Skills to Charm Your Customers in the Service Line
When you are in the service line, you are always the first line of defence when dealing with customers.
It is definitely a tough industry to be in, and it demands more than just having the passion to serve people.
Read on for the skills that should be under your belt to win over the toughest customers.
Being a Brand Ambassador
When you’re in the service line, you’re a direct representative of your company.
In other words, your actions are reflective of your company’s image.
To be an ambassador, make your customers feel important by understanding their preferences and needs.
Ambassadors exude professionalism when they have great knowledge about their field.
It’s good to spend some time to understand as much as you can about the company, in order to be able to tackle unexpected questio
That said, customers are extremely unpredictable.
That’s why it’s good to have some front line job experience under your belt to get you familiarized with the service industry and how to react to unexpected situations.
Regardless of whether you choose to eventually work full-time in a service role or not, service roles are a great way to hone your understanding of customers.
If it is something you enjoy, start getting experience - there are countless front-line jobs in service roles to help shape your expectations of the industry.
Use Positive Language
It takes skill to turn negative situations into a good one.
You might have come across customers who got their correct orders but are adamant about getting a refund, which happens in the service field.
For such situations, using positive language works best at defusing the tension.
Not only does it exude professionalism, it shows customers that your company is capable of handling disputes.
Effective and positive. Let’s say a customer approaches you for assistance and you don’t know the answer to it.
An answer like “Sorry, I don’t know the answer” might seem factual, but it does not give your client any confidence in your brand.
Instead, replying with “Let me find an answer and get back to you” makes customers feel important, which is what you want to achieve.
If you’re interested to find out more do’s and don'ts when handling customer queries, a compiled list can be found here.
Mirror Your Customers
In the service industry, you get to meet all sorts of customers from all walks of life.
It’s important to make each of them feel comfortable, which is when “mirroring”your customer comes in.
Mirroring and matching is a tried-and-tested technique used by many frontline staff.
It doesn’t mean you fully ‘mimic’ your customers, but rather that you observe and reflect back some key aspects of their actions and speech.
Here’s a breakdown on what it’s all about:
Body Language. Look out for body cues, such as customers leaning forward when they’re interested to find out more.
To mimic this, you can practice to move closer to your customers. This signals acceptance, a favorable response to customers.
Voice/Tone. Some customers may talk slow, some confident and outgoing.
Actively seek out these clues and match their tone and speed. This helps to better connect with the customer.
Communication Style. Confident customers tend to gesture a lot when they speak, while more emotional customers tend to favor deep conversations.
Make your customers more comfortable while mirroring your styles to theirs.
If executed well, these steps will help you manage customer relationships more effectively. Practise this valuable technique to prepare yourself for a frontline position.
Building Your Service Skills
With a 7.8% growth of Singapore’s service sector in 2018, more companies are also naturally hiring for service roles.
Without doubt, service jobs require high commitment and tend to be draining.
However, there are many reasons for you to stay in the service industry. It’s possible to get high commissions working in service jobs.
On top of that, it is much easier to climb the corporate ladder compared to other industries.
Work around your fluid schedule. Take advantage of the flexible work hours and constantly improve your service skills.
Here are 3 ways that you can start building on your service skills:
Diversify your social circle. Mixing and mingling with different people builds empathy. Learning how to compromise will help you relate better to customers.
Improve your Communication Skills. One fatal mistake is assuming that customers ‘get what you’re saying’.
Keep your pitches concise and to-the-point. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to know more about your customers. It’s good to start practicing with people around you.
Thicken your skin. Not literally. The first step is not taking anything personally when speaking to your relatives and friends.
Don’t escape confrontation - learn to lean into arguments and defuse with logic, customer service techniques, and make it a habit.
This is good practice for when you need to reason with customers.
Influence your customers
Service line jobs are not only about serving people well, it’s also about turning your prospects into loyal customers.
There are an array of skills and techniques to win over customers. One great technique we’re introducing today is 7-38-55 Rule of Communication.
Envision yourself attending to a customer who is curious about what you’re selling.
This is how the Rule can be applied:
7% Verbal. The actual content of your speech should not feel rehearsed.
Practise your sales pitch so that when it matters, the content flows by itself and you can focus on adapting it based on your customer’s response.
Facing customers is just like talking to friends. Make yourself approachable, and touch only on important points to avoid sounding naggy.
38% Tonality and Approach. Verbal cues like your speed, tone or enthusiasm of your speech is the second most important part of communication.
For instance, varying your speech when slowing down on key pointers or your brand’s USP can help customers focus on your more important messages.
To convince your customers, make sure you are delivering with conviction - using strong words (like ‘you need this’) or using rhetorical questions can invoke thought.
It takes skill to handle difficult customers as well.
Make sure you maintain an approachable tone even though they might be in the wrong - remember that you’re still your brand’s ambassador!
55% Body Language. You might think “What’s so important about body language when you’re just using speech to sell?”
Research has shown that 55% of communication is in your body language!
Stay conscious of what your body posture and behaviour is telling your customer, especially if it is not aligned with what you’re saying verbally..
Once customers like your approach when selling your brand, they’ll most likely be interested to find out more.
How to build on this? Practice and Experience.
It’s important to test out different approaches and learn your prospects’ reactions.
There’s no better time than now to start building your wall of experience!
In a Nutshell
Service roles can be daunting, but are a great way to practise managing objections and understanding people better.
With persistence, you’ll definitely build strong customer service skills that will serve you well in any role..
Since you’ve read about being a great frontline employee, why not give the service industry a try? Apply for service-line jobs on FastJobs!
Know anyone considering to join the service industry? Share these tips with them - who knows these tips may help them become great service staff.