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10 Characteristics of customer service in 2024

Updated: May 09, 2024
10 Characteristics of customer service in 2024
10 Characteristics of customer service in 2024

Executive summary

Customer service characteristics are vital for a business’s success, ensuring sustained growth, client acquisition, and retention. A brand with the finest products may falter without these key attributes. Good customer service (CS) leads to a favorable customer experience. Think from a buyer’s perspective, who spends almost $100 every month on your products, but you fail to attend to his/her issues only because of your unskilled or poorly managed customer service team. Naturally, you lose the patron to your rival.

An effective business plan to boost customer satisfaction should not overlook or squander customer service. This department’s importance has grown beyond imagination, and according to a study by SalesForce, 84% of agents expressed that their companies consider them as brand ambassadors and customer advocates. In this blog, you will explore the definition of good customer service and its vital role and learn about the top ten customer service characteristics, including clear communication, personalization, empathy, timeliness, and a friendly approach. In 2024, if you want your business to thrive and expand, reading this piece will unlock the possibilities. 

Related must-reads:

What is good customer service?

A few benchmarks can differentiate between poor and good customer service. One of the characteristics of a good customer service must include friendliness. Customers should be able to voice their issues while interacting with your team without any hiccups. They should feel heard and assured their problems are treated seriously. An approachable customer support team helps create an outstanding client experience. 88% of customers value a company’s experience as much as its products.

Related read: Good customer service: Ways to deliver [+10 Examples]

Remember, that customer service goes beyond assistance. It includes all business-customer interactions, from answering questions to addressing concerns to providing direction. Ensure your customer service reps know about your products, facilities, company norms, etc., as it gives your customers confidence that they are speaking with experienced professionals who can solve their problems and answer all their inquiries.

The other hallmarks of first-rate customer service are swiftness, promptness and accessibility. Thus, businesses must include a dedicated phone line, email, or live chat as a few communication methods. Good customer service also entails the rep or agent spending time understanding each client and their unique requirements for a personalized approach. It might be as simple as remembering their name and birthday or as involved as providing individualized answers.

What are the important roles of customer service?

In today’s experience-driven marketplace, the role of customer service is more than simply a department—it’s a key collaborator. Its rising popularity has given an impetus to the global customer service software market and in 2023, North America dominated this realm, geographically. Forget the days of phone scripts and canned responses. Modern customer service wears many hats, each integral for building brand loyalty and boosting business growth. Let’s plunge into some of its pivotal roles:

Flagbearer of trust:

Customer service is the frontline of trust. From resolving a complaint to offering bespoke recommendations, each interaction is a chance to forge a connection and build lasting loyalty. If consumers are loyal to your brand, they will spend an additional 50% to 200% to remain a customer, says Forrester. Remember, trust is the currency of the modern consumer, and excellent service is the mint that makes it shine.

The troubleshooter:

Consider customer service a dexterous task force equipped to handle any challenge. From technical glitches to logistical snags, they’re the first responders. They work with agility and resourcefulness to find solutions, leaving customers feeling heard, seen and satisfied.

The brand advocate:

Customer service is now an assertive voice for your brand, gathering feedback, understanding customer needs, and translating them into actionable insights. They bridge your customers and product development, ensuring your offerings evolve to meet their changing expectations.

The experience creator:

Great customer service isn’t just about resolving issues; it’s about creating good experiences. Customer service takes interactions to the next level by going above and beyond to meet and exceed expectations, moving past simple transactions to truly satisfying experiences. Good impressions transcend and attract new customers.

The data investigator:

Every interaction is a data point; customer service is the keen observer, discovering insights hidden within complaints and feedback. It analyzes trends, identifies areas for revision, and informs product development and marketing strategies, ensuring your business stays ahead of the curve.

What are the top 10 characteristics of excellent customer service?

Out of several, there are a few top characteristics of excellent customer service in 2024, which businesses can embrace and witness a drastic change in their growth and success. Even if you have the best products and offerings to sell, if you lag in customer service, you can be easily dumped by your patrons who were once loyal to you. As a business owner, you need to decide which of the following are important characteristics of a competent customer service executive, and the list includes personalization, active listening, friendly attitude, empathy, clear communication, courtesy, etc.

