10 Customer Service Skills Each Member of Your Team Should Have

customer service skillsWith over 80% of consumers willing to bail on a brand, even one they love, after a bad customer service experience, it’s important to treat your customers well. Having the right customer service skills necessary to please your clientele doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it can be learned. When you train your reps or your employees on how to deal with your clients, make sure you speak in specific terms related to your industry.

To ensure that every member of your team can close a sale when the opportunity presents itself, follow these 10 tips.

1. Make Customers Feel Comfortable

Every member of your team should know the basic elements of what people expect when they choose to buy from you. Whether you’re a brick and mortar store, an e-commerce site, or a B2B company filled with reps, your associates need to learn how to set the tone for a sale.

Even if they’re not particularly good at reading people, they should be familiar enough with your brand to know the right language and the right approach. If you’re selling a luxury tech product, people will expect seriousness and technical knowledge. If you’re selling an app for fish and game hunters, simplicity, directness, and a folksy attitude will put your customers at ease.

There are keywords in every industry that help ease sales and share your employee’s knowledge of the product. They should know the few terms that every customer of yours wants to hear.

If you’re selling cars, the terms will be “safety, reliability, and style”. If you’re selling roasted chickens, the terms could be “savory, healthy, and filling”. Whatever your terms are, they should be repeated like a mantra by all of your customer service representatives.

2. Know Who Wants To Be Sold

Every sales representative needs to understand the difference between someone who is going to buy and someone that needs to be convinced. Failing to work on convincing the not-yet-converted or overselling the converted could blow your sales plan. It takes time to understand what people are looking for when you first start interacting with them.

The best way to know what your customers or clients want is to listen. Most people want to cut right to the chase which should make your customer service representatives’ jobs easy. So long as they can get out of the way, all they have to do is assist the customers.

When someone is on the fence, that’s when they need to turn the sales tactics on. It’s time to start asking questions about what customers are looking for, what they liked about their last product, and what they want from their next product. Just a few simple questions can start to whittle down the options to allow you to serve customers, even if they’re a little confused themselves.

3. Get To The Point

The hallmark of a great salesperson is the ability to get right to the point and sell your products. Rather than giving out a lot of fluff, your best salespeople will identify which products your customers want and close the sale. There’s a lot that can go wrong between customer contact and checkout.

When you have salespeople who know your business model, what keeps your company running, and what makes you different, they’ll use those ideas to sell. Understanding which products yield the highest profit, which are the hardest to sell, and which have the most dedicated following streamlines the sales process.

When you have salespeople who can get your clients through the sales funnel efficiently with a good attitude, you can build a strong customer base. If they can make customers feel good about the products that they buy, your customers will return to you again and again. Once they’ve had one good experience, that’s all they need to go out and have another one.

When customers have a good experience with your products and your customer service, they’ll be quick to recommend you to others.

4. Brag About Your Products

While it shouldn’t be where your customer service reps start, if given the opportunity, they should be able to brag about your products. Dedicated sales reps will know what people rave about when they talk about your products and will soon pick up on what people come to you for.

Once you’ve determined who your niche market is, you can use those characteristics to target your approach. They should be able to talk about the variety of ways people have benefited from using your products. Their attitude needs to be honest but also excited.

When they have a sincere passion for the kind of work that you do, it will show with your customers and clients. It’s okay to brag when you do something well.

5. Give the History When Relevant

Your sales reps need to have a deep knowledge of your products and services before they start working with your clients and customers. You should give them a comprehensive but engaging history of how your company has grown and why you make the products that you do.

If there’s a family history that’s attached to why your company makes the products that you do, share that history with clients and potential customers. If there’s a material history that describes where the components or ingredients come from, that could be interesting to your clients.

While you shouldn’t go into storytelling mode when your customers are in a hurry, this information could come in handy. It could set you apart from the other companies in your industry.

History informs your clients where you’ve been and where you’re headed in the future. Sharing that history with your customers will forge a deeper connection to your products than they would during a typical consumer experience.

