Handling difficult customer service interactions can be a challenging aspect of any business. Your advisors play a pivotal role in maintaining a positive customer experience so, to effectively handle challenging situations, they need a unique set of skills. Here are 10 essential skills your advisors should possess.
1: Active Listening
Active listening involves more than just hearing words; it means fully engaging with the customer’s message. Advisors should ask clarifying questions, repeat the problem to confirm their understanding, and provide appropriate feedback to show that they’re actively processing the information.
Effective communication is a two-way street. Advisors must express themselves clearly, using language that the customer can understand. To handle difficult customer service interactions, it’s vital that an advisor is not misunderstood and doesn’t escalate the situation.
Empathy is all about understanding a customer’s feelings. Advisors should convey that they genuinely care about the customer’s issue, even if they can’t immediately resolve it. Even without an appropriate resolution, sometimes just being heard and understood can be enough!
Advisors should be skilled problem solvers. They need to analyse issues from different angles, draw on their product knowledge, and devise practical solutions. Not every issue has a simple answer or a neat solution. Sometimes, advisors may need to work with their supervisors or even across departments to find an appropriate resolution.
Not all customers are the same, and not all issues follow a predictable pattern so Advisors must be flexible in their approach. Whilst most advisors work from a script, they need to be able to think outside the box at times and realise when a particularly difficult interaction may need to be escalated.
6: Time Management
Time management is crucial in a customer service role. Advisors need to handle inquiries efficiently while still providing top-notch service. This means prioritizing tasks, setting realistic expectations, and being organized to ensure no customer concerns fall through the cracks.
Patience is the cornerstone of effective customer service. To handle difficult customer service interactions, advisors must resist the urge to react defensively or hastily. Instead, they need to remain calm and patient, allowing customers to express their concerns without interruption.
De-escalation techniques are essential when customers become angry or upset. Advisors need to know how to remain calm, diffuse tension, and steer the conversation towards a more productive and constructive path. However, there should always be supervisors and managers available for those particularly tough conversations.
Customer service can be emotionally demanding, especially when dealing with difficult customer service interactions. Advisors must be able to bounce back from challenging interactions, remain focused, and maintain a positive attitude even after facing irate or demanding clients. However, it is also the responsibility of the company to care for their advisors and make sure they aren’t overworking.
10: Product Knowledge
Advisors need to know the products or services they’re supporting. Deep product knowledge allows them to provide accurate information and offer solutions that meet the customer’s needs. But they also shouldn’t be required to keep all the information in their head, which is why advisor expertise should be supplemented by a knowledge base that can be accessed at all times.
These skills not only enable advisors to handle difficult customer service interactions effectively but also contribute to overall customer retention and loyalty. By investing in the training and development of these abilities, your advisors can turn challenging interactions into opportunities to create positive customer experiences. Worried your advisors might not be up to scratch? We can help with that. We can help you hire, filter, and train new advisors whenever you need!