One of the most important aspects of running a successful business is good customer service. Without it, a business is likely to fail even before it begins. 

If you have ever been on the receiving end of terrible customer service then you know how much effect it can have on future purchasing decisions. You are more likely to go back to a place where you were treated with dignity, than a place that did nothing but frustrate you. 

Today, most business owners have taken into account that customer service is an important skill to have which is why training programs are coming up every day.

There are, however, businesses that are still dragging their feet when it comes to good customer service practices as long as sales are being made.

According to an America Express report, 33 percent of Americans claim that they are likely to change companies when they are subjected to poor customer service even if it happens once.

More so, these customers are also likely to talk about a negative experience they had with a certain brand than about the positive experiences. That is how much good customer service is important!

Contrary to popular belief, customer service skills are not only a reserve of the customer service department or those who are in marketing and sales.

Every person needs to have good customer service skills as long as you deal with clients and customers whether directly or indirectly.


The first step to being good in customer service is mastering empathy. Empathy involves the ability to put yourself in the shoes of the other person to be in a better position to understand their feelings as well as their emotions.  

Why is empathy important in customer service? According to several studies, 70 percent of buying decisions are made based on emotions. A customer will choose to buy a good or a service based on the way they feel about how you treat them. 

At the end of the day, their loyalty will not be based solely on whether you solve their problem, after all, there are so many businesses where they can get what they want. What makes a difference is the way you treat them when they are there and that’s the bottom line. 

Always remember that the customer is not only sacrificing their hard-earned money but their time as well and by the time they are walking into your store, there is a certain outcome that they expect to be fulfilled.

When that outcome is not met, frustration sets in, and that will affect their buying decisions in the future. It, therefore, pays to think along those lines before you approach them. 

How do you master empathy? It’s plain and simple. The first thing you need to do is to understand where they are coming from and why they are feeling that way. Before you respond, therefore, think about your tone of voice and how you are going to react to that. 

The natural reaction is to try and prove that you are right but don’t that. Remain calm and make the customer feel validated and then match your tone to theirs. 

This can be done across various channels whether one on one interactions, email, phone, or live chat. Avoid coming across as too formal because it spells robotic and not personal, rather be warm, accommodating, and understanding.


Respect can be tied to empathy in some way. Respect involves mainly treating others the way you would like to be treated and this is where most people get it wrong when it comes to customer service. We are all human beings and are therefore likely to react the same way if the situation was reversed. 

Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and determine how you would like them to treat you if they were in your position. Lack of respect to a customer whether or not you think their complaint is uncalled for is likely to ruin your reputation fast.

When a customer is trying to get an issue resolved, the first thing they expect is to be treated with respect and if that is lacking, you can forget about their loyalty to your brand. They are likely to talk about that negative experience even if they have never had issues with you before. 

Imagine if you spent your money on an item, only to encounter problems later and when you call the customer service department, rather than the person being accommodating, they are disrespectful and make you feel like you don’t deserve to complain about anything. It’s disheartening, that’s what it is!

When it comes to respect, there is so much that goes into it besides using pleasantries like ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ Respect revolves around treating the other human being with patience and kindness. 

With that in mind, there are certain factors that you need to consider so that you can accord them the respect that they deserve. Consider the timelessness of your response, in which case, don’t wait too long to respond to their issue. 

Also, ensure that you present then with a few choices so that they can make a more informed decision, don’t toss them back and forth between different agents, and lastly, ensure that the solution you come up with has the customer in mind.

Active listening

When a customer calls, in most cases, they are calling to have a certain issue resolved. Active listening is the foundation of successful customer service. It makes all the difference between a successful conversation and ending one where the customer is left more frustrated than when they called. 

Active listening involves more than just getting every word the customer is saying. It involves taking into account their tone of voice, word choice as well as what they are trying to convey. 

Truly hearing the other person is the first step to finding a solution to their issue which is why active listening is important. Additionally, failure to listen will only add to the frustrations that the customer already has. 

