Customer service skills are vital if you want to get hired for any customer-facing position.
That’s because customer service skills can help you resolve customer complaints, improve customer satisfaction, and even drive new sales.
Want to learn which customer service skills are a must-have on your resume in 2023? You’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about customer service skills, including:
- What Are Customer Service Skills
- 20 Essential Customer Service Skills For Your Resume
- 3 Steps to Add Customer Service Skills to Your Resume
- How to Improve Your Customer Service Skills
Let's dive in!
What Are Customer Service Skills?
Customer service refers to the relationship between a business and its customers. The better this relationship, the more successful a business can be.
Customer service skills are a set of soft skills that allow you to provide the best customer experience possible. They involve being able to:
- Communicate effectively
- Solve problems promptly
- Demonstrate patience
- Create genuine connections
But what is it, exactly, that makes customer service skills so valuable? Let us give you the data-backed answer.
Why Are Customer Service Skills Important
If you’re someone who’s looking for a job in customer-facing roles, you probably already know that having strong customer service skills can significantly improve your employability.
Finding employees who can resolve customers’ complaints and make them feel heard, understood, and appreciated is of the highest importance for potential employers.
Here are all the benefits that employees with strong customer service skills can bring to a company:
- Improved customer experience. The better customer service you can provide, the more satisfied will your customers be. And, according to this HubSpot study, 68% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences.
- Increased profits. Happy customers are more likely to spend money on a product or service. A study by Bain found that companies that excel at customer experience grow revenues 4%-8% above their market.
- Higher customer retention. According to Invesp, investing in new clients is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. Considering that 80% of consumers said they’d do business with a competitor after a bad customer service experience, customer service is essential in retaining customers.
- Established brand loyalty. According to the study by Zendesk, nearly three out of five consumers report that good customer service is vital for them to feel loyalty toward a brand.
- More referrals. Your customers are bound to talk about their customer experience - especially if it’s really good or really bad. According to Esteban Kolsky, Chief Evangelist for customer experience at SAP, after a positive customer experience, 72% of customers will share their opinion of your brand with at least six people.
20 Customer Service Skills to List on Your Resume
As we already mentioned, customer service doesn't consist of a single skill, but of a set of skills.
As such, the customer service skills you should list on your resume greatly depend on the specifics of the position you're applying for.
That said, there are some customer service skills that are in demand for the majority of customer-facing roles out there, such as communication and active listening.
Here is a list of the most in-demand customer service skills for your resume in 2023:
- Active listening
- Attention to detail
- Bilingual customer support
- Building customer royalty
- Complain resolution
- Organizational skills
- Decision making
- Interpersonal skills
- Persuasion skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Product knowledge
- Time management
- Service-based selling
- Computer skills
3 Steps to Add Customer Service Skills to Your Resume
Now that you know what the most important customer service skills are, it’s time to list them on your resume.
Below, we’ll teach you which resume sections are best for listing your customer service skills, as well as teach you how to do it in the most compelling way possible.
Let’s get started!
#1. Mention Your Customer Service Skills on Your Resume Summary
The first place where you can (and should) mention your customer service skills is the resume summary.
In a nutshell, the resume summary is a short, three or four-sentence paragraph that describes you as a candidate. Typically, it mentions:
- Your professional title and years of experience
- Your top skills
- Your most notable achievements
Done right, the resume summary will show the hiring manager you’re a qualified candidate from the get-go and get them to go through your resume in more detail.
As such, for roles where customer service skills are practically essential, it’s very important to higlight that you possess such skills in your resume summary.
Here’s an example of customer service skills listed in a resume summary:
- Attentative and communicative customer service representative with five years of retail experience responding to all manner of customer inquiries. Career highlights include receiving 99% positive customer survey results at XYZ Convenience. Seeking a role at ABC Tech, where my problem-solving and interpersonal skills can be leveraged to achieve and maintain the highest level of customer service.
#2. List the Right Customer Service Skills
The most obvious place to list your customer service skills is on your resume’s Skills section.
The key here, though, is to list skills that are relevant for the role you’re applying for.
We already mentioned how different roles may require different customer service skills. A customer support agent, for example, requires comunication skills and active listening.
