We’ve all been there at one stage or another, when tensions rise, tone of voice becomes snappy, language is on edge, barriers start to go up and frustration is obvious. It’s never a fun situation, but if you’re on the receiving end of the call, then it’s your responsibility to either avoid this all together, or diffuse the situation and take the winds of annoyance out of the customer’s sails with your customer service skills and tact.
By the end of this blog post you’ll have a much better understanding about:
Whether you’ve been in customer service or customer support for some time, or you’re looking for a career sea change, you’ll be happy to know that many organizations now offer remote customer service jobs where you can work from home and help the customers around your needs and circumstances.
The above list of four sections will help you acquire the essential customer service skills, top up your resume with a certification or two, setup a presentable remote office and help you land your first remote customer service job so you can earn money online through the dynamic and exciting world of remote customer service and customer support.
Let’s jump straight into it!
To embark on your customer service or customer support role, it is essential to acquire the primary customer service skills that guard all aspects of this role.
Whether you are in customer service or customer support, you need the same set of skills to ace the job. Customer service and customer support come under the same umbrella as both involve helping customers using equivalent tools and skills.
For the purpose of this blog we’ll refer mainly to customer service for both customer service and customer support.
Discussed below are the primary customer service skills that are extremely important for work from home customer service agents.
Listening is the fundamental part of any customer service role; it defines your ability to respond to and investigate the problem and define future strategy that can satisfy the customer.
During an on call session with a customer it is imperative to practice “Active Listening” which makes the customer feel welcomed, heard and understood. The key principle is to “never make assumptions” and listen attentively when a customer is explaining a problem.
If there is confusion, don’t be afraid to investigate further and repeat the key problem as this builds a relationship of trust. In the end, write down important information, maintain a record and monitor the request until it is fully resolved.
Being a work from home customer service agent can be challenging as you may have to listen to a similar problem several times a day and it might be hard to focus every time. However, it is important to understand that there is a real person on the other side of the call, looking for empathy and a solution. The problems that seem similar and repetitive are experienced by different people with different scenarios, therefore listening carefully is very important.
The 5 C’s of communication are Clear, Concise, Complete, Correct and Courteous and they are the most applied communication rules while helping customers. It is important that you are able to quickly judge the customer’s needs and use your knowledge and communication skills accordingly to help the customer in the best possible way.
Most remote customer service jobs are work from home and don’t involve customer facing for the most part, so you need to have very strong verbal communication skills and be able to speak in a clear and courteous manner.
Whether it involves sharing product knowledge, service information or a step by step process; it is important to convey a concise, complete and correct message so that the customer is able to come to a conclusion by the end of the call.
Despite being on the phone, non-verbal communication is also very important here as it delivers a note of courtesy, kindness and empathy with your voice.
Positive communication is also an important aspect of your customer service skills. Instead of saying “I am sorry the product is not available until next week” you can say “we are going to stock up within the next week; if you want I can make a booking for you, how does that sound?”. Wouldn’t the second example make you feel much more connected and engaged as the customer!?
Empathy is an essential customer service skill that requires a customer support agent to jump into the customer’s shoes and understand the frustration or confusion that the customer is going through.
Always remember that a customer succumbs to making the effort of contacting a customer service agent after deliberation and probably trying to get answers elsewhere, therefore once you are on call with a customer the first thing is to empathize with them and gain their trust through understanding.
Practice empathy by reflecting on your customer’s feelings and emotions; give them personalized attention instead of following a script, allow them to say everything they want to say and communicate their issues until they’re finished.
Give correct information and honest timelines while using words and phrases that give the customer a sense of relief and comfort. Once you are able to build a customer’s trust it will be much easier to steer them towards new solutions and new possibilities.
Dealing with upset and angry customers is an inevitable part of a remote customer service job where the only way to deal with such customers is to practice self-control and patience.
It is human nature to react to aggression in a similar manner. If you communicate back your anger and frustration to the customer, it will only escalate the situation and put things out of your control.
Self-control is a must have customer service skill that you can learn and continuously improve upon by maintaining your cool in a provoking situation and responding in a calm and collective manner.
The calmness in your tone might also help the customer to think rationally and cool off eventually.
