This is a guest post by Robert Hosking

If you provide customer service in any capacity, this may be comforting to read: In a recent OfficeTeam survey, 71 percent of respondents said they are likely to contact a company to let them know they had a good customer service experience. Comforting at least until you read on: An even higher number — 79 percent — reported they would call to complain about a bad customer service experience.

Not only that. Fifty-nine percent said it only takes one or two bad customer service experiences before they decide not to work with a company in the future.

It’s not hard to see why customer service skills can make or break an organization. And keep in mind that good customer service skills aren’t just a must for customer service managers or representatives. Most people regularly provide customer service to internal or external contacts – regardless of their position or the industry they’re in. Here are five tips to help you ensure you’re delivering excellent customer service every time:


  1. Be an active listener.
    Don’t assume you know what the person is going to say, and don’t cut him or her off before they finish describing their issue. Good customer service skills include listening with an open mind, and asking questions along the way. Also pay attention to other indicators, such as the tone of their voice.

  3. Communicate positively.
    No one wants to hear someone else say, “no,” so your conversation should emphasize what you can do. “We value your business . . . I’m sure we can resolve your issue . . . may I offer some other options?” are phrases that stress your desire to make the individual happy.

  5. State the facts.
    Although it’s important to be positive, it’s equally important to make sure you’re conveying accurate information in a clear manner. This goes for both verbal and written communications. And don’t make any promises you can’t keep.

  7. Remain calm and compassionate.
    Even if the other party is irate and shouting, you should not raise your voice or become defensive. Easier said than done, for sure, but do your best to keep calm. “I can certainly understand why you’re upset . . . that shouldn’t have happened,” shows you empathize with the person.

  9. Go above and beyond.
    Going the extra mile is guaranteed to improve the customer service experience. For example, if it’s going to take a while to find the answer or resolve the problem, offer to call the individual back at a specified time instead of making them remain on the phone for an extended period of time. Even more important: Make absolutely sure you follow through and place your callback at the precise time you set.

Strong customer service skills are not optional in today’s workplace. Learn more about delivering excellent customer service and take the OfficeTeam quiz to determine your customer service style.

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About the guest post author:

Robert Hosking is executive director of OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at