How to Build Skills for a Customer Service Environment

The key to quality customer service delivery is empathy; having the ability to place yourself in the position of the customer. Be aware this does not mean becoming emotionally connected. It is important to maintain professionalism while feeling their pain. This is trickier than it sounds. Follow these guidelines to achieve that balance.


Service Delivery Through Email

Write emails with the proper tone in mind. Written communication should be professional but not scripted. Although a template may be appropriate in some cases, in adherence to corporate policy, the greeting and closing can still be personalized. For example, an email can be opened with “I hope this email finds you well” and closed with “I wish you the best of luck on your new assignment”, even if the body is standardized.


Capital letters should never be used; it is equivalent to yelling. Be careful of the word “you”, which can imply finger-pointing if inserted within a negative statement. For example, rather than “I suggest you correct this”, it is better to write “I suggest it be corrected”. Beginning a sentence with “you” is egregious, as it carries an accusatory tone.


Customer Service Phone Contact

Customers want to feel confident that the representative on the other end of the line appreciates their business and is acting as their advocate in problem resolution. The rep does not need to have all the answers on the spot.


Most important is that a rapport is established from the beginning; a level of comfort that forms a foundation from where communications can ensue towards identifying and addressing issues. Generally, if a customer knows the rep is working towards that end, the chances are reduced that they will escalate up the organizational hierarchy.


Organizing Customer Details

In a customer service environment, being organized is paramount. Keep copious notes on each customer. The organizational method, electronic or manual, is not as important as accessibility. When that email arrives or the phone rings, the rep should be able to retrieve their profile immediately.


The customer should be treated as though they are the most important individual at that moment in time. For example, if during the first contact, they mention their dog, Fluffy, make a note of the dog’s name in your file. The next time they make contact, at the end of the conversation, remember to ask “How’s Fluffy?” Find the palpable nexus with your customer to demonstrate they are not just a number.


When addressing customers, professional representatives should be acutely aware of how they are being perceived. Providers of customer service are also consumers. If you were on the receiving end, what would be your reaction? Words, whether written or verbal, are powerful. Be mindful of the old adage that perception is everything, to be sure that your words are well received. You can observe and take advice from great speakers, like Richard Jadick, to improve your skills.