What are customer service skills? (And how to develop them)

What are customer service skills? (And how to develop them)
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 13 May, 2024

Customer service skills are crucial for building and maintaining good relationships with clients. A business's quality of service can affect whether or not a customer will purchase a product. This is why many companies try to provide exceptional customer service. It's also why good customer service skills are a must in today's job market.

In this article, we'll help you learn more about the importance of good customer service. We'll also provide you with tips for developing your customer service skills. Here's what we'll cover:

Why is customer service important? 

Customer service has a huge impact on the success of many companies. It affects these areas:

Customer satisfaction and loyalty

A 2022 study explored the factors affecting customer loyalty and the performance of various hotels in the United Kingdom. The author found that customer service significantly influences customer satisfaction and loyalty. They also cited other studies that show the impact of customer service. One found that good customer service is crucial in the hospitality industry as it helps attract and maintain customers.

Brand reputation and image

Customer service experience affects how people perceive a brand or company. An online survey revealed that many consumers check reviews. This often occurs before completing the purchasing process. It found that negative reviews often aren't the result of customers' first interaction with the brand. Instead, these stem from poor customer service.

Sales and revenue generation

Customer service can affect the decision of many consumers to buy a product or service. For example, according to the 2022 study, many choose to visit a hotel with great customer service. This can translate to more sales.

Research from McKinsey & Company also revealed that improving customer experience can increase revenue by 2% to 7%. As a result, this can improve a company's profitability by 1% to 2%.

Employee morale and productivity

Great customer service can have a positive impact on all parties. It can make customers happy and pleasant to interact with. Positive interactions with customers will improve employee morale and make them more productive. This will lead to better performance and higher employee satisfaction.

What are the principles of good customer service? 

These are the key principles of good customer service:

  • Empathy: Understanding and addressing the customer’s needs shows the company values its clients. This can build loyalty and promote customer retention.
  • Communication: Practising active listening, providing clear and concise explanations, and using a professional tone help create a positive customer experience. These actions foster trust and confidence in the company.
  • Problem-solving: Identifying and resolving customer issues will make the customer feel valued. This is key to retaining customers and building a positive reputation.
  • Professionalism: Showing courtesy, respect, and a positive attitude can create a welcoming environment for customers. This helps the company build strong relationships with customers and improve its image.
  • Proactivity: Anticipating customer needs and going the extra mile show a commitment to great service. Positive impressions on consumers will encourage them to advocate your product or brand.

Key customer service skills you need in the workplace 

Here are important customer service skills in the workplace:

Communication skills

These refer to how well you express your ideas and listen to others. Examples include:

  • Verbal and written communication: How you speak and write to customers affects their experience with you and the company. Communication also includes body language, tone, and personal presentation.
  • Active listening: This is your ability to understand customers and respond appropriately. It involves engaging with customers and showing that you care about their needs.
  • Explaining complex information: Practise explaining ideas and concepts in a simple way to help customers understand.
Three employees celebrating a work team with a high five

Technical knowledge

These are hard skills or industry knowledge required to perform your job. Examples include:

  • Product or service expertise: Thoroughly understanding the company's offerings helps you provide accurate and helpful information to customers.
  • Troubleshooting skills: These enable you to identify and resolve technical issues for customers. Having specialised knowledge in computer software, hardware, or other technical systems may be necessary.

Problem-solving skills

These soft skills help you provide solutions to customer’s issues more efficiently. Examples include:

  • Identifying root causes: Figuring out the cause of a problem quickly helps you resolve it faster.
  • Finding solutions: Understanding how to tackle customer issues promotes great service.
  • Creative thinking: This involves thinking outside the box and exploring new ideas. It's an important customer service skill – especially when dealing with complex problems.

Empathy and emotional intelligence

Here are examples of how empathy and emotional intelligence work in customer service:

  • Relating to customers: Recognise and respond to customers' emotions to meet their needs.
  • Building rapport: Establish and maintain positive relationships with customers to create a good impression and gain their trust.

Remaining adaptable and resilient

These traits can help you thrive in a customer service team by helping you deal with the unexpected. Examples include:

  • Handling difficult situations: Deal with unhappy customers calmly when resolving their issues. This enables you to regain their trust.
  • Staying calm under pressure: Remain level-headed even in stressful situations. For example, when you're dealing with an angry customer. Stay professional and handle the situation with tact.
  • Adjusting to changing needs: Recognise when a customer's needs are changing. Adjusting your approach can help you meet them. This customer service strategy enables you to close a sale, solve a problem, or provide better service.

