Advanced Communication Skills in Customer Service are Vital

Advanced communication skills

We’ve got the technology – now what about the communication? That’s the question we often get asked when we’re helping customer service teams improve their communication skills.

Customer care teams are now having to face an increasing amounts of pressures from customer expectations, internal demands and the ever evolving channels that customers use. Moreover, the expectation from customers for businesses to communicate with them clearly, honestly and thoughtfully is increasing.

As communication channels increase, so too do the need for specialist communication skills

It used to be that customer service teams just had to deal with customers over the phone, and the occasional email. Now customer service teams are having to manage an entire myriad of channels and customer expectations. To truly master these channels takes more than just a basic understanding – it needs a very new set of skills. The question every customer service team needs to be asking is; do they have the skills needed to deliver a consistent customer experience in an omnichannel environment.

Businesses need to master their communication with customers – at every touchpoint

It often surprises me that customer service teams aren’t given specialist skills around managing conflict in customer queries and ensuring that the first contact resolution is a priority. Or understanding how to master social and the host of new comms channels on the rise (and expected by customers).

A good example of a new channel that customer care teams are having to adopt is live chat. Perhaps three years ago this channel was only for specialist teams and the reserve of a few businesses. However it is becoming more and more prevalent throughout every industry and every organisation. I’m naturally biased towards a communication-focused solution – but anyone who’s become frustrated by the stock responses and monotone replies by some businesses using this will know that understanding how to craft effective and helpful replies is key.

This change in customer focus is by no means anybody’s fault. Most of these expectations have risen far too quickly for the slow moving cogs of larger organisations. While they’re still scratching their heads over what social means to them their entire customer base is already actively engaged in conversations about them.

New channels mean new communication skills, and training that matches

As these new channels arise they require a specialist set of communication skills, and a particular understanding of how to manage a conversation online with the customer to ensure that they are getting the information they need. This is more than just basic English and grammar – and the businesses that use it particularly well understand this.

The examples above are just some of the many new channels opening up to customers to enable them to talk to the businesses they buy from. There are a whole host of new channels opening all of which require specialist skills and a specialist understanding of how to deal with customers and their expectations effectively.

Most training that happens for customer service teams involves the basics. From my experience, businesses that are surpassing their competitors are recognising the immense value of every customer interaction and every piece of communication delivered to customers. With this they are recognising the special skills required by customer service teams that are essential to delivering a consistent customer experience.

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James Freeman-Gray

I'm co-founder here at Rubuss. I work across service design, customer experience, complaints and cultural change. I'm also an executive coach supporting leaders to take a human-centred approach to empowering their teams.