6. Upselling

Upselling is vital in the world of sales. While you might have a client or a customer on the line, it’s important to be able to seal the deal. Once you’ve got them sold, it’s easy to remind them to buy any kind of small accessories or refills that could make their life easy. One sale is easy to turn into multiple sales with a little bit of finesse at the point of the transaction.

Upselling is the tactic where you’re reminded that the electric razor you’re about to buy needs batteries to run. It’s easy for salespeople to sell batteries to you while you’re at the counter.

Once you’re thinking about buying an electric razor, they can also get you to buy a more expensive razor than you initially planned to. Upselling can work no matter what industry you’re in. So long as you have multiple tiers of products available, you can offer something with a few more features that offer a better experience than another product.

Your best salespeople will be able to turn the smallest sale into a major haul because of upselling. When done well, customers don’t even know that it’s happening.

7. Get Customers To Refer Friends

The easiest way to get a customer is with the help of another customer. Given that over 80% of all consumers trust online reviews as much as the words of friends, what people say about you online matters. If you don’t have a good base on positive reviews, one negative review could seriously damage your reputation.

Reach out to your most loyal and supportive clients to get positive reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the better you’ll be buffered against any negative comments that come in.

You can use email contacts to reach out to clients. Offer them a discount or a free promotional item next time they visit your shop when they show you their review. Remind your clients to give you a positive review when they check out.

When you offer promotions, offer Yelp-only promotions, Facebook-specific promotions, or coupons through Google. This will allow you to start getting a wide variety of reviews across different channels. The more channels you get positive reviews on, the higher your social media ranking will be when customers search for you.

Strong sales staff will be able to get good reviews for you. They can ask diners at a restaurant to post a review in exchange for dessert or to leave a ranking on Google in exchange for a drink. If your sales staff can ask for this gracefully enough, they could not only improve sales but improve your company’s profile overall.

8. Get People to Return

You need repeat customers. The best way to get people to come back to your company next time they need services and products like yours is to give them a memorable experience. While some companies try to go overboard when personalising things for their clientele, a well-balanced experience can retain your customers for years.

Cafe’s and restaurants have known this for years. When you memorise someone’s order, even if they decide to change it, they feel a personal connection to your business.

IF you do more regular business with your clients, you’ll often have time to chit chat or have small talk about the weather. Things about their family or life might come up and you can keep checking in on the kids’ baseball team or their partner’s career change.

If your sales team does a lot of work on the phone, tell them to keep a separate column next to their call list for notes. They should take notes whenever something personal comes up so that they can ask about it next time. It doesn’t have to be major.

If could be as small as asking how their dog is doing but that could help you keep a client around for a lifetime.

9. Always Be Honest

When you’re selling products that you know aren’t perfect for the people who aim to buy them, always be honest about that. If you have something that suits your clients better than what they’ve got their heart set on, you might have to struggle to get them to loosen their grip. However, they’ll be happier in the end that you’re more concerned with pleasing them than winning a big sale.

This is especially the case if you end up “downselling” your client to a product that’s cheaper or more practical than what they originally had.

However, you’ll see this client become a loyal customer based on that honesty about your products and services. When your sales staff is open and frank with your clients, you’ll see a marked increase in sales overall.

While it might not be the truth that makes your products fly off the shelves, truth builds dedication and that’s the most important thing any company can rely on.

10. Take Negative Feedback In Stride

Negative feedback can be a good thing. For the right brand, negative reviews can be an opportunity to work on their Twitter persona. While you might not want to start roasting your clientele, you should consider engaging with your negative commentators.

When you show grace to your detractors online, your clients and potential customers will notice. Seeing you respond positively or reach out to fix the issue makes you look like the bigger person. It shows you’re looking to grow as a company and always finding ways to improve.

Whether positive or negative, you should respond to every comment you get within about 12 hours. This makes it look like there’s a real person behind the brand and that you’re interested in engaging with your customer base.

Customer Service Skills Are The Key To Success

When your employees work on their customer service skills, they can turn over any product or service to your base. If you have a strong base of clients who know your products and loves your services, you can please them by always treating them well. The number one rule is to make sure that they’re happy with every interaction.

If you’re not sure why customer service should be your top priority, check out our guide to find out.