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20 Essential Customer Service Skills Every Employee Needs

Customer’s significance is getting bigger and bigger, which results in a demand for unique customer service. Why? Customer’s satisfaction is a benchmark that determines a company’s market position. It shouldn’t be a surprise that many employers are looking for people with a particular set of customer service skills. Luckily those are skills that each and every one of us can improve and polish.

Table of Contents
  1. What is customer service?
  2. Importance of Customer Service Skills
  3. What is customer service?
  4. How to improve customer service skills?
  5. How to put customer service skills on your resume?
  6. Conclusion

What is Customer Service?

Firstly, it’s worth to fully understand what is hiding behind the term Customer Service. It is nothing else but a direct customer-salesman interaction which aim is to sell a product or a service. It is a multilayer process that can be perfected by working on particular sale patterns, collecting customer’s feedback or maintaining the relation on the best level possible.

The way an employee drives a sale determines whether or not a potential customer makes a purchase. What is even more important, a good salesman can keep a customer for many years. According to the information presented by Harvard Business Review, obtaining a new customer is even 25% more expensive than maintaining an existing one.

Importance of Customer Service Skills

As per the study conducted at the Kuala Lumpur University, a consumer plays several roles of big importance for the company.

Firstly, they drive the company’s profits. In other words, they are a key to success. It is an utterly important point since it is very hard to imagine a company that operates without consumers willing to buy its products or services.

Customer is also information about the quality of a company’s products or services. Collecting information from a person that uses a company’s services is extremely important. It gives a chance to know customers’ needs and expectations and try to meet them. Constant changes and improvement of unsatisfactory areas of business can definitely shorten the company’s path to success.

Last but not least – by acquiring new customers company gains the possibility to expand on new areas and markets. It is a crucial piece since not only does it allow to survive on the market, but also get new ones or merging with other companies into a greater one.

Customer Service Skills List

I’m sure many people ended up here as a result of wondering what they should write about themselves in the resume or tell during an upcoming job interview in order to make a good impression. You’re definitely in the right place because this article presents 20 most important customer service skills. You can find here essential soft and hard skills the best employee should have. Enjoy the reading of the most important customer service skills list!

1. Empathy

Understanding others and the feeling of being understood is very important, hence empathy is highly desired in customer service. Understanding other peoples’ feelings and the ability to read them allows you to react quickly and accordingly. It will surely help you solve many difficult situations, but more importantly this way you will gain customer’s trust. People who can take an individual approach when talking to a customer are considered to be better salesmen.

In the era of digitization and robotics, showing emotions and affection is what distinguish us from machines. It is worth to cultivate and work on this quality since it can have a positive effect on our customer strategy.

2. Respect

It is very loud about mutual respect these days. The entire concept of respect is treating the other person the way we would like to be treated. This is why a client has to feel good when approaching you with a problem or a question.

You should always treat a problem seriously, regardless of its nature. It is also very important to address the other person with respect, using proper wording and a non-judgmental approach.

How to show respect in an easy way? Don’t interrupt when a person is speaking, maintain eye contact and don’t patronize. The last one is crucial since many people come to ask about little things or are not familiar with the subject. In such a case you should share your knowledge in a detailed and humble manner.

3. Attentiveness

Just like in friendship, knowing how to listen is a valuable thing. A good listener can read between the lines, analyse them and meet customer’s expectation, even if they don’t know about them yet!

Every person has their own way of conveying information, sometimes they don’t know exactly what to tell and how to do it. It is your job to react accordingly, yet not directly, by properly conducting the discussion and focusing on what customer is telling you. Effective listening will surely allow you to serve a customer with the highest quality.

4. Self-control

Each customer is different and reacts differently. This is why self-control is a feature a good salesman should have. Especially when a buyer starts to lose temper or the situation is getting out of control.

