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5 Vital Customer Service Skills

September 13, 2017

If you’re not serving the customer, your job is to be serving someone who is.

          ~ Jan Carlzon 


I once had a supervisor that said, “Customer Loyalty is more important than Customer Satisfaction.”  Well, I believe if you deliver good customer service, you have both Loyalty and Satisfaction.       


Having worked in customer service industries my entire life, I have come to truly believe that we all need these skills.  Even if you work alone at home illustrating children’s books, you must secure those jobs.  You aren’t going to get hired if you can’t provide good customer service.  So, here are my 5 top skills that we should consistently be honing to be rock stars at both Loyalty and Satisfaction!


Manage your Personal Emotions



This is #1 for a reason.  This is for all professional people out there – please listen.  We all have issues going on at home, we have a life.  But, if you can compartmentalize your personal feelings and life’s issues, you will be better suited to assist others with their needs that you are there to provide. 


If you can master this, it will also help you with managing your emotions when the person you are helping is having their own emotional crisis.  Which will happen.  Whether you are serving lunch at the local diner or closing a loan on a $500,000 home, your customer will have issues.  By not allowing their emotions to become your own, you will be able to solve the problem with a level head. 


Have Empathy


This piggy backs onto #1.  While you are encouraged to NOT emit your own emotional bias into the situation, it does help to relate to what your customer is feeling.  This is a tricky one as while you develop this skill over time, there can be a tipping point where your ability for empathy starts to wane.  So, keep watch that you are sensing and understanding the emotions of others.  This will build trust and at least make the customer believe they have someone on their side.


Somehow, put yourself in their shoes.  Get to know people that are different from you.  Many opportunities for this exist on a daily basis.  From starting a conversation with your cashier at the grocer to having lunch with a different group of people at work.  This will not only open your mind to how different people feel and react, but will polish those interpersonal skills that are ever present in all customer service.


Active Listening


This is, in a sense, really what the job is all about, right?  If you are too busy following protocol to hear what they are saying, there is no trust.  If you don’t hear what they are saying in terms of sheer facts, you won’t be able to give them a satisfying solution.  If you don’t know what their desires and needs are, you cannot provide them with the right tools.  So, listen up!



I was once shopping for a new wood burning stove.  I went in to the busiest shop in town and pretty much had an idea of what I wanted.  After telling the sales person – who ended up being the owner – what I wanted, he proceeded to tell me, that “most women really like these models over here.”  Not only did this model have features I didn’t need, but it didn’t have the one feature I really wanted.  But, to be honest, it was really pretty – and more expensive.  After several attempts to tell him what my needs were, I literally walked out.  Not only did I turn my back on him mid-sentence, but I told everyone I saw that day.  Not a great listening moment for him.