Customer service is one of the most important departments in any business. Customer service personnel are responsible for providing one-to-one support, guidance, and assistance to customers to ensure they have an easy and enjoyable experience with a company. Today, the role extends far beyond traditional telephone support to include email, webchat, text message, and social media as well. Agents are tasked with answering customer queries, questions and complaints as they come in across all of these channels –before, during and after customers have made a purchase or are using the company’s products and services. As such, customer service is a decidedly human role – even with all the AI and automation technology that today’s companies deploy to augment the function. Agents need to be able to communicate with customers across multiple channels positively, politely, promptly and professionally to provide the high-quality assistance that customers expect and need. If you’re thinking about applying for a role in this exciting field, you should know that it’s a competitive job market, which means you’ll need a resume that stands out. So – what skills to list on your resume for customer service?
Customer Service Job Outlook
It’s no secret that the US is currently experiencing one of the tightest job markets in history. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for customer service representatives are expected to be good over the coming years. Overall employment in this field is projected to grow 5% from 2016 to 2026. Much of this growth is expected to come from customer contact centers, which are projected to add the most new jobs for customer service representatives during this period – an increase of 36% – as more businesses outsource the function to companies that specialize in handling customer service.
(Image source: bls.gov)
However, the BLS also notes that “Employment growth of customer service representatives in all other industries will be driven by growth within those industries, as well as by consumers’ demand for products and services that require customer support. Some companies will continue to use in-house service centers to differentiate themselves from competitors, particularly for inquiries that are more complex, such as refunding accounts or confirming insurance coverage.”
So, prospects for customer service job seekers are generally looking pretty good for the foreseeable future. But employers are looking for people with a certain set of skills. Why? For the simple reason that bad customer service is the number one cause of customer churn. In fact, according to research from Forum Corporation, 70% of customer churn is caused by poor customer service, and three-quarters of customers are willing to switch to a brand competitor after just one single bad experience.
(Image source: superoffice.com)
Put simply, a business cannot risk employing someone to a customer service role without the necessary skills to keep customers happy and satisfied. So, what skills in particular are employers looking for, and indeed, what are the skills to list on your resume for customer service?
What Skills to List on Resume for Customer Service
For many businesses, people working in customer service roles are the human face of the company. These businesses rely on customer service representatives to create a positive dialogue with customers in order to foster loyalty and build a strong brand reputation. Customer service is often considered a soft skill – the BLS says that applicants should have a high school diploma, though are not normally required to have a degree – and so the skills to list on a resume for customer service revolve around problem-solving and communication, though some computer skills will also be required.
With this in mind, here are the top five skills to list on your resume for customer service.
- Communication Skills
Communication is undoubtedly the most important skill to list on a resume for customer service. Since the role will involve you spending almost the entirety of your days engaging personally with clients and customers, effective communication skills are essential. Customer service representatives must be able to provide clear information in writing, by telephone, and in-person so that they can resolve customer issues without creating any additional confusion. Importantly, an essential part of good communication is listening. Customer service representatives must be able to listen carefully to ensure that they understand customers in order to assist them. This all must be demonstrated in your resume with examples of how you’ve used your excellent communication skills in previous job roles, while in education, or in some other group or activity you’ve been involved with.
- Problem Solving
Customer service is all about solving customer issues, and so, naturally enough, problem-solving is one of the most critical skills to list on a resume for customer service. According to contact center services provider Unicom, problem-solving involves four key phases – 1. Listening to customers; 2. Empathizing with them by acknowledging their pain; 3. Finding the correct alternative solution to resolve the issue; and 4. Conducting a follow-up call with the customer to ensure they are happy with the solution and satisfied with the outcome. Provide evidence that you are capable of executing all four phases when listing this skill on your resume for customer service.
(Image source: unicomcorp.com)
- Product/Service Knowledge
Customer service representatives need to be able to present themselves to customers as experts and authorities on the product or service the company provides. As such, they need to know everything there is to know about the product or service so that customers have confidence in the company and the solutions it offers. All the communication and problem-solving skills in the world won’t amount to much if you don’t actually have the knowledge necessary to resolve a customers’ problem. As such, when considering the skills to list on your resume for customer service, it’s important that you highlight those related to attaining good product knowledge. These include good memory skills, research skills, attention to detail, and diligence – and you will do yourself no harm at all by researching your potential employer’s products and services so you can demonstrate these skills (and your initiative) in your resume.
- Interpersonal Skills
Creating positive interactions with customers is a fundamental part of good customer service. Representatives must be able to ensure that customers are satisfied with how the business is handling their needs so that they keep coming back for repeat purchases and don’t defect to a competitor. As such, your resume needs to show that you are able to forge great relationships. Interpersonal skills to list on a resume for customer service should include patience, positivity, tact, confidence, courtesy, friendliness, approachability, empathy, and the ability to resolve conflicts. Employers value people with strong interpersonal skills in customer service roles because of how well they can interact with both customers and colleagues. Such skills ensure that the company is always portrayed in a positive light, no matter how difficult or upset a customer is.
(Image source: thebalancecareers.com)
- Technical Skills and Computer Skills
Working in customer service will require you to use certain software and equipment that enhances your ability to help customers. As such, there are certain computer and technical skills to list on your resume for customer service. You must include your ability to use the usual Microsoft tools – including Word, Excel, and Outlook – and any experience using competitor products, such as Google’s G Suite (Google Docs, Sheets, Gmail, etc.) will be an advantage. Outside of these basic tools, however, you will also be required to use specialized customer service software, such as Freshdesk and Zendesk, as well as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, live chat tools, and social media. It may not be necessary to have any particular qualifications – nor even specific experience – in using any of these tools, as training will, of course, be given. However, your potential employer will need to know that you are comfortable with using technology and computers, so you need to list all the technical skills and experience that you do have.
Customer service is a crucial part of every single business out there. Today, customer experience (CX) is becoming so important that it is even expected to overtake price and product as the main reason why consumers choose one company over another – and customer service plays a vital role in good CX. Creating positive interactions with customers helps to ensure that the company continues to draw both new and repeat customers, and employers are looking for people with the skills to do that. As such, you must put great focus on soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, patience, friendliness and diligence when considering what skills to list on your resume for customer service. But these aren’t the be-all and end-all. Technical skills and computer skills are also important, as you will be required to use various software to fulfill your role. Be sure to list all the skills you have, and, where possible, demonstrate that you have them with evidence and examples.