In the customer service world, hard skills (typing, proficiency with software, setting appointments, etc.) are easily enforced, measured and monitored without difficulty. With these skills, there is a clear distinction between right and wrong. For this reason, hard skills are often used as a measurement of a customer service representative’s success; but the truth is, a customer service representative can only go so far with hard skills alone and is usually the differentiator between a typical customer service experience or a memorable one.
Soft skills (the ability to empathize and remain calm) prove to be more elusive and indefinable. Soft skills involve the ability to communicate, motivate, listen, solve problems, and manage stressful situations. What many customer service education programs fail to recognize is that encompassing a blend of hard and soft skills is the recipe for success.
This article from Inc. Magazine highlights 5 finishing touches for your customer service strategy. The article includes a few simple tips to get your customer service team utilizing these key soft skills with customers. Getting your team up to speed with these soft skill tips will undeniably lead to a better experience for your employees and customers. For some creative ways to infuse some soft skills into your customer support team, you may be interested in this article on how to provide fun and interactive customer service training.