Being a work from home customer service agent and dealing with angry customers can be intimidating as well, but always remember that an unhappy customer is not your fault and it is essential that you don’t let a bad customer experience reflect on your dealing with other customers and work assignments.
Yes it’s important to be 100% there when you’re on the call. If you’re not 100% there then the previously discussed understanding and empathy will come off sounding like what they’re saying is going in one ear and out the other, and this is a recipe for disaster.
Detachment is the skill of being 0% there once the call has ended and you’ve mentally resolved any mistakes you may have made during the call.
As a work from home customer service agent there’s a good chance you’ll need to be helping kids, holding a baby, or talking to a family member pretty soon after you’ve hung up or finished your day, so being able to leave any pickles that you may have experienced that day behind is a worthy skill.
We recommend finishing the call or the day off with a breathing exercise. It’s simple, quick, needs no preparation and is incredibly powerful in reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in your system.
Simply follow these five steps:
A positive attitude augmented with a little humor can have a strong impact on your remote customer service job and enables you to help customers in a more productive manner. Humor used in a balanced way can improve customer engagement and build positive, long lasting relationships.
Carrying a positive attitude through your work from home day (or night) will uplift your mood and keep you energetic till the end of the day. Moreover, it will also help to diffuse a difficult situation in a proactive manner, and with a little bit of humor you might even be able to tame an angry customer into a healthy relationship.
Persuasion is one of the customer service skills that requires continuous practice and persistent usage in daily interactions with the customers. Gentle persuasion put forward with a consistent message will build a relationship of trust and honesty with the customer as they will realize sincerity and integrity in your communication.
One strategy for persuasion is called matching and mirroring. People connected to others better when there are similarities, so practice matching and mirroring by taking note of the sort of language, tone, speed and pitch of the customer.
It’s not about copying what you hear, but assimilating some aspects so it’s easier for them to connect with you and trust what they hear in return.
If they’re talking quickly, pick up your talking pace. If they use posh language, don’t be afraid to use some of the words they use. If they talk in a higher pitch consider raising yours a little.
There are many institutes and organizations that offer various customer service certifications and programs to greatly improve your customer service skills and give you a better chance at not only improving yourself and your skillset, but also a better chance at promoting within your company.
There are several membership organizations like CCPC global, NCSA (National Customer Service Association) and ICSA (International Customer Service Association) which are responsible for maintaining and improving the standards of certifications offered by member organizations.
Below are several institutes that offer certifications for those in the customer service and customer support industries. It might even be worth giving them a call to experience their own in-house customer service team, which may help guide you towards the right certification course to invest in.
Some College and University based courses include:
Getting affiliated with any of the above organizations or a customer service certification will greatly complement your remote customer service job.
A remote customer service job is quite different from an office based job and there is a set of requirements and criteria that should be met in order to provide work from home customer support.
In addition to excellent customer service skills, a remote customer service job requires:
As a minimum obligation you should be able to pay the phone and internet bills on time so that your connection is never lost. You may have to provide documentation of your phone line and internet connection, and an agent might visit your home office before inducting you onto their team.
The hub of work from home jobs and more than 139 companies, including CNN,CNBC and Inc are using this portal to post their remote jobs.
Another great job portal which has a number of remote, work from home and freelancing job options in multiple job categories including customer service jobs.
Has a long listing of remote customer service jobs. It is a membership based job portal.
Is the fastest growing job board for remote jobs and has well paid customer support jobs.
Also a great option if you are looking for remote customer service jobs.
Has a wide range of remote jobs in tech marketing and customer support. It has easy to use filters to search for open jobs and you can also post your resume for potential employers.
Has a lot of customer support jobs listed by reliable employers and if you truly follow the resources provided on the website, you can quickly land a reliable work from home job.
As the name says has a comprehensive list of remote customer service jobs.
Is a quick and easy job portal to apply for your remote customer service job. It has a resume building system as well that can help you to build and post an updated resume for your respective field.
Remote jobs are coming more and more common these days and work from home customer service jobs are on the top of the list. So if you want to work from the peace of your home and avoid the daily grind of an office job then considering a customer service job is a great idea.
You must acquire the essential customer service skills, top up your resume with a certification or two, setup a presentable remote office and you are good to land your first remote customer service job.