Learn about the key elements of customer service professionalism.
- [Instructor] When service desk managers are asked, would you rather hire someone with better customer service skills or technical skills, nine times out of 10, managers will respond customer service skills, hands down. Technical skills are vital, but if you can't be professional, friendly, and provide quality customer service, it doesn't matter how technical you are. The word quality is often used to describe service, so what exactly does that mean? Quality is defined as the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind, the degree of excellence of something.
Excellence in this context is going to apply to customer service and we are going to review the customer service skills that are required to provide quality, professional customer service. Professionalism is the foundation that guides customer service and communication with customers as well. Professionalism is defined as being courteous, being honest, using good judgment, and displaying professional behavior as someone who has been trained to deliver a job well.
There should be defined qualities or characteristics for professionalism in a specific role. Professional customer service skills needed to provide quality customer service include patience, empathy, positive language, conflict resolution, assertiveness, and taking responsibility. There are many additional elements of communication that also factor in to providing excellent customer service, which we will discuss in more detail on another video.
Patience is a virtue, right? We've heard that many times. Working at the service desk, patience is required. We are working with all different types of skill levels, products, and customer behavior. You never know what you're going to get when you engage in a contact with a customer. The key is to be prepared and patient. A survey that was conducted asked customers, what is one of the top reasons you hate having to call the service desk? One of the top reasons cited was patience.
So, what is patience in our service desk context? Patience is the ability to wait and tolerate delay, complaining, and anger without getting visibly or verbally annoyed. Customers know and can sense when we've lost our patience. Well, how do you develop patience? By attempting to understand triggers for when you lose patience, keeping a positive mindset, and remaining calm by taking deep breaths.
Also, try to empathy and understand the customer's situation can also help out by putting ourselves in the customer's shoes. This can hopefully increase our patience. Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to another's emotion or situation. Empathy does not imply agreement, it means I hear you, I empathize with you, and I want to help. Empathy is one of the most valuable customer service skills, as it can assist in diffusing customer's anger, show caring and understanding for a situation, and personalize the conversation.
Examples of empathy statements can include, I understand how frustrating this can be, I apologize for not receiving a call back, I can assist, I'm happy to assist, that does sound frustrating, let me make sure I have all the details correct, thank you for sharing the situation with me, let's look to see what I can do to assist. The key with empathy is, it must be sincere and authentic, and not sound scripted or robotic. Listening is also a key ingredient to being able to respond with positive empathy.
And empathy is a part of positive language that is vital to deescalating customers and showing a positive attitude. Positive language is another part of empathy, communication, and customer service in general. How often do you hear, "I'd like to help you, but unfortunately I can't, "my manager won't let us do that?" In this statement alone, there are four negative words, but, unfortunately, can't, and won't. Now, some will argue "but" is not a negative word.
When customers hear "but," they automatically know something negative is coming in the next statement. So, try avoid using it as it is considered a red flag word. Positive language also includes words like, I, we, us, let's, can, will, and do. It also includes using alternatives like unable, instead of can't. So, a trend we see here with positive language is, it is the inverse of negative language and it moves the communication forward rather than stalling it or creating a negative situation.
By using positive language, we can reduce the amount of conflict for and with our customers. Working at a service desk, we often find ourselves in conflict situations we didn't even start, weren't even aware of, but we have to handle and deal with appropriately. And this is where conflict management skills come into play. Conflict is going to happen, especially at a service desk. We can't fear it and we have to take responsibility and be assertive. Conflict is defined as our difference in values, opinions, beliefs, or in our customer situation, they are in conflict because their technology won't work.
Conflict requires patience, listening, empathy, and positive language. A key strategy for handling conflict is to understand, what is the conflict? How is the customer feeling? And what can we recommend to resolve it? By being assertive, direct, and positive, and taking responsibility, conflict can be managed quickly and effectively. Professional quality customer service skills are skills that must be learned and practiced daily until they become ingrained part of your skillset, just like technical skills.
Taking the time to learn and hone customer service skills is just as important, if not more important, than technical skills.
- Reviewing the responsibilities of service desk roles
- IT service desk problem-solving skills
- Diagnosing errors, incidents, and problems
- Security skills
- Key elements of communication
- Essential service desk skills
- Service desk certification paths
- Microsoft certifications
- Service management certifications
- Future service desk trends