How to improve your customer service skills 

Here are some ways you can develop your customer service skills:

  • Seek feedback from customers. Take time to examine service reviews and identify areas where you can improve. You can also ask customers to provide feedback on their experience.
  • Engage in continuous learning. Take courses and participate in training and development programmes. Focus on important customer service skills that you feel need work.
  • Role-play customer interactions with colleagues. This allows you to practise your communication and active listening skills. It also prepares you to deal with difficult situations with confidence and a positive attitude.
  • Learn from experienced customer service professionals. Observe their customer interactions to understand how to handle various situations. Ask for advice on how you can develop your skills.
  • Ask for feedback from your manager. This can help identify your strengths and areas for improvement as part of a customer service team. Your manager can also recommend development opportunities and help you maintain a growth mindset.
  • Keep up to date with industry trends and best practices. You can do this by reading articles, books, and blogs about the customer service field.

Example of customer service skills in a resume 

You can showcase your customer service skills in various parts of your resume. These include the summary, work history, and skills sections. These tips can also help:

  • Review the job description. Include the customer service skills the employer is looking for in your resume.
  • Incorporate relevant keywords. These may increase your chances of getting an interview.
  • Include figures to emphasise your impact on the company. For example, you can say that you resolve an average of 50 tickets per day with a 95% customer satisfaction rating.
  • Use action words in your work history. This can help you capture the hiring manager's attention.
  • List your relevant customer service skills first. Highlight your past customer service duties to demonstrate your abilities.

Sample resume for highlighting customer service skills

Here's a short sample resume for your reference:

Eleanor Yap
42 Jalan Telawi, Taman Kenari, 43000 Kajang, Selangor
[email protected]
+60 12 8749550

Results-oriented professional with over three years of experience in delivering exceptional customer service. Successfully increased customer satisfaction ratings by 15% through proactive problem-solving and efficient issue resolution. Promotes strong communication and time management skills.

Work History
Customer Service Representative
Stellar Communications, July 2021–Present

  • Handles an average of 50 customer calls per day while maintaining a customer satisfaction rating of over 96%.
  • Implements streamlined processes for handling customer questions and resolving issues to reduce wait times by 20%.
  • Demonstrates excellent product knowledge in upselling and cross-selling opportunities, resulting in a 10% increase in sales.

Bachelor of Business Administration
University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
Graduated 2020

Communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, time management, knowledge of customer service principles

grocery worker working in an aisle


Developing strong customer service skills will let you achieve professional success in various fields. These skills allow you to build and maintain positive relationships with customers. They include communication, problem-solving, technical knowledge, adaptability, and empathy. Consider improving your skills to perform better and advance in your customer service career.


Here are answers to questions about customer service skills:

  1. How can I improve my customer service skills?
    Seek feedback from customers and colleagues to identify areas for improvement. You can also role-play scenarios to prepare for various customer interactions. Consider learning from more experienced customer service professionals and taking relevant training courses.
  2. What are the essential customer service representative skills?
    Clear communication skills, problem-solving, empathy, adaptability, and resilience are important skills. Also, a customer service agent needs emotional intelligence and technical knowledge.
  3. How do I tailor my resume for a customer service job?
    Review the job description and highlight your skills and qualifications that match. Also, mention any previous customer service experience.
  4. What keywords should I include in my customer service resume?
    Common resume keywords may include "customer service" and "customer care." Also, "communication skills", "problem-solving", "interpersonal skills", and "troubleshooting."
  5. Are technical skills important in customer service?
    Yes. These skills include computer literacy, which is important in many customer service jobs. Some roles need more technical skills. For example, IT support agents need proficiency in specific programs and tools.
  6. What are some real-life examples of excellent customer service?
    Petroliam Nasional Berhad won a 2023 Malaysia Customer Experience of the Year award for its Meeting Experience System technology. The technology provides an easy, safe, and secure way for guests to register when entering company premises. Another example is Samsung Malaysia Electronics. The company received the 2023 CXP Best Customer Service Experience award for its commitment to customer service. It shows this by providing personalised experiences and innovative solutions to customers.
  7. How can I demonstrate empathy in my resume?
    Mention skills that support this quality, such as active listening. You can also include customer satisfaction ratings in your work history. This shows your ability to empathise and meet the needs of clients.
  8. What certifications enhance my customer service resume?
    Many online educational platforms offer certifications that focus on customer service. For example, edX has customer relationship management courses for sales and support teams. Coursera offers customer service courses that cater to different roles and skill levels. There are also certifications for specific skills, such as communication and conflict resolution. All these can enhance your resume.
  9. What is the difference between hard and soft customer service skills?
    Hard skills focus on technical abilities and specific knowledge. Examples are product knowledge and software troubleshooting. Soft customer service skills consist of character traits and interpersonal skills. These include empathy, problem-solving, and communication.
  10. How do I address a lack of experience in my customer service resume?
    Focus on your education and volunteer experience. Include experiences that showcase important customer service skills. These may be activities you did in school. For example, being a laboratory assistant, tutoring, or organising events. Highlight leadership roles you may have had. These show your ability to work with others to achieve a goal.

More from this category: Workplace skills

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