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5 skills to brush up on for your next customer service role

Posted by Alex Heron, 25 days ago

3 min read

Anyone who’s worked in customer service knows that it’s a multi skilled role. You need to be able to adapt to deal with a range of scenarios, people and needs. And that’s particularly true for our colleagues who work with customers.

So to help you to prepare for your next customer service role we dug out some classic advice from Tom and Hassan on what skills make for a great customer interaction. Whether you’re looking for a customer service job or you want make sure your interactions at work go as smoothly as possible, there’s plenty here to consider.

1. Pay attention to the details

Every day we speak to customers who need support with all sorts of things. Sending payments, checking transactions, and cancelling that card they left behind in the chip and pin machine – we’ve all been there!

At first these might seem like simple and quick interactions. But as Tom explains, ‘you have to make sure that you fully understand and grasp the customer’s query so you can go above and beyond for them’.

This means listening closely, as you might spot ways to help these customers that they weren’t aware of. ‘What starts out as a simple conversation can turn into a customer walking away with more interest, earning rewards or saving money’ says Hassan. ‘This is how you can go the extra mile for your customers, and sometimes you’ll make a real difference for them. It’s important that you gather the facts and, above all, make sure that you do what’s right for that customer’.

2. Know your digital

In our digital age, most customers are comfortable banking on their phones. In fact, many of us can’t remember what we did without the mobile banking app. But as Tom knows, not everyone adapts and adopts at the same time. ‘The main concern some customers have about digital banking is security worries,’ he says. ‘It’s so important to educate our customers on how to prevent online fraud whilst reassuring them about our online security’.

That means you’ll need to be patient and clear with your instructions and have all the up to date information on how to use digital banking safely. Hassan is a digital expert on his team and has built a great depth of knowledge around what digital banking can do for our customers. ‘I take the time to educate each customer. I talk to them on how secure the app is if it’s used correctly, and most importantly that it’s the best way to keep on top of their everyday finances. This way, they don’t have to travel to the branch or wait for their statement’.

3. Empathy is everything

Unfortunately sometimes customers need our help due to something distressing or difficult, or because they find themselves in a vulnerable position. They could find themselves victims of fraud, or at difficult moments in life they might find themselves in financial difficulty.

‘The key skill here’ says Tom, ‘is empathy. Show compassion and this will help you deal with any difficult situation and allow you to help the customer. Some people will have buried their heads in the sand. But in showing empathy, you can ask difficult but important questions and customers will regain some confidence as they know we’re here to help them’.

4. Take ownerships of complaints

Despite our best efforts, complaints will always be a reality of customer service. Customers might come to you frustrated, angry or upset, so it’s important that we deal with any complaints effectively and fairly. This is our opportunity to learn from our mistakes and put things right for our customers.

‘Remember to listen, remain calm and not take it personally; treat them as an individual and not another number or case’. Hassan explains.

Naturally, these can be your most difficult interactions. But as Tom points out, they can become the most rewarding. ‘I always feel a sense of achievement when I’ve dealt with a difficult complaint as you’re the person taking ownership. You have the chance to make a real difference, regaining the customer’s trust and rebuilding the relationship at a critical time’.

5. Listen close (and a bonus tip: be your best self)

To round things out, we asked Tom and Hassan for their number one tip for excellent customer service, every time.

‘I’ve worked in numerous areas of the bank and the best skill I’ve learnt is to listen to customers attentively’, says Hassan. ‘When you’re in a busy call centre, you can miss important information if you allow yourself to get distracted. But when you’ve been listening properly, you can use your knowledge to find the best outcome for each individual customer’.

‘What I tend to find is that people buy into your personality’, according to Tom. ‘If I’m polite, courteous and empathise with customers, then excellent customer service comes naturally. Often this is met with thanks from the customer and brings real job satisfaction to your role’.

Looking for your next customer service role? Apply to work with our customers today.

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