Equip your support team with the right customer service skills

Enable agents and reps with the skills they need to perform like never before.

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Customer Service Skills

As the eyes, ears, and voice of a business, customer service representatives have the most customer interactions. As a result, it’s important for your organization to put its best foot (best customer service professionals) forward. Although some people may be innately equipped with the essential makings of an amazing customer service representative, most people must be educated on these certain skills. The following information highlights the 20 most essential customer service skills that should be used to look for when hiring customer support staff as well as to focus on when training current staff.

1. Listening Skills

“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.”
—Zeno of Citium

The best customer service representatives have the uncanny ability to not only listen, but actively listen. Active listening entails asking questions and being able to regurgitate the information to the customer. This skill shows the customer you care and intend on offering a viable solution

2. Patience

“He that can have patience can have what he will.”
—Benjamin Franklin

No matter the industry, it’s highly likely that one day you will have disgruntled and upset customers. As a result, it’s imperative for customer service professionals to have the patience to sift through the mess to find the solution.

3. Honesty

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”
—George Washington

It’s important for customer service professionals to be transparent and honest with customers, even when the message they are sharing isn’t necessarily what the customer wants to hear. Ask great customer service interview questions when you’re hiring in order to assess a potential employee’s honesty. This demonstrates your interest in satisfaction and happiness.

4. Aptitude for Learning

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
—Albert Einstein

Customer service professionals must have a high aptitude for learning. They should learn all about the products and services that the business sells. In addition, they should understand the different customer situations and how the company’s products and services rectify the problem.

5. Confidence

“With confidence, you have won before you have started.”
—Marcus Garvey

In customer service, confidence is key. When the customer service rep sounds confident in the solution, it will be much more likely the customer will be on board with the projected solution.

6. Ability to Follow Through

“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.”
— Rosalynn Carter

Since a broken promise is essentially a lie, it’s vital for customer service professionals to have the ability to follow through. This entails staying up-to-date on the latest company policies and procedures to ensure they can follow through with their promises while adhering to the rules.

7. Body Language Control

“I see tendencies, I see body language.”
— Michael Chang

According to the University of Illinois Extension Statistics, first impressions consist of 55% of your body language and appearance, 38% in your tone of voice, and only 7% of what you say. As a result, it’s imperative for customer service representatives to control their body language and tone of voice to project a positive image, even when they’re on the phone.

8. Adaptability

“It is not the strongest or most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
— Charles Darwin

Working with customers entails countless surprises, some good and some not so good. However, the best customer service professionals are always prepared and able to adapt to any situation.

9. Thrives Under Pressure

“Everything negative — pressure, challenges — is all an opportunity for me to rise.”
— Kobe Bryant

In customer service, every day is different and most days resemble a pressure cooker. As a result, it’s important for customer service professionals to understand how to thrive under pressure and think ahead toward the solution.

10. Computer Skills

“Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn.”
— Steve Jobs

Stellar computer skills are a necessary facet of any customer service professional. Customer service representatives must be able to quickly communicate with customers, clients, and other stakeholders in the business in today’s digital age.

11. Mobility

“There’s an app for that.”
—Apple Computers

In addition to computer skills, the best customer service professionals are highly mobile. According to Forrester Research, 29% of the global workforce is anywhere, anytime information workers who use many apps and devices to get the job done. As a result, it’s important for customer service professionals to start becoming comfortable with mobile technology for a business to reap the benefits.

12. Going the Distance

“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.”
— Roy H. Williams

The best customer service professionals are able to go the extra distance to exceed the customer’s expectations and raise the bar.

13. Leadership Skills

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”
— Ray Kroc

Being a leader means taking ownership of the customer’s problems as well as the ability to offer a solution and see it through.

14. Time Management

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
— Bruce Lee

Since there are only 24 hours in a day, customer service representatives must be able to effectively manage their time. Whether it’s a call center setting or face-to-face customer interactions, customer service representatives must be able to effectively manage their time.

15. Ability to Analyze

“When you see opportunities in your life, you’ve got to analyze, ‘Why was that choice given to me?’”
— Tom DeLonge

Customer service representatives must be able to receive large amounts of input or customer complaints and quickly analyze the situation to find the problem and the best solution.

16. Innovators

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
— Steve Jobs

Customer service representatives must be innovators by fearlessly and tirelessly searching for new and innovative ways to solve common customer problems.

17. Negotiators

“Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.”
— Carrie Fisher

Since customer service professionals are often the face and voice of the business, they must be able to negotiate situations to render a win-win situation.

18. Closers

“The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.”
— Martina Navratilova

Closing isn’t just for sales professionals. Customer service workers must also have the ability to finalize a solution, which is imperative to the process of effective communication.

19. Acting Skills

“Comedy is acting out optimism.”
— Robin Williams

Although customer service representatives may never be nominated for a Golden Globe, they must have basic acting skills. These skills come in handy when dealing with difficult people or those who are just plain grumpy.

20. Ability to Read

“There’s so much more to a book than just reading.”
— Maurice Sendak

While phonics may be essential for one type of reading, understanding the basic principles of behavioral psychology will help customer service professionals “read” the customer’s emotional state. By understanding their emotional state, customer service representatives will be better prepared to create a personal experience for them.

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Customer Service Skills Training

How does a company sell shoes online when nearly every pair or brand fits a little differently? The answer is extraordinarily good customer service. Just ask Zappos.

At Lessonly, we believe a superior customer experience is the heart of a company’s brand. Every touchpoint or customer service experience improves or diminishes the image of the company, so we’ve put together a few tips about customer service skills training to help customer-obsessed companies hone their customer service skills.


Practice makes perfect when it comes to good customer service. Customer service training videos and resources are an employee’s friend, but they cannot replace the power of practice. For a call center employee, their first day live on the phone is similar to running a marathon, and they’d like to run the marathon well. Just like a runner knows they have to practice and run often before they take a stab at a marathon, a rep who wants to deliver excellent customer service experience must do the same. For employees or call center representatives to deliver good customer service and “run their marathon”, they’ll need to practice. Role-playing is a useful tool to ensure customer service representatives are prepared to provide an exceptionally good customer service experience. After they practice different scenarios together, they’ll begin to feel confident in the customer service experience they are offering, leading to the development of 5 star customer service skills.

5-star customer service skills require quarterly training

The customer service experience and industry are continually changing, and staying up-to-date on good customer service demands intentionality. Training focused on the customer service experience may include a few of these things:

  • Skills check. Give reps a few customer service tips and develop a list of vital customer service training topics or rules of thumb that employees should be regularly following. Specific customer service experience skills can decay over time, so a customer service skills check creates alignment and helps ensure the company is delivering a consistent experience across the board.
  • A reminder of why good customer service matters. Employees can forget the purpose of their work and the value of the customer service experience they’re providing. Jog their memory with one or two customer service examples within the company, and celebrate the outcome. The team can share good customer service feedback examples with their peers as well. A stellar customer service experience is the lifeline of a customer-focused company. Each interaction of each employee on the frontline represents an invaluable opportunity to build brand loyalty through good customer service.

Ready to take your team’s customer service skills to the next level? Take a look at Lessonly to see how we can help, or check out our free resources below.