Whereas a sales represenative, on the other hand, requires persuasion and upselling skills.
What we’re getting at here is that you shouldn’t just randomly list all the customer services skills we covered in this article - you should pick out the ones that are most relevant for your role.
Here are our top tips on how to list the most relevant customer service skills for your position:
- Check the job description. Most jobs tell you exactly which skills they’re looking for in candidates, all you’ve got to do is check the job description. As a customer service representative, for example, it’ll typically tell you that you need active listening skills, multi-tasking skills, communication skills, knowledge of CRM systems, etc.
- Identify the skills you possess. Single out the skills that you actually possess instead of adding every single skill mentioned in the job description.
- Add them under Soft/Hard Skills. Add skills like time management, communication, etc., under Soft Skills and technical know-how like computer skills or product knowledge under Hard Skills.
#3. Prove Your Customer Service Skills In Your Work Experience Section
Last but definitely not least, you should use your work experience section to prove to the hiring manager that you possess the customer service skills you mentioned in your resume summary and under your soft skills.
After all, anyone can claim they have customer service skills. It's backing up your claims with facts that can make all the difference.
Done right, your work experience will leave no doubt in the hiring manager’s mind that they should call you back for a job interview.
Here's exactly how you should build your work experience section so that it highlights your customer service skills:
- Tailor your work experience to the job description. Don’t use one generic resume to apply to dozens of openings. Each position has its own specific requirements and your resume sections should be tailored to show the hiring manager that you can meet them. If you’re applying for a cashier position, for example, the hiring manager will want to know about your experience as a restaurant server, but not about the time your mowed lawns as a teenager. The first experience highlights yoru customer service skills, while the second does not.
- Focus on your achievements instead of your responsibilities. The hiring manager most knows exactly what your responsibilities were in previous jobs. What they want to know is how you made a positive impact with your achievements. As such, focus on highlighting how you made an impact on your work experience section instead of simply listing what your basic responsibilities were.
- Make your achievements quantifiable. Speaking of achievements, supporting them with data-backed evidence is what really makes a difference. After all “helped company increase customer retention by 14% by providing customers with a personalized experience” sounds much better than “helped with customer retention.”
- Use action verbs and power words. There are hundreds of words and verbs you can use instead of “helped” or “served.” The more descriptive you are of your achievements, the more impressive you can make them sound.
Here’s an example of a work experience section that highlights the candidate’s customer service skills perfectly:
Customer Service Representative
YXZ Convenience Store
03/2018 - 04/2022
- Achieved the highest up-sell rates in both 2019 (2.6%) and 2021 (3%).
- Worked at the customer information desk for 10+ hour shifts.
- Welcomed and provided personalized customer service to 1000+ customers during the store opening event.
7 Ways to Provide Excellent Customer Service
Customer service skills don't come naturally to everyone.
Some people are much better at making customers feel heard and appreciated, while others may struggle to form that connection that makes all the difference when it comes to providing good customer service.
Well, if the first case applies to you, don't worry.
Below, we cover seven ways to provide excellent customer service (that can be practiced and learned):
#1. Stay positive
Developing a positive mindset and attitude is an essential part of improving your customer service skills.
Think about your own customer experiences. You’re probably not too happy when, say, you sit at a restaurant and the server taking your order looks miserable, right? Or when you call customer support to resolve an issue and they’re less than willing to help.
So, whether you’re communicating by phone, face-to-face, or via e-mail, try to stay as positive as possible (even in the face of difficult issues or customers).
#2. Don’t say no
Even if the answer to a customer complaint or issue is “no, it can't be done” or “no, I can’t help you with this,” you should always refrain from phrasing it this way.
When customers hear the word “no,” they’re more likely to associate it with “this customer service worker doesn’t want to help me” rather than with “this is beyond this employee’s control.”
So, whenever it’s possible, go out of your way to solve a customer’s issue or help them. And, if doing something to help them really is out of your control, use positive language to tell them, avoid the word “no,” and try to offer them alternative solutions/options that could satisfy them.
That way, they’ll see that you’re trying hard, despite the fact that you might be unable to solve their problem.
