There is one particular skill that will be an asset for virtually every job. All organizations value this skill and it will always work to your advantage if you can demonstrate that you possess it. Most people are surprised when they find out what this skill is. The skill that is almost universally valued by employers is customer service. You might be thinking, "but I'm not interested in a customer service job" or "this doesn't apply to me!" but you would be wrong. The reality is that customer service applies to every single role. Whether you are the company president, an accountant, a car mechanic or a circus clown, you always have a customer and you are always selling a product or service. In some cases your customer is a department within your organization but make no mistake; it is still a customer. Here are some of the skills that are included within the realm of customer service:
A Genuine Interest. Customers can always tell whether or not the person who is serving them is genuinely interested in helping them. If you show patience to the customer and you take the time to actually listen to what they are saying, their experience with your company will be much more postive than it would be if you were just going through the motions.
Communication Skills. The ability to accurately understand what the customer is saying and to effectively communicate your message is essential to positive and effective customer interactions.
Thick Skin. Not all of your conversations with your customers are going to be pleasant. Some customers are angry and some are just having a bad day. You can't take it personally. If you can find a way to deal with a grumpy person without letting it impact your mood, it will be a strong asset to your career.
Knowledge of Your Product or Service. It is absolutely essential that you know what you are talking about when you are interacting with customers. If you don't, it can be extremely frustrating to them. Take a bit of time to learn all about your product or service and don't be afraid to ask questions.
Ability to stay calm. Sometimes you are going to be working with tight timelines and you will be working with people who are incredibly upset. In some cases there will be several people competing for your attention. If you are able to stay calm and think on your feet, even when everything is a little hectic, you will become a valued employee.
Time Management. While it is important to take your time with each customer, it is at least equally important to work efficiently and to provide your customers with what they need in a timely manner. If you are organized and you stay focused on your goal, your customers will be satisfied and you'll get your work done.
Just saying that you have strong customer service skills is not enough. To make a strong statement, you need to be able to provide detailed examples. The key to excellent customer service is a positive attitude. If you can demonstrate that you are genuinely committed to making your customers happy, any manager will want you on their team.
(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of 89Studio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)