LinkedIn Learning has just released a new edition of my Customer Service Foundations course. It's a training video designed to help people learn the fundamentals of service.
Creating a course like this requires some tough decisions:
- Which skills are most important and must be covered?
- How in-depth should each skill be addressed?
- Which skills are useful, but best saved for a separate course?
These decisions are critical. Include too much content and learners can get overwhelmed. Include too little, and learners won't get enough value. It has to be just right.
I based my choices on extensive research, interaction with thousands of customer service professionals, and a bit of trial and error.
Here's a list of the top four skills I think every service professional needs.
If I had to pick just one customer service skill, this one would be it.
Having a vision means understanding and articulating a desired positive outcome for the customers you serve. An IT service desk professional I worked with once described his vision by saying, "I used to say I fixed computers; now I realize what I really do is help people get back to work."
That change of perspective from transactional (fix computers) to a positive vision (help people get back to work) can dramatically alter how you approach service.
I've noticed that people who have a strong customer service vision tend to figure out the other skills they need pretty quickly. Those who don't often find themselves stuck.
Service gets easier when we can build rapport with the people we serve.
It helps us create a connection and develop a sort of shared kinship where we both take responsibility for making the experience a great one.
In one study, I discovered customers who mentioned an employee by name in a survey were 1.5 to 4 times more likely to give a top score (5 stars, etc.) than a negative one.
Introducing ourselves and sharing our name is a skill you already have. You can add to your rapport toolkit by learning the five question technique. Here's a video explainer: