Many tech roles involve interacting with clients or customers in some capacity, you might not be a sales rep but you might be a developer building a product for them. Throughout your career you will undoubtedly have interactions with clients and so it is imperative that you have at minimum a basic understanding of customer service.
Did you know that having experience working in a fast-food restaurant could help you land a job in a tech company?
It is important to know how to translate your customer service experiences for the jobs you apply to later as a tech. Often many of us have our first jobs working in a customer service role, and this experience can truly give you an edge when it comes to landing your first technical role.
Employers’ Opinion of Customer Service Skills
An increasing number of tech recruiters put a premium on professionals who know how to interface with customers and have experience doing so—they tell us is highly valued.
That you have the technical knowledge is oftentimes a given in today’s job market. It is the other pieces of the puzzle that you bring to a job, a role, or a company that will differentiate you from the other contenders.
Connection to Future Jobs
Our digitized world of interconnectivity has led to a growing – and critical – importance of understanding customers, anticipating their problems, and responding to their needs.
And it is not restricted to specific customer service roles per se.
The ability to interact with clients at any level of a business or organization, from tech support, to sales, or R&D, directly impacts companies’ competitive advantage, customer loyalty, and reputation.
And as new players continue to pour into the market continuously (in tandem with new technologies that continue to disrupt it) it is no wonder that employers are on the lookout for tech professionals with emotional intelligence to deliver smooth customer experiences.
Four Key Customer Services Skills to Hone
You might be wondering, the types of attributes and competencies recruiters, employers, managers, and directors look for in candidates related to customer service, see below for four key skills.
And better yet, what can you do to acquire them?
React with a Calm Attitude
Remember that recorded message? Remember how it makes you feel to be left on the end of a phone waiting for someone to answer? Like it or not, it is a function of our increasingly connected world that most of us take our tech for granted. So when something goes wrong, we get angry. Often as not, when interfacing with customers/clients, you will encounter irate people. Or confused people. Or people with any number of questions. Dealing with people requires empathy and patience. And above all, professionalism. Keeping this front of mind and making a commitment to offer the same level of service, no matter what.
Take a deep breath and ask yourself the question: how can you transform a difficult stranger into a satisfied customer?
Sometimes taking ten deep breathes can help you refocus your mind and approach a situation with a calm mind.
Remember, you are the expert. You are in control. So it is over to you to ensure that your customer understands exactly what you are trying to tell them. What is obvious to you, might not be to them. Make sure they have understood and are satisfied.
Also, remember that communication is a two-way process. You have to listen to what the customers' needs are before you can do any tasks. Often times when you are interfacing with a client, it is in an effort to solve a problem or create a solution for something they are in need of. You cannot do your job effectively if you do not know what really, truly is the problem. And one way to guarantee you know—is to listen to the customer.
Manage your Time
There is nothing more satisfying than a customer rep or network administrator who accompanies a client through the entirety of their journey. So make that time. But be mindful that there might be others waiting for your help. It is easier said than done. But keeping a sharp focus on your objectives will help.
Another part of managing your time, is making sure you deliver your solutions when you promised. Respecting your client’s time is vital to ensuring they leave feeling there needs are being met.
Know Your Limitations
No matter how well informed you are and how much experience you have in trouble-shooting, there will always be a time where you do not have the answer. Do not be afraid to say you do not have the answer if that is truth. But do be prepared to do your part in finding or developing a solution.
As a tech professional it is ever important to make time to train yourself in the non-technical skills because you will be relying on them in the workplace. And quite possibly relying on them to get you past the first interview and impress your future boss.