1. Empathy & active listening

In customer service, empathy and active listening lead to a positive experience. Hiring individuals with innate empathy is vital. Empathetic agents comprehend customer frustrations, and their responses reflect a genuine understanding, fostering a deeper connection. Active listening, demonstrated through scenario-based questions, ensures candidates empathize and convey it effectively in their interactions. This foundational skill goes beyond solving issues. It’s about recognizing customers as individuals, valuing their feedback, and signaling an honest willingness to assist. By instilling empathy and active listening, businesses create an ecosystem where customers feel heard, understood, and supported, contributing significantly to overall satisfaction and brand loyalty. 

For example, a customer calls a service hotline to report an issue with a product. The agent, instead of listening actively, interrupts the customer mid-sentence to offer a quick fix based on the keywords that he heard and didn’t pay attention to the whole thing that the customer said. This doesn’t address the customer’s actual concern. This interaction leaves the customer feeling unheard, undervalued, and frustrated.

2. Problem-solving skills

Customer service excellence hinges on robust problem-solving abilities. Representatives must adeptly diagnose issues, distinguishing between customer needs and error identification. Whether swiftly resolving queries or tackling complex problems, the best professionals exhibit efficiency. Understanding the issue, brainstorming solutions, and implementing the best one characterizes effectual problem resolution. Candidates can either possess innate problem-solving prowess or acquire it through learning. The method matters less than the skill itself. When customer service professionals excel in problem-solving, they address customer issues promptly and contribute significantly to overall satisfaction, promoting constructive brand perception.

For example: By demonstrating a thorough understanding of the product, the agent not only efficiently resolves the customer’s issue without escalating to technical support but also empowers the customer with knowledge to prevent future problems. This approach enhances customer satisfaction by minimizing downtime and fostering confidence in both the product and the customer service.

3. Clear and concise communication

At the core of exceptional customer service lies the pivotal quality of clear and concise communication. Adept representatives understand that technical jargon or vague explanations can aggravate customer frustration, emphasizing the need for conversations to be concise and relatable. Proficient customer service agents possess in-depth knowledge of their company’s products and services, redirecting customers to specialized departments for complex technical inquiries. The significance of communication extends beyond verbal exchange, encompassing favorable and clear interactions to prevent the risk of losing loyal customers.

For example: A customer calls and complains about not receiving the products that she bought and was expected to receive within two days.

The customer service agent responds: 

Good way to communicate: “The overwhelming demand has caused a slight delay in your order. We anticipate the delivery to be made in 3 business days instead of 2. As a gesture of appreciation for your understanding, please accept a exclusive 20% discount coupon for your next purchase: <Get20OFFXLA> ”

This version is direct and to the point, explaining the delay and immediately offering compensation to mitigate the customer’s inconvenience.

Bad way to communicate: “Looking into your order, there’s a delay. It could be due to a few different reasons – might be something on our end or with the delivery. You’d probably get more details from our fulfillment team. You can call them at 1800-x12x12 or I can come back with an update within 24 hours.”

This response is vague and unhelpful, deflecting responsibility and failing to provide a clear solution or show empathy towards the customer’s situation.

4. Friendliness and positive attitude

Friendliness and a positive attitude are among the most crucial characteristics of quality customer service. Initiating interactions with a friendly and approachable demeanor breaks the ice. It makes the customers feel comfortable expressing their concerns. Treating customers as individuals rather than mere numbers enhances their experience, showing genuine concern for their issues. A “can-do” attitude ensures customers believe their problems can be resolved, facilitating collaboration towards solutions, regardless of the issue size.

5. Product and service knowledge

A firm grasp of product or service knowledge is indispensable in customer service. According to American Express research, 62% emphasize the importance of a representative’s knowledge or resourcefulness. Exceptional reps possess extensive knowledge about their company’s products, services and offerings. However, they should also discern when to involve specialized departments in complex technical queries. Customers appreciate swift issue resolution without being transferred between agents, showcasing professionalism and expertise. Proving your agents’ knowledge about your deliverables encourages customers to seek their assistance actively, fostering a solid customer-agent relationship. 

For example: In a B2B business setup, your customer calls to understand your company’s software and overcome the struggles to navigate its features that are relevant to their unique industry use cases. 

The customer agent’s response can reflect either:

Limited knowledge: “Our enterprise software has many features, so I’m unfamiliar with the specific analytics you’re referring to. Would you like me to connect you with our data analysis team?”

In-depth knowledge: “Our API connectivity enables easy transfer of data between your CRM and our marketing platform. This makes lead nurturing easier and boosts conversion rates. Want to explore business use cases?”

