3 Important Qualities of Customer Service

Aksheeta Tyagi

January 5, 20248 min read

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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. The three most important qualities of customer service are people-first attitude, problem-solving and personal/professional ethics

Join me in exploring them in this blog, along with insights on resolving associated challenges. 

Table of Contents

What is customer service? 

Customer service is the process of providing help and advice to customers on your products or services through customer service channels like phone, email, chat and social media. It's an integral part of the customer's experience, from considering a purchase to after they've bought something. The main tasks of customer service include responding to product-related queries, assisting with payment or technical problems, advising on product usage and proactively engaging with customers to ensure their happiness. 

Simple and repetitive questions can often easily be automated through tools like chatbots, IVR and voice bots so your customers can find help quickly without involving your human agents, who can now focus on more complex issues.  

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 let’s get into the three broad categories we mentioned earlier. 

  • People-first attitude  

  • Problem-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 require 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 and 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 while handling angry customers 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. 

Read more: Insights from top industry leaders to amplify customer empathy 

How to develop the skill 

  • Employ reflective listening: Summarize information back to ensure you are on the same page as the customer. Generative AI in customer service can help you summarize conversations quite easily! 

  • 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 

Ways to improve people-first qualities in customer service

  Read more: How do I be more empathetic in customer service? 

2. Problem solving 

These important qualities of customer service usually come into 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. 

  • Critical thinking: 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 mapping 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.

4 techniques of problem solving in customer service

Be a master: 10 enlightening tips to train and coach your customer service agents 

3. Personal and professional skills 

The dialog on important qualities of customer service 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 personally 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. Read more: How to manage escalations 

  • 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, so 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. 

Dig down: The skills and best practices that make a contact center agent shine!  

Key benefits of good customer service 

Back in the day, just being able to resolve a query was enough to say that your customer service was “good.” 

All that went into it was secondary.  

Today? Something as simple as the ease of switching channels tells a lot about your service too. Turns out, customers report putting in high effort for 62% of channel transitions during an interaction (and that’s not great). So, as a business striving for the best, you can’t ignore a number that high that impacts your service. After all, good customer service yields you benefits like... 

  • Reduces churn and customer retention by resolving issues promptly  

  • Builds a positive brand image through happy customer referrals 

  • Strengthens sales by nurturing trust and product stickiness 

  • Brings in invaluable insights to improve or build on products and services 

  • Gives a clear competitive advantage that transcends pricing and features 

When your team becomes a breathing archetype of the three most important characteristics of customer service, these benefits come easily. 

3 main challenges of good customer service and its solutions 

Challenges are 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 deal 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 and intent 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 the context of any situation.  

A unified agent desktop is the way to go. Customers relay information across a variety of customer touchpoints, platforms and devices. Empower agents with the right context, resources and knowledge at the right time — all at a glance. 

Conversational chatbot engaging with customer

2. Knowledge and resource management 

Problem: Agents often run into roadblocks because of a 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.

Agent fetching technical information from knowledge base

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. For example, capabilities like Sprinklr AI+ let you automate for tone, relevance and accuracy on the go and even fetch highly specific insights from your internal knowledge base with absolutely no need for manual hunting. 

Agent using AI-powered smart responses

Examples of exceptional customer service 

Exceptional customer service 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 the 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.  

Final thoughts 

A brand's success hinges on delivering 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 the voice of the customer becomes clearer than ever, service teams like yours can proactively anticipate exactly what they expect, desire and demand.  

Sounds too good to be true? Knock your customer service up a notch with a 30-day free trial today.

Start your free trial of Sprinklr Service

Find out how Sprinklr helps businesses deliver a premium experience on 13+ channels, using foundational AI so you can listen, route, resolve, and measure — across the customer experience.

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