's use reading a book as an example. When we read a book, we tend to understand and feel the tone of each character because of the writing style. This is a skill that customer service chat agents should be able to convey as well. For example, if a customer asks if there are any coupons that can be applied to their order, the chat agent can respond with 'I have great news! You can receive 30% off your order using this coupon code.' The use of punctuation marks can demonstrate a person's tone through writing.
A customer service chat agent's tone plays an important role in a customer's perception. When chatting with customers, the words used to communicate should be meaningful. Therefore, it is important to communicate in a polite, empathetic, and professional way.
Starting the instant messaging and chat session with a personal greeting is a great way at being polite. Customers like to feel appreciated and special, so customer service chat agents should address them by name, while thanking them for reaching out. For example, 'Hello Sara, thank you for contacting XYZ Company. How may I help you?' is a great way to start off a chat. If the customer did not provide a name, it is OK to ask for it, 'Hello, who do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?' This shows the customer that you care and sets a positive tone for the remainder of the conversation.
If the customer starts the chat off with a complaint, this is where empathy should be displayed. For example, 'Hello Sara, I am really sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing, but I am here to help. Let me look into a solution,' shows the customer you are sympathetic, understanding, and concerned.
Professionalism is so important when it comes to customer service. A company's reputation and brand can be jeopardized by having a rude and unprofessional customer service chat agent. Customer service chat agents' writing should be free from writing errors, abbreviations, and sarcasm. Now, I know we all love using texting acronyms (brb, lol, btw) when communicating, as it allows us to communicate faster. However, they should not be used in a professional setting. Never use sarcasm because it can be misinterpreted through writing. Lastly, always double check for grammatical and spelling errors, especially the spelling of the customer's name.
Multitasking is important for any customer service representative. Customer service chat agents should be able to handle multiple chats at once. However, keep in mind that multitasking should be used to promote efficiency and not kill it. If customer service chat agents take on too many chats at one time, they run the risk of making a mistake, which can jeopardize the company's brand. In order for customer service chat agents to multitask effectively, they should take on no more than three customers at a time.
Canned responses are a great way for customer service chat agents to reply faster, and they can help with multitasking. However, they should be used with care. You never want to give customers the impression that they are interacting with a robot or reading from a script. A successful way to use canned responses is when answering frequently asked questions, such as product specs and shipping policy. For example, if a customer asks about the companies shipping costs, you could respond with a canned response, 'There are no shipping charges and you should receive your product within 5 business days.' This allows the customer service chat agent to respond quickly without having to write the entire sentence.
There may be times when customer service chat agents run into customers that have a hard time expressing themselves in writing. That's why it is always important for chat agents to read their customers responses carefully and ask questions if more clarification is needed. Customer service chat agents should have strong reading and listening skills. Customer service chat agents should listen for key information and confirm that they understand what the customer's question or concern is. For example, if a customer is not able to turn on or reboot a tablet that they just purchased, the agent could say, 'To make sure I understand your question, you would like to know how to turn on and reboot your tablet?' Restating the customer's question shows that you understand the issue and will address their request.
When companies service customers through instant messaging and chat, customer service chat agents should possess specific soft skills, or personalized traits that allow individuals to interact and communicate with people effectively. Possessing soft skills, such as the ability to apply the correct tone through writing, multitasking, and strong reading and listening skills, can increase customer service efficiency while building relationships with customers.
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Back To CourseBuilding Customer Service Soft Skills
2 chapters | 9 lessons