When a customer starts to raise their voice or is getting upset it is your job to calm them down and restore good vibes. Letting the situation escalate will not only have a negative effect on the transaction but will also spoil the atmosphere in the room.

Composure and the ability to cope with negative emotions is very important when working with customers, hence it is worth to cultivate this quality.

5. Patience

Since we’re talking about self-control it is good to talk about patience as well. These two qualities are similar and they often come together.

Patience is the key in the customer service world. We should remember, that many customers are frustrated or have a short temper when the answer to their question is not ready in a matter of seconds. Keep in mind, that good service is always better than a fast service.

Customer who is listened to and served with care will be more eager to come back, and as we said earlier – customers’ loyalty is vital for the company’s development.

6. Persuasiveness

What does it mean to be persuasive? Many people associate this quality with manipulation and dirty tricks which aim is to force one’s will to another person. It could not be further from the truth! Being persuasive is nothing else but convincing another person, a customer, in this case, to choose goods that you offer.

The trick is to use such arguments that speak to the person you want to persuade. Additionally, a salesman should believe in what they’re saying because this is when confidence kicks in and now they’re just a step away from perfect customer service.

7. Flexibility

I’m sure you’ll meet many customers during your career and it is almost certain that each and every one of them will be different.

Because of that, it is crucial that you can adapt to the changing conditions. The ability to adapt to customer’s needs is a mix of several qualities – being a good listener and effective are just some of them.

This is a feature that comes with experience. Remember, that each customer encounter is a lesson for you – make notes and learn what’s the best way to cope with different personalities so you won’t get caught by surprise!

8. Clear verbal communication

A clear message is not only about a neat, correct speech or an accent. These are important too, of course, since they are a testimony of your eloquence and automatically raise your ratings. So remember to take care of pronunciation – especially in multicultural countries where English is not everyone’s first language.

Explicitness is equally important here. Try to avoid mental shortcuts and a slang which may not be understandable for everyone. Explain everything in such a manner that no one has the slightest doubt what you mean. It will help you avoid unpleasant situations and unnecessary accusations of unprofessionalism. Not to mention that customer will surely be happy!

9. Responsibility

Responsibility for customer’s problems is a very important aspect you need to consider when working on yourself.

Many people that come with a problem want to get rid of it as soon as possible, pass it on someone else. In such moments it is your job to listen, calm the person down and to ensure that you’ll do everything to resolve the problem efficiently. It’s no rocket science and yet you can become your customer’s hero and earn their trust and sympathy.

10. Efficiency

I’m sure you’re wondering how to be efficient in customer service when you should take as much time as customer needs. This aspect should not be neglected, especially when we’re talking about the multi-step process of sale or problem-solving. An efficient salesman is a person who can take care of everything reasonably fast and maintain good quality at the same time.

Always, regardless of the problem, do your best, find the best and the quickest way to solve the problem. It will ensure not only customer’s satisfaction but their trust as well. Hey, we all tend to come back to the person we know we can rely on.

11. Thick skin

My mum used to say: ‘if you have a soft heart, you should have a thick skin’. She was right, and this saying can translate to the customer service too.

Sadly, it happens sometimes that a person who comes to the store has a bad day and they only wait for a trigger to blow a fuse. In such cases, no matter how professional you are, you can be a target of customer’s frustration and anger.

This is why you should develop a thick skin. It’s not worth to take such situations personally and despairs because most probably it wasn’t your fault in the first place. It’s not easy and requires tons of work, however, it is worth to work on it as it can help you get rid of unnecessary stress.

12. Tenacity/persistence

Tenacity is important in customer service because of two reasons. The first one is obvious – the desire to achieve your goal. People who are determined always find a way to successfully solve the problem. And this is where the other reason comes into play – customer’s satisfaction.

Every person that comes to the store with a problem would like to see their consultant’s passion for solving the issue. This is why raising a bar constantly will help you achieve better results and raise a standard of customer’s service. It’s a win-win situation, always the best one.

