Interpersonal Skills (Customer Service): Their Benefits and the Importance of Customer Service Outsourcing

“For commerce/eCommerce businesses alike, sales customers have been gradually shifting in their manner of thinking when it comes to which factors they consider as important to whether or not they’ll remain loyal to their favorite brands; compared to recent years, customers care more now about their customer service experience quality when deciding what company to support/purchase from. To properly provide a more pleasant quality of customer service that successfully increments customer retention rates and improves brand loyalty, companies must hold high the importance of customer service soft skills (interpersonal skills) and ensure their customer service representatives (CSRs) are aptly prepared to deal with customer pre-sales/post-sales consumer demands. Our very own Callnovo Contact Center is a viable customer service outsourcing option to help ensure that CSRs with the proper interpersonal skills can secure long-term commerce and e-Commerce sales success and stability.”

High-Quality Customer Service: Important Statistics

For commercial businesses and eCommerce sellers alike, there’s been a gradual shift in the way that sales consumers think when it comes to the important factors they consider as determinants to whether or not they’ll remain long-term loyal shoppers to their selected brands. In contrast to past years, it’s become very clear that customers hold their customer service experience quality extremely high when deciding what company to support/purchase from. According to recent statistics, more than 54% of consumers now have stronger consumer expectations when it comes to customer service than they had three years ago – that translating to an extreme high of more than 66 percent for consumers between the ages of 18-34. In addition to the above – in contrast to good service – there’re high costs to the provision of poor service:

  1. it takes approximately 12-13 positive customer service experiences to make-up for 1 unresolved bad customer experience,
  2. a whopping approximation of 33% of sales consumers and growing within the United States commerce and eCommerce markets alone are apt to switching companies only after a single instance of negative customer service, and
  3. as opposed to approximately 76% of customers that would trust companies as a result of good customer service, it’s been proven that – while 30% of customers may forgive a company for poor customer service – that does not encourage them to stay loyal to the business, and they may naturally be convinced to look to other brands.

Customer Service Soft Skills: Their Importance in Meeting High Customer Expectations

Following the above stats, there’s significant worth in considering how customer service agents can ensure that high consumer expectations are successfully met so that customers remain loyal to their favorite brands. The implementation of interpersonal skills training within the realm of customer service (CS) is a surefire way of securing high-quality customer experiences and provides the following all-around benefits:

  • a boost in workplace productivity – that is: employee performance and productivity improvement across the board,
  • the reduction of operations risks associated with poor communication between team members, allowing them to solve problems by themselves,
  • an increase in sales – especially during negotiations, allowing customer care agents to engage consumers personally without blurring professional boundaries,
  • the provision of quality agents with higher self-confidence and less stress – CSRs that can overcome challenges and creatively resolve differences, and
  • the improved retention of top talent that continues to widen profit margins, likewise mitigating costs that are incurred from the continual hiring and training of customer support representatives.

Interpersonal Skills within Customer Service: What Should Be Trained

As customer service soft skills not only improve CS quality within the workplace – but also ensure customer retention and sales profit incrementation – a secure means of helping commerce/eCommerce businesses to find financial security longevity and competitive drive longevity in the global sales market, companies need to consider the most important soft-skills that ensure that customer acquisition and retention rates increase, leading to strong brand loyalty that breeds long-term success; while there are many interpersonal skills that could be cultivated and mastered, let’s just focus on three.

Active Listening

Active listening – referring to both listening intently to what customers are saying and understanding the vocabulary and tone that is being used as well – is a key soft-skill because it allows CSRs to fully engage with and support consumers. In addition to this, intently listening to customers is important because: (1) customer support representatives can check their understanding of customers’ situations, (2) customer care representatives can get to the heart of the matter, (3) CSRs can build rapport and trust with customers – especially in post-sales situations, and (4) CSRs can cut the amount of time it takes to handle calls, building better customer experiences and increasing the total number of successful customer request handles within a given period of time.

