A cornerstone of excellent customer service are excellent communication skills.
As we all know, these soft skills can take a lifetime to learn and perfect. Customer service managers must be better than most when communicating so they dedicate a lot of time to improve their communication skills.
We bring you five simple communication secrets that make a great customer service manager.
Adjust your tone
As a customer service manager, one important skill is to be able to adjust your tone to your target audience. You must not always sound the same, rather have multiple communication styles for multiple situations. For example, are you addressing a potential new employee, an experienced valuable employee, an employee who is not giving it his best, or maybe a disgruntled VIP client?
Each of these situations demands a specific communication tone. These situations can demand formal or informal communications, giving praise or reproach, asserting authority, or apologizing to your client. You must be able to convincingly do it all – but no worries, as long as you think about the differences between various target audiences, this will come with time and experience.
It is important to, also, adjust your tone according to the channel that you use, be it email, or a type of chat or a messenger system. Add to all of that the ever-present lack of time. There is a, not magic, but almost magical solution for this as well - tools that allow you to automatically adjust the response according to the emotion detected and the channel, such as here.
Think about who you are talking to and adjust accordingly. With this, you will achieve super results!
One responsibility of a customer service supervisor is to give meaningful feedback. This is, in fact, a really important communication skill. You must be able to communicate clearly so that the team members understand what they did and did not do well. You should be ready and generous with your positive feedback, but even more important is negative feedback.
Criticism should be delivered in an impersonal way so that your team members don’t think you have something personal against them. Criticism should always be paired with some constructive advice. You should be able to communicate this in a short time frame, ideally within three days of the employee’s mess up, so that he can remember and think about his tone, attitude, word choice, decision making, etc.
No matter how tedious or uncomfortable giving feedback is, it is super important to do it with a clear, balanced, and impersonal communication style. As one of the top ranking EmailTree employees would say: Sometimes it's difficult for managers to be aware of an employee's mistakes. So by using a modern and specific customer service tool, he or she will get all the reports, feedback, and analytics to control, improve, and track the success of the team.
Handle your customers with care
When extremely difficult situations with your customers arise, customer service reps are expected to handle the situation in case their team members are unable to.
This is when a completely different communication style comes in – in general very formal and proper, however if you are cunning – mixed with some vulnerability so that you become more likable and human to your customer. It is a tight balancing rope, but the best customer service supervisors do it seamlessly.
Here you also lead by example for your team members who will watch and learn from your interactions with the customer with much interest. This can be a great learning situation and a great discussion between the manager and the team. After you have solved the customer’s situation, ask your team members what they have learned, what they have done in your place, engage in a meaningful discussion – this will be greatly beneficial for your team’s skill set but also for you as a leader and customer service supervisor.
There are many customer service manager skills, but sometimes the toughest ones to achieve are so very simple at first glance. It is extremely difficult to be honest and admit your shortcomings in a graceful way. If you are faced with a question or situation that you do not know how to handle, you might be tempted to improvise to look capable and all-knowing in front of your team.
This is a very common pitfall, be sure to avoid it. If you do in fact – lie, this will eventually harm you. Asides from creating an actual work problem, your team members will find out and not appreciate your dishonesty. They themselves might be tempted to act without knowing how to solve an issue, creating catastrophic results. You lead by example, and not admitting that you do not know the answer erodes trust and respect that you have earned.
The solution is quite simple – admit that you do not know the solution and that you will get back to them later. Research a potential answer to the problem and get back to your team to discuss the situation. The same principle is applied in conversation with the customer, in case you do not know an answer to a question.
We would all like to be one hundred percent correct and knowledgeable all the time. But it is in fact what we do when we are unsure of the answer that matters most.
Be a great listener
One very valuable customer service manager skill is being a great listener. This, in turn, helps you communicate twice as well.
Have the patience and time to truly listen to your customers and team members. In most cases, if only you apply yourself and think of what is said, they are conveying crucial points that you are missing. Either about your product/service, or about your management skill or the situation on the team, etc.
By listening you can collect precious feedback that is offered to you daily, and then you can start to communicate clearly and considerately with the people around you. Not to mention how all this info will positively affect your decision making and knowledge of the clients or your team – with patient listening customer service managers can know their clients or team inside out. This is truly gold for any customer service supervisor for it puts you in a great position and enables you to do amazing work.
Manage Your Objectives
Also, one thing must not be forgotten - in order to achieve great customer service managers must have certain objectives, and know his/or hers roles and responsibilities.
A good (project) manager knows how to delegate, but not micromanage at the same time, and knows exactly which tools to use while going about his business and helping his team. You need to reach your customer service objectives, but you also need to let your “crew breathe”. Trust being a crucial moment in all relationships, even this one - EmailTree is, on the other hand, exactly the type of helper you want on your side.
All this considered, the life of a top manager in customer service is not easy-peasy, but if you give it your all along with having the best tools possible (and following these simple rules :), you will be there in no time.