The moment I realize “Okay, I think I need to speak to customer support”, a sense of dread looms over me.
A thousand things run through my head — how do I make my problem clear? I hope I don’t get transferred elsewhere! Why did it have to happen to me? Will the agent get me?
I know you’ve been in the same boat.
Customer service has long carried negative connotations — often associated with hassles, unending transfers and frustratingly lengthy cycles.
To shatter this stereotype, your business must become the breathing example of the exemplary service you crave as customers.
It’s tough to overstate the value of great support.
When you embody important customer service qualities, you pleasantly surprise and impress even the most skeptical customers.
Join me in exploring the three important customer service qualities in this blog, along with insights on resolving associated challenges.
The 3 most important qualities of great customer service
Customer service works most closely and frequently with customers. It is often even responsible for the impressions customers keep about a brand. There are many qualities that define good customer service, but they all can be broadly classified into three important types.
Technical and critical solving
Personal and professional skills
Individually distinct, yet when united, the trifecta of these qualities empowers agents to create service interactions that customers love.
1. People-first attitude
These qualities empower you to address customers as individuals, not just another face in the crowd. You try to connect deeply with the problems and struggles they go through.
It all starts with a positive attitude and a genuine desire to help the customer in need. Client-facing roles like customer service requires agents to turn rapport into relationships.
Here are the distinct customer service qualities that make you more people-first:
Active listening: Customers have situations to walk you through, frustrations to let out — listen carefully.
Empathy: You know what the problem is — now try to put yourself in your customer’s situation. Genuinely feel what they do and you’d be able to assist them better.
Patience: Customer service renders a highly charged atmosphere. It’s your job to stay collected even in tense situations.
Emotional intelligence: This quality goes hand in hand with empathy. Agents with high emotional intelligence are able to better assess, respond and regulate customer emotions.
How to develop the skill
Employ reflective listening: Summarize information back to ensure you are on the same page as the customer
Involve role-playing: Simulate real-life scenarios and tackle them with practical empathy
Utilize thought journaling: Ruminate over conversations, your responses and alternate ways to handle situations
2. Technical and critical solving
These set of qualities usually come in play in the exact order of thought process.
Knowledge and expertise: As a customer service agent, you’re required to keep deep knowledge of the product you’re providing help for. Product knowledge enables you to troubleshoot most concerns customers have.
Problem-solving: If you have the right knowledge, then you must find its practical application to fix an issue. Else, you must apply out-of-box thinking skills to approach an issue, if it requires going beyond the realm of conventional product understanding.
Clear communication: No issue is solvable if it isn’t communicated well. An agent can only pacify a customer if they know how to state and deliver the right message in a clear, empathetic manner.
How to develop the skill
Gamification of learning: Use interactive games or quizzes to make product knowledge retention engaging and enjoyable
Workshop training: Bring in experts to conduct workshops to address specific areas like written communication, critical thinking, assertiveness and cross-cultural communication
Implement frameworks: Guide agents with proven problem-solving methodologies like:
Five Whys: This technique involves repeatedly asking "why" to identify the root cause of a problem.
Pareto Analysis: Also called the 80/20 rule, Pareto Analysis helps focus efforts on the most significant factors contributing to a problem.
Ishikawa Diagram: This is a structured approach to brainstorming and visually map potential causes of a problem and their relationships.
Decision Matrix: This tool helps evaluate and compare options based on multiple criteria to make informed decisions.
3. Personal and professional skills
The dialogue now shifts to your own virtues, in private and professional space. Great customer service is also a result of your personal attributes and ethical conduct. They are the values and principles that customer service agents are expected to uphold during live interactions.
Professionalism: It’s quite a paradox, really. As a service agent, you’re expected to be personal and mentally present for the customer. At the same time, you must also stay objective and neutral. You’re a trained professional, whereas the customer is just someone in emotional distress. When the CSAT is negative and escalation seems inevitable, stay professional and route the case to an experienced employee well in time.
Adaptability: Customer service is a dynamic function. Situations change quickly, so you must stay flexible. Adjust your strategies and approach to best match the customer. Be accommodating to reasonable preferences like switching to channels customers feel most comfortable communicating in.
Trustworthiness: Uphold your word. Your customers believe they are talking to someone reliable, let your actions speak for themselves. If you promise a customer that you are “here to assist them in the best possible way, deliver on it. Give real-time updates, answer questions quickly or route to someone who can.
3 main challenges of good customer service and its solutions
Challenges run abound for teams that don’t compromise on efficient customer service. Chances are you face them too. Let’s explore the top three customer service challenges.
1. High volume and customer expectations
Problem: Service teams often deals with high, repetitive ticket volumes and unhappy customers with emotional demands.
Solution: To tackle bulk concerns of similar intent, we recommend deploying customer service automation — like conversational AI bots that can take up most of the queries. A well-trained bot is also capable of detecting different tones in the customer speech — and routing it skilfully to adept agents.
One key way to empower agents to rep up efficiency by 30%, as Gartner suggests, is through a connected rep strategy.
It involves bridging the gap between customers and agents through a unified data approach that ensures the latter never loses context of any situation.
A unified agent desktop is the way to go. Customers relay information across variety of touchpoints, platforms and devices. Empower agents with the right context, resources and knowledge at the right time — all at a glance.