Below are some tips for building strong active listening; have CSRs:

  • focus on what customers are saying – not what they personally are going to say in response,
  • focus on customers’ tone of voice in order to better judge how to respond when it’s their turn to provide a response,
  • keep from interrupting customers,
  • tune out distractions and give themselves to full attention,
  • take quick notes,
  • affirm to their customers that they have accurate information and that they’re demonstrating attentiveness by occasionally repeating what customers say,
  • refrain from taking customer complaints and attitudes personally,
  • ask open-ended questions to gather accurate information and let customers vent their frustrations,
  • and, make sure to do what is necessary in a rapid manner to fix unresolved issues.

Empathetic Expression on a Personal Level

Within client-customer relationships, there is a huge difference between showing sympathy – that is, feeling for customers and relating to their issues from an outsider’s perspective – and showing empathy – that is, feeling, understanding, and relating to consumers’ issues as if they were your own; healthy client-customer relationships involve CSRs showing empathy (without getting overly involved in issues) so that consumers feel their issues are genuinely being considered and feel that they can actually trust customer service reps to handle their issue with care and a sense of understanding and urgency.

Some tips to ensure that CSRs build and demonstrate empathetic expression within relationships are:

  • the usage of appropriate language and demeanor – such as:
    • maintaining a calm and polite tone throughout the entire conversation,
    • use phrases that convey empathy instead of sympathy – like:
      • “I realize how complicated it is…”
      • “I simply cannot imagine how upsetting it is…”
      • “I know how confusing it must be when…”
    • use key words that directly demonstrate empathy – such as:
      • understand
      • empathize
      • apologize
  • helping customers to actively focus on finding solutions – and being there to provide support,
  • avoiding assumptions and biases based on personal perceptions and respecting customers’ pre-sales and post-sales goals, and
  • building bonds and showing flexibility within client-consumer relationships so that good customer experiences are remembered and cherished.

Clear Communication Skills

It was once said that “clear communication is the glue that keeps customer experiences from tearing apart;” this is actually very true. Inambiguous communication is integral to customer experiences because it not only ensures that customer questions are answered and that post-sales problems are solved accurately and in a quick manner – but also more easily builds rapport with customers and increases their loyalty.

To provide clear and effective communication, CSRs can practice:

  • speaking with deliberateness,
  • using encouraging language that lets consumers know that they’re attentive to their needs,
  • using close-ended questions when needed to keep conversations from going on rabbit trails,
  • evading the usage of jargon,
  • evading overelaboration, and
  • continually checking for understanding to build dialogue and make sure that they are on the same page with their customers.

Callnovo Contact Center: a Viable Customer Service Outsourcing Solution

While proper soft-skills training provides many CS advantages that breed long-term sales success and stability via increased customer retention rates and brand loyalty, proper implementation of interpersonal skills training for many commerce/e-Commerce companies is an involving task that takes precious time and even incurs extra costs; in addition to the above feats, the lack of localized customer service may even cause language barriers and limit consumer access to service outside of business hours. Our own Callnovo Contact Center – a viable outsourced customer service solution – successfully eludes those challenges with 24/7/365 localized CS in 35+ languages (such as: English, Malaysian, Spanish, Mandarin / Cantonese, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, German, Turkish, Arabic, Portuguese – amongst others) provided through omnichannel communication/Telecom platforms to ensure that CSRs – properly trained in the soft skills that they need to provide effective service – can successfully build customer service experiences that acutely encourage customer loyalty and create long-term customer acquisition due to word-of-mouth referrals. With a very detailed 6-step hiring and onboarding process that provides rigorous soft-skills training throughout the entirety of each agent’s time onboard – as well as a constant monitoring of key performance indicators (KPIs) through our highly-customizable Global Omnichannel SaaS Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform – businesses like your own can be assured that they will have what it takes to help them compete in the global sales market at a higher level.

In conclusion, as customer expectations increase and consumers place more of an emphasis on their overall customer service experience quality, businesses have a chance to effectively meet those expectations through proper soft-skills training. While a good understanding of interpersonal skills and the implementation of their training can help companies to better provide superb customer experiences, customer service outsourcing solutions – like our own Callnovo Contact Center – can ensure that such exceptional service is provided at all times, helping businesses to maximize on their consumer reach and therefore rise above the competition in any and every sales market.

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