#3. Practice active listening
Active listening is the process of mindfully listening to a speaker, providing feedback, and being observant of non-verbal cues to ensure effective communication.
Considering that 40% of our daily communication consists of listening, making sure you’re listening effectively to what your customers have to say is an essential part of providing excellent customer service.
Some ways to do that include:
- Paying attention and not getting distracted. Try to stay away from your phone and avoid multitasking when you’re interacting with customers.
- Asking open-ended questions. Open-ended questions require more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer. You can ask such questions to get your customers to describe their needs or problems more comprehensively.
- Asking probing questions. Similar to open-ended questions, probing questions aim to get a 360-degree view of a topic. Not to mention, they don’t just help you understand better, but also help the speaker to think more comprehensively about what they’re saying.
- Being more attuned to the speaker’s feelings. Customers don’t appreciate feeling like they’re talking to a robot. Asking them about their day and being sympathetic towards their feelings (be they frustration, anger, or annoyance), is a great way to make them feel heard.
#4. Know your customers
The better you know your customers, the more you can understand their needs and expectations.
In turn, you can find more creative ways to meet said expectations and improve your customer service.
Here are some ways you can better understand customer needs:
- Ask yourself/the team questions such as “who are our main customers?” “what market are they from?” “how does our product/service meet their needs or expectations?” and “what could we do to further help them?”
- Step into your customers’ shoes by considering your own challenges and needs as a customer or what would make your life easier while using the company’s product or service.
- Encourage customers to give detailed feedback.
- Analyze customer feedback by identifying trends and gaps in your service. Share any results with your team or your colleagues.
#5. Know the product/service
The better you know the company’s product or services, the more qualitative the customer service you can provide.
As a salesperson, for example, you’ll be able to sell a product or service better. As a customer support representative, on the other hand, you’ll be able to solve customers' problems more effectively.
On the same note, knowing a company’s products or services can come in particularly handy when you’re interviewing for a job too. The hiring manager is bound to be impressed with your dedication and effort to learn all about the company before you’re even hired.
Some places where you can easily acquire knowledge of a company’s product or services are:
- Company’s website
- Company’s handbooks
- Online forums
- Customer feedback
- Your own experience with the product
#6. Be empathetic
We cannot stress enough how important it is to connect with your customers more than just on a professional level.
Actually connecting with the customer on a personal level and showing real empathy for their issues can really make a world of a difference when it comes to customer experience.
In the first case, if you can’t resolve a customer complaint or help with a specific issue, the customer will be much more likely to feel disappointed with you and the company in general.
In the second, however, they might cut you some slack and still think “well, at least they listened and genuinely tried to help.”
This can be the difference between losing customers and retaining them and it’s definitely an important part of providing amazing customer service.
#7. Personalize your customer service
Personalizing your customer service is what can make customers feel special, and who doesn’t like to feel special, right?
Here’s how you can provide personalized customer service that’s guaranteed to improve your customer service skills:
- Greet your customers by name and make them feel welcome.
- Contextualize your customer service depending on the customer’s lifestyle and personality.
- Don’t get distracted by anything else when you’re interacting with a customer. Make sure that the customer feels like they’re your center of attention.
- Go out of your way to find the best possible solution/option for the customer, and make sure that the customer knows how much effort you’re putting into helping them.
3 Customer Service Representative Resume Examples
Below, we’ll show you three examples of how you should list customer service skills for different roles.
We hope these resumes, created with our tried-and-tested resume templates, inspire you to go after the customer-facing role of your dreams:
#1. Customer Service Representative Resume Example
#2. Cashier Resume Example
#3. Sales Executive Resume Example
And that’s a wrap. By now, you should know everything there is to know about customer service skills and how to highlight them on your resume.
Before you start putting our tips into practice, let’s go over the main topics we covered in this article:
- Customer service skills are a set of soft skills that allow you to provide the best customer experience possible.
- Companies are always looking for candidates with strong customer service skills because they can provide the best possible customer experience and, in turn, help them increase their profits, retain customers, improve their brand loyalty, and get more referrals.
- Some in-demand customer service skills include active listening, interpersonal skills, communication, complaint resolution, empathy, and positivity.
- To best highlight your customer service skills, list them in your resume summary, work experience, and skills sections.