When it comes to active listening, allow the customer to speak first without interrupting them to ensure that you don’t miss anything. As they are speaking, reinforce positive statements like “I understand” and smiling in case it’s a one on one meeting. 

When communicating via email or live chat, you can reinforce such statements by personalizing your messages the best way you can and using emojis where applicable. 

After they are done talking, summarize what they said to determine whether you got everything and make them believe that you were listening to them. 

Lastly, ask questions for clarification and so that you can find the best solution for them. The active listening practices that you employ however, will depend on the medium of communication. 

Excellent communication skills

While this is obvious when it comes to customer service, so many customers have a hard time communicating with customer service representatives. 

Why are communication skills very important? According to different studies, 33 percent of customers claim that a customer service representative must be able to efficiently answer all questions the customer might have. 

While you can be empathetic and respectful to a customer, if you mumble, lose focus or use a language that they can’t understand, you are likely to lose them. 

Any customer service agent must be able to explain solutions to customers clearly and concisely. Excellent communication also means conveying your message without using jargons especially those that a customer is not likely to be familiar with. 

Clear communication also means that you know when you are getting your point across. During one on one conversations ensure that incorporate non-verbal communication is used as well. 

Effective time management

Customer service can be quite overwhelming especially when you have to deal with so many customers in a day. It might lead you to make mistakes here and there, some of which might end up costing you the loyalty of such customers. As such, knowing how to manage your time is very important if you are to succeed. 

Since different customers have different needs, you need to know how to prioritize tickets depending on urgency and priority. The triage system is the best way to know which tickets need to be dealt with first.

This means assigning tickets to different people to remain organized and ensure that every customer is served efficiently. 

When you put this into practice, it makes it easier to give enough time to different customers until you can resolve their issue, and it also minimizes the chances of tossing them from one agent to another which can be frustrating to the customer. 

With customer service, however, since you are dealing with so many clients in a day, there is a limit to how much time you can spend with one customer. 

This is where the other skills such as active listening come into play so that you can solve issues within the stipulated time without feeling overwhelmed or not attending to some customers. 

Knowing when you cannot help a customer is part of proper time management. If you have no idea how to handle their problem, the best thing you can do for them and yourself is to point them to the right person who can handle without making them feel like you are just doing it to get them off your hands. 

At the end of the day, it would be in your best interest if you don’t waste your time with a customer trying to find a solution that you know very well you can’t get. 

Willingness to learn

Things change every day and as a customer care representative, it would be in your best interest and that of the company if you kept abreast with these changes. 

This skill is critical in customer service because it means learning even more skills that will help you deal with customers and clients effectively. 

In such a case you need to be willing to learn everything from the products, how to communicate effectively, and how to deal with the tickets as they come in. 

If you are not willing to learn, you will be left behind as others invest in skills to better themselves. With that in mind, take every opportunity you get to learn a new skill. 

Positive attitude

Working in customer care can be overwhelming knowing very well that the only reason a customer will call you or send an email is when they have a problem they want you to solve for them. Its human nature to feel frustrated especially when dealing with difficult customers who are frustrating. 

In such a case, you need to have a positive attitude which entails being positive even when circumstances tell you otherwise. A customer can tell from your tone that you are being positive. 

How do you master a positive attitude then? It can be as simple as taking deserved breaks in between dealing with customers. Taking some time away from the computer to take a walk or have lunch with a friend is a great way of dealing with a bad mood. 

The other thing you can do is to try as much as possible to be positive even when the customer is being difficult. This is because sometimes, the best way to deal with someone who is being difficult and bring them down to your level is to treat them with kindness rather than trying to be as aggressive as they are. 

Customer service is probably the most important skill you can have whether you work in legal or the ever-busy customer service department. Its human nature to want to talk about negative experiences with brands compared to the positive ones which is why customer service skills are important. While it can be overwhelming dealing with people who only want problems solved, at the end of the day, if you master the above skills, it can be rewarding and not to mention can end the frustrations associated with customer service.