If you’ve ever looked into a customer service job, chances are that you’ve seen “customer service skills” listed on the desired skill list. From support reps to cashiers, customer service professionals need to have the ability to handle customers effectively, provide customer support and increase the company’s ratio of happy customers. Here’s what you need to know about honing and showcasing customer service skills in a job application.
When a job listing asks for customer service skills, it’s really asking for many of these skills. The best customer service experts know how to mix and match these skills to meet whatever customer interactions they have. Consider listing these skills for customer service representative positions and similar jobs, especially if the job description specifically mentions them.
Your skill set should generally include only the six to eight skills you’re best at. Although some resumes may have more skills and some may have fewer, the thing that ties them all together is that you should only be listing the skills you really use to help with customer issues. The bottom line is that if you haven’t actively used it to provide excellent customer service, you shouldn’t be listing it as a skill.
Hard skills are the skills you use to perform the job, whereas soft skills are the personality traits you use to manage customers. Both are important, but when you’re working in customer service, you’ll often want to rely on soft skills. Understanding how a customer feels and maintaining customer relationships is one of the hallmarks of customer service, and it’s typically something you need great soft skills for. Soft skills are also helpful to manage angry customers. Include both types of skills on your resume, but lean harder on soft skills than hard skills for this industry.
Your cover letter is a great place to elaborate on your customer service skills. Try to provide examples of when your customer service skills helped you in some way. For example, you may say, “When I worked in a call center, my clear communication skills helped me rise above my co-workers, so much so that I eventually became the leader for my location’s teamwork meetings.” This showcases your essential customer service skills and also how your previous workplace benefited from those skills.
Remember, anyone can say they have customer service skills. You need to prove that you really have those skills. The best way to do this is to showcase what results you’ve achieved with your customer service skills. For example, saying, “Prioritizing customers with an angry tone of voice helped us cut down on negative outbursts in the store by 25%” is better than just saying, “I can prioritize customers based on how angry they seem to be.” Additionally, certifications and awards always impress hiring managers and can be a great way to prove your skills.