2. Knowledge and resource management
Problem: Agents often run into roadblocks because of lack of knowledge, limited resources, lack of training and difficult company policies.
Solution: Monitor performance to ensure company-compliant behavior and use agent training to strengthen your team. Create a knowledge base for agents as a technical guide to implement nuanced solutions. Make it accessible to them during live interactions.
3. Operational hindrances
Problem: Agents also find it difficult to juggle multiple tasks during time-bound conversations. Overworking often leads to burnout and fatigue.
Solution: Energize agents with an AI-powered sidekick to assist them during live interactions. Let AI generate smart, contextual responses to help agents lead the way with minimum effort. Deploy automatic call transcription to let them take notes in real-time.
How to regularly improve the quality of customer service?
Cultivating customer service qualities can not just happen overnight.
It’s meticulous process that takes effort and a conscious shift to a customer-centric mentality.
Here are three best ways to develop such redeeming qualities.
1. Implement feedback head-on
As it goes with any improvement cycle, tune in at the fundamental level. Take customer feedback seriously because you might just find alarming revelations.
Ineffective and unsatisfactory problem resolution
Reports of unhelpful and rude conduct
Inconsistent and conflicting information relayed to users
Lack of personalization
Inadequate follow ups
Reinforce your learnings from the feedback to attack specific drawbacks. While you can pursue addressing them aggressively, don’t forget that your agents are people too. Appreciate their effort and make sure they don’t harbour any negative emotional dynamic.
2. Collaborate and share expertise
One aspect that every function in a company should be sure about is who you’re targeting. Whether it’s marketing or customer service, every function should have an understanding — that goes beyond demography.
Values, beliefs and other psychographic details
Motivations and drivers
Hold intense brainstorming sessions to allow ideas and experiences to flow naturally within teams.
For example, customer success teams can bring their insight on things that bother your current accounts and ways to rectify them. Sales teams can communicate their learnings from countless prospect calls — the competitive landscape, market dynamics, etc.
Teams can align their agendas and collectively work to solve for a common goal.
Look at this company-wide synergistic approach as your very own internal think-tank!
3. Trust your agents
Your agents are qualified and know how to do their jobs.
They have experience dealing with just every kind of customer.
They have a rich understanding of the customers’ psychological triggers and responses.
Keeping this in mind, it’s only reasonable to let your agents take the wheel.
Give your team the autonomy to take decisions within a prescribed scope.
Foster a culture of trust and support, where they are confident to make independent decisions that align with customer needs and your business goals.
Authorize them to take ownership of conversations they are involved in.
Taking accountability builds character.
It allows agents to develop their leadership skills, letting them practically witness the impact of their work.
Diffusing responsibility within your team will help your agents develop qualities necessary to tackle all concerns under the roof.
Examples of exceptional customer service
Customer service that’s exceptional has an impressive effect. It contributes to lower customer churn, more referrals and simply higher retention.
Here are a couple of companies doing it right.
1. Brazil’s Vivo reinvented its customer service
Telefônica Vivo Brasil, the telecommunications giant of Brazil, upped its customer service game with impressive automation.
Its leadership believes that people can only create and grab opportunities when digital connections remain uninterrupted.
“Vivo is a restless company that’s always looking to use disruptive technologies to connect people to things that matter to them”, says José Reginaldo from Vivo’s CX team.
It didn’t take long for telco provider to bank on AI to take things a level up.
Vivo deployed an incredible AI solution that worked hand in hand with its customer service team.
Now, the agents could handle a ton of social media messages effortlessly. The AI technology smartly categorized and prioritized messages, allowing agents to focus on meaningful conversations.
The results? Response time decreased by 65% with agents using AI-generated Smart Responses in 70% of their replies.
Unsurprisingly, this change delighted customers and positive feedback skyrocketed by an astounding 137%.
2. Estafeta Mexicana delivers on time — packages and resolutions
Estafeta Mexicana, the logistics integrator based in Mexico City, saw colossal growth during 2020 — to bring things to people right to their doorsteps.
Working with a lean team, it was challenging to bridge the demand-supply gap while meeting customer expectations.
Estafeta had to create a seamless omnichannel experience while maintaining a human touch.
They turned to Sprinklr's Unified Customer Experience Management (Unified-CXM) platform to have one voice leading their brand.
With Sprinklr, Estafeta established an internal digital agency, integrating multiple social platforms into one unified hub.
Equipped with intelligent case management, canned responses and AI-powered insights, Estafeta's team efficiently handled incoming requests. Proactive social listening and competitive benchmarking ensured it stayed on top of customer sentiment and industry performance.
The result? Estafeta reduced customer support SLAs by 60% and achieved 95% accuracy in monitoring brand crises.
A brand's success hinges on delivering a seamless, unified experiences.
That’s not possible when silos create a major obstacle, fragmenting teams, tools and customer data.
But that’s where Sprinklr’s Unified-CXM is making customer service dreams a reality.
You can curate personalized service experiences across 30+ channels, from chat to social.
By blending data from everywhere, you get a 360-degree view of your customers — making you nothing less than a mind-reader.
When voice of the customer becomes clearer than ever, service teams like yours can proactively anticipate exactly what they expect, want, desire and demand.
Sounds too good to be true? Live the dream with a free trial today.