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These 6 customer service skills will help you land any job
CareerBuilder | November 11, 2021
Whatever your ultimate professional goals are, working in customer service will teach you vital resume skills.
Good customer service skills will set you apart from other candidates
Whatever kind of work you'd like to do, a strong background in customer service will help you stand out as the perfect candidate. Let's take a look at six key customer service skills that you can apply throughout your career, wherever it takes you:
1. Strong communication skills
Communication skills are often called “soft skills,” but we prefer to call them core skills, because they play an incredibly important part in almost every industry. Good communication skills are fundamental. And they are especially useful in customer service jobs.
Whether you’re helping a customer find the perfect gift for their special someone or addressing a complaint, you’ll need a silver tongue, a positive attitude and the emotional intelligence to practice empathy and anticipate customer needs.
Interpersonal skills in general give you a solid foundation for building a successful career; they empower you nail customer service interviews to get hired, build strong professional relationships with your colleagues and impress clients and business contacts.
Remember that good communication is a two-way street. You may have the public-speaking skills of a grand orator, but how about active listening skills? Your customers want to feel heard, so make sure to communicate that you are listening. Nod your head to show that you understand. Ask follow-up questions to get more details and demonstrate that you care about your customer’s problems.
As a customer service representative, you'll learn how to explain concepts to others in easy-to-understand terms — and how to placate people who don’t share your point of view. Your oral and written communication skills will also help you get your points across in meetings and during collaborative tasks.
You'll find that you use these skills in a variety of settings; they’re transferable skills that you can apply in different jobs and industries in the future.
2. Solid time-management skills
You need to finish up that inventory, but a customer needs help. You should really study up on the new product your business offers, but you also need to write a report on a customer complaint. Tasks are piling up. What do you do?
Strong time-management skills are a vital part of good customer service jobs. You’ll need to stay organized, map out clear goals and prioritize tasks. For example, can you take care of the inventory before the afternoon sales rush has you talking to customers? Could you block out some time in the morning to finish that report?
Effective time management is another transferable skill that applies to many industries, and having work experience involving time management will give you a leg up when you look for a new job. Talk to your hiring manager about how you’ve used time-management skills in your career. This skill is a strong resume builder that managers look for in all sorts of roles.
3. Excellent problem-solving skills
Customer service representatives are pros at problem solving. So much of their jobs involve handling customers’ complaints and queries. They must use ingenuity to find solutions that work within a business's preferred practices to satisfy customers.
Problem-solving skills cultivated in a customer service role will transfer to almost any profession, so make sure to keep track of the ways you use problem-solving skills at work. Did you come up with an innovative solution to a customer’s problem? Write that down somewhere. When you look for a new job, highlight these stories in your cover letter or interview to stand out from other job seekers.
Problem-solving skills are especially important for creative, technological and healthcare jobs, if you’d like to be an advertising executive, software developer or registered nurse, you need to practice your problem solving.
4. Standout collaboration skills
No customer service worker is an island. Instead, customer service employees work as part of a team to support their employer's positive image and customer service standards. Many customer service workers find themselves jumping in to help colleagues address customer queries or assisting their co-workers when they're especially busy.
The collaborative teamwork skills customer service workers practice will serve you well in almost any professional environment. Employers need workers who can combine their skills into something greater than the sum of their parts. It's important for people in a range of industries to work within their designated roles, but also to come together for group projects and meetings.
Working as an enthusiastic, collaborative team player will strengthen your professional relationships, increase productivity and make your workplace a healthier, more supportive environment.
5. Good multitasking skills
Many customer service professions require you to multitask well. Every customer wants to feel important, even though your attention may be pulled in several directions. It's not uncommon for customer service professionals to run computers or cash registers while speaking with customers.
You might also deal with a number of customers at once if people with more urgent concerns need help while you're dealing with more routine matters. And of course, you must do it all efficiently and with a smile on your face. That aptitude for multitasking is useful for working in any busy profession.
6. Great professionalism skills
Customer service workers must be resilient. While most members of the public are pleasant, some can be short-tempered and belligerent. In these circumstances, customer service workers must rely on to power through. Otherwise, they can't deliver their best service to the next customer they interact with.
You won't find all the people you deal with any profession in good humor all the time. Sometimes, events in life simply don't go your way. But despite the challenges, it's important to maintain professionalism move on to the next task. Having a thick skin goes a long way. And demonstrating your resilience to a potential new employer will help you stand out in a job interview.
Don't underestimate how important having a background in customer service can be. Strong customer service skills apply to just about every job out there and set you up as a perfect candidate for that next opportunity.
More customer service career tips:
- OK, so customer service skills apply to other fields. But how exactly do you use transferable skills to switch jobs?
- Ready to find that next opportunity? Let’s polish that customer service resume.
- Not sure what you want to do? Use these three easy steps for choosing a career path.
- Don’t go in cold. Study up on the best questions to ask in a job interview.