According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Customer Service Representatives play a critical role in providing an interface between customers and companies. As a result, employers seek out people who are friendly and possess a professional manner. The ability to deal patiently with problems and complaints and to remain courteous when faced with difficult or angry people is critical. They also note that a customer service representative often must be able to work independently within specified time constraints.
O*NET ONLINE, in their Summary Report on Customer Service Representatives, lists the following Customer Service Tips and Customer Service Skills as necessary for Customer Service Representatives in order for them to effectively interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services and to handle and resolve complaints:
Customer Service Tips
- Active Listening — Give your full attention to what other people are saying.Take the time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking — Talk to others in a way to convey information clearly and effectively.
- Service Orientation — Try to keep actively looking for ways to help people.
- Persuasion — Acquire skills in the art of persuasion. Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Reading Comprehension — Gaining good reading skills will allow you to understand written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Critical Thinking — Learn how to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Writing — Learn how to Communicate effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Negotiation Skills— Gaining negotiation skills will allow you to Bring others together while trying to reconcile their differences.
Customer Service Skills
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem. Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in their Occupational Handbook, notes that because customer service representatives constantly interact with the public, good communication and problem-solving skills are essential. Also, verbal communication and listening skills are especially important. They also state that companies prefer to hire individuals who have a pleasant speaking voice and are easy to understand.
Office Skills and Phone Skills Needed
- Understanding of email systems such as Microsoft Outlook.
- Knowledge of keyboarding, spelling, and grammar skills.
- Basic to intermediate computer knowledge
- Good phone skills and interpersonal skills