Soft skills is a term that you may not have heard before working in a customer service role, but it is vital to the development of individuals within these types of roles. If your company requires the assistance of a contact centre service to improve standards and increase customer satisfaction rates, you’ll want to choose a service where soft skills are held in high regard and where there is clear training processes and programmes to improve soft skills for all employees.
The first step to developing soft skills is to understand what they are exactly and to prioritise which skills are important for your organisation, your industry, and your customers. For the best results with customer satisfaction there should always be an aim to develop specific skills that maximise interactions with customers at every turn.
If you are looking for soft skills they are in the following brackets, with in-depth training possible and specific sub-categories within each:
- Professionalism in any role undertaken
- Great communication skills and a personable nature
- An innate ability to build strong, trusting relationships with customers
- In-depth knowledge of the product and service being sold
- A problem-solving nature
All 5 of these soft skills are vital to a customer service agent, but it could be that for your own organisation there is only a requirement for an improvement in one or two of those. For instance, you might want to work backwards from the desired end result (say an increase in sales from inbound calls of 5% over a 3-month period) and work back from there, looking at which of those soft skills can be improved to garner that result.
Once you have this starting point you can begin to develop a training programme that is geared towards improving the specific soft skills that are in need of attention. This can be achieved through a combination of training from a professional trainer (whether in person as part of a group training session, one-on-one training, or via a live video link), or via self-study through video training and analysis, feedback, and constructive feedback loops within the working environment.
With self-study you can target specific employees and specific weaknesses, training them up in skills they have personally struggled with and analysing specific situation. This is extremely helpful in situations where a brand-new team member has been brought on board without the same level of experience as the rest of the team. Self-study and individually targeted skills can help to bring this person up to speed before entering the working environment, or alongside in-house training.
The benefit of live training with a big group is that there is an instant payoff, feedback that can be talked through and role playing that allows for instant criticism and/or praise. The entire team can see and hear what is needed and when, backing up what has been read and studied through self-study.
Soft skills play an important part in the improvement of any customer facing role, and it is important that your company has access to a contact centre team with these skills in abundance and a desire to train continuously on them.