13. Positive attitude

Many people say that a smile is the best remedy. It is true, to some extent. Smiling people with positive energy are perceived better by society. Such people are also easier to approach since they don’t build a wall around them.

Additionally, optimism is more contagious than you think. Because of that we highly recommend you smile more at work – it will be a good step on your path to better customer service.

14. A sense of humour

A sense of humour is a precious quality if you want to become successful when working with customers. First and foremost, people will like to work with you. Situational jokes, when appropriate, are always a good icebreaker and help customer to feel comfortable. Naturally, when you notice that customer tries to make a joke it’s a good idea to appreciate it and smile as a sign of gratitude.

Remember, that you should never laugh at customer or mock them. That’s the line which customer service officer cannot cross.

15. Assertiveness

Sometimes situation would require you to take control and properly impose your opinion. This is assertiveness, which every person who wants to provide high-quality customer service should have.

Yet there is a very thin line between being assertive and hostile, so you should always be delicate, so your customer doesn’t feel attacked. Assertiveness is a combination of confidence and decisiveness, which is the next position on our list.

16. Decisiveness

Indecision, doubt – those are a very common phenomenon. Especially when a company is focused on customer service.

Decisiveness is a solution in those kinds of scenarios. Sometimes it’s better to make a decision for a customer, based on your experience and knowledge. There are people who would openly ask ‘what would YOU choose?’. Then you should make your choice with confidence, support it, explain ‘why’ and close the transaction. This skill should go hand in hand with another important feature – expertise.

17. Expertise

Expertise is something you can surely learn and be very good at. Knowledge of a product and using this knowledge skilfully is very useful.

Knowing a product you work with helps you perfectly advise your customer. Equally important is telling about it and knowing every detail that will help you clear all the doubts the customer has. Knowing your offer is a multi-step process and it’s impossible to learn everything on the first day. So, don’t worry that your knowledge is incomplete at first. Remember to self-improve and make use of training and mentorships your employer offers.

18. Creative problem solving

Creativity is a skill that could help you in customer service and make you stand out from other employees.

Thinking outside the box and creative problem solving bring many benefits. Almost everyone can cite standard responses to customers. A creative person who comes up with a peculiar solution will be remembered and appreciated for sure.

19. Tactfulness

Being tactful means, to tell the truth, and your beliefs, no matter how significant those are, in a manner that is considerate and won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

An extremely important skill in customer service. The skill of diplomacy will help you avoid conflicts even when the situation is difficult and complex. A tactful person is also considered trustworthy, mature and professional. It’s worth being tactful and to polish this quality.

20. Promptness

The last skill on our list is promptness. Being able to make quick decisions and being eager to help is valued greatly, especially amongst very excited people who want to put the shopping or an irritating problem behind them as soon as possible.

Remember, that prompt must not equal bad. It happens that work that is done quickly is considered to be underdone or done in a bad way. It’s not true and you should do your best to change this stereotype.

How to improve customer service skills?

There are both soft and hard skills on our essential customer service skills list. After reading them all you must have thought ‘How to improve those customer service skills?’. It’s a matter that both employers and employees should take their interest in.

It is a never-ending work, that will result in top-class customer service when done regularly.

How to put customer service skills on your resume?

Adjusting your resume for a particular job is nothing unusual so it is very important to properly put customer service skills there.

Skilful emphasis on your skills in this are can result in a job offer.

The right place to highlight and emphasize your skills is a conclusion and a cover letter.

Don’t be afraid to brag about your achievements or give examples when you used your skills in practice. Putting customer service skills on your resume will definitely pay off.


Lots of customer service skills are connected so working on one means that you often work on another at the same time.

I am sure, that the effort you put in polishing them will surely pay off and that’s why a customer service knowledge base can be powerful to improve this area of business.

Additionally, you should remember, that a person with good customer service skills is a very valuable employee that a company wants to keep.

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