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a blog by Don R. Crawley

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IT Customer Service and Compassion

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The field of IT is multifaceted, making it complex. The training is detailed and rigorous. Despite endless hours of training and numerous professional certifications, many who enter the industry find that they struggle with service skills. The reason? Their technical education lacked effective training in customer service, which is integral to any successful career in IT. Thankfully, these skills can be easily learned at any point in one’s career. Here are fifteen customer service skills every IT professional needs to have.

15 Essential IT Customer Service Skills

  1. Clear Communication Skills: IT customer service professionals must speak with customers in a way they understand, without the use of confusing technical jargon.
  2. Empathy: Customers engaging with IT are typically in a frustrating or unpleasant situation. IT workers must try to imagine what they would want if there were in a similar situation and respond with compassion and understanding.
  3. Listening Skills: Customer service professionals need to listen to what the customer has to say without interrupting mid-complaint or prematurely jumping to a solution.
  4. Ability to Ask Clarifying Questions: Customers who are not technically savvy may lack the skills to effectively describe their problem. An exceptional IT customer service professional will know what questions to ask to quickly diagnose the problem.
  5. Patience: The ability to maintain an outward professional composure in a frustrating situation is critical to success in the IT customer service industry. 
  6. Positive Language Usage: Customers have a visceral negative response to the word “can’t.” A great IT customer service professional will reframe negative situations with positive words, telling the customer what they can do rather than what they can’t.
  7. Good Follow-Through: Some problems can’t be resolved immediately. An IT customer service professional must be self-motivated to follow through with tasks related to outstanding tickets even when the customer is not front-and-center.
  8. Self-Awareness: Some problems require attention from someone with greater authority or greater skill. A good customer service representative has the self-awareness to recognize when their ability to help is limited and will pull in additional resources when necessary. 
  9. Resourcefulness: Problem-solving skills are key. While some issues will resurface time and again, new ones will always pop up. It’s important to be ready with creative solutions.
  10. Awareness of Non-Verbal Communication: Good customer engagement involves more than back-and-forth dialogue. Whether face-to-face or over the phone, a good IT customer service professional must be aware of the messages they send through non-verbal communication and implement techniques that convey empathy and compassion.
  11. Attentiveness to the Customer: Customer service representatives are often the least engaged employees in a company – right behind the IT Department. Being attentive and engaged with the customer sets you apart from the competition.
  12. Solution-Focused: Being solution-focused is an essential customer service skill. During every call, there are numerous distractions from the task at hand, but an IT professional who maintains their focus on resolving the customer’s core issue will be the most effective.
  13. De-escalation Skills: It’s common for customers to become agitated during frustrating situations. A good customer service professional will know techniques to de-escalate an angry customer.
  14. Commitment to Self-Improvement: The IT industry changes rapidly. To serve customers well, IT customer service professionals must engage in ongoing technical training. They must also be open to learning new customer service skills and receiving feedback about how to improve their interactions with customers.
  15. Thick Skin: Upset customers inevitably misplace their anger with the situation onto their customer service representative. When this happens, an IT customer service professional must develop a thick skin to effectively serve the customer without it impacting them personally. 

Customer Service Skills Training

These essential customer service skills come more easily to some IT professionals than others, but with the right training, anyone can develop them.

Help your team develop the customer service skills necessary to succeed in the IT industry with Compassionate Geek’s online and onsite training courses! Based on Don Crawley’s popular books The Compassionate Geek and The 5 Principles of IT Customer Service Success, these courses teach the “people skills” that complement your team’s technical knowledge to increase their workplace effectiveness and boost customer satisfaction. Learn more at CompassionateGeek.com!

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