6. Timeliness and responsiveness

Timeliness and responsiveness are non-negotiable for businesses trying to decide at least what are the five characteristics of quality customer service. Your patrons must be able to communicate quickly and easily with your customer service representatives. Establishing communication channels, such as phone lines, email, or live chat, contributes to accessible and swift interactions. On average, 88.7% of customers are satisfied when waiting less than 30 seconds, finds a 2022 survey by LiveChat. Prioritizing timely responses is necessary for maintaining advantageous client relationships. Balancing immediacy, responsiveness, speed, precision and accuracy is vital for providing effective and prompt customer service. 

7. Professionalism and courtesy

Professionalism and courtesy on behalf of the businesses lead to positive interactions. Displaying politeness, helpful attitude, patience, and respect goes a long way. Addressing customer concerns attentively and committing to specified turnaround times, like maintenance requests, reinforces your commitment to excellence. Even in adverse situations, maintaining courtesy is crucial—customers shouldn’t leave feeling disrespected. Taking responsibility for mistakes, offering sincere apologies, and making amends exemplify professionalism. Consistently projecting a professional image, regardless of customers behavior, ensures that they feel valued. This extends to language choices and friendly demeanor, emphasizing that every customer deserves respect and quality service.

Productivity increases for Hyundai agents

By teaming up with Yellow.ai, Hyundai Motor India was able to modify its digital environment to handle an influx of client inquiries. With our helpdesk module Inbox, agents can now respond to chat queries in an average of 22 seconds while providing more customized answers.

8. Personalization and tailoring experience

Personalization and tailoring experience work like magic pills in delivering the best customer service. Acknowledging that each customer is unique and customizing experiences based on their attributes, behaviors, and preferences fosters individualized engagement. In recent years, for businesses, embracing automation through AI amplifies personalization and tailored efforts, analyzing data like purchase histories and interactions to customize products and communications effectively.

Did you know, according to a recent study by Zendesk, 70% of consumers expect anyone they interact with at the company to have the full context of their purchase history, previous interactions, and so on.

Striking a balance is crucial to avoid seeming overly intrusive. Combining responsible data use with a context-rich, omnichannel support approach ensures personalized service without compromising customer comfort. This strategy aligns with evolving consumer expectations, with over 90% willing to invest more in businesses offering customized experiences.

We have said this once, and we’ll say it again! Just adding a customer’s name in the conversation is NOT personalization.

9. Going the extra mile

In customer service, going the extra mile is the differentiator that enhances service quality. It’s a commitment to exceeding expectations and creating an exceptional customer experience. This philosophy involves proactive measures, confirming issue resolution and a happy encounter. Companies and representatives should prioritize customer satisfaction post-resolution, employing gestures like discounts or thoughtful follow-ups.

Beyond resolution, mitigation efforts can include free gifts, waived charges, or special deals, emphasizing the importance of making customers feel valued. According to a Microsoft study, State of Global Customer Service, around 96% of people count customer service as a significant factor worldwide when deciding which brands to be loyal to—making it imperative that businesses go beyond expectations, focusing on understanding and fulfilling customer needs.

10. Adaptability and willingness to learn

Adaptability and a willingness to learn are non-negotiable for a customer service team. This domain demands professionals to seamlessly transition between email support, chat, and phone channels. Adaptability extends beyond channel versatility; it encompasses meeting diverse customer needs, adeptly handling change, resolving intricate problems, fostering continuous learning, and efficiently managing high-volume periods and crises. 

Customers vary in their needs and moods. Thus, adaptability is intertwined with a constant learning mindset to succeed in customer service. The ability to adapt and learn in this evolving environment ensures customer service excellence and sustained success. 

Build a robust customer service team and delight your customers with Yellow.ai

As businesses worldwide take a digital-first approach, leading solution providers like Yellow.ai have been helping them build a strong customer service team. With it, several enterprises like yours can strike a balance between automating and retaining the human touch in their customer service and support systems. This has resulted in a heightened customer satisfaction. If you are in the process of attaining the same, here are a few notable products and features to consider.

Improve customer engagement by 60%

Businesses must improve user lifecycle journeys to grow. With the help of our generative AI-powered User Lifecycle Optimizer, automate user-specific lifecycle campaigns that aim to convert users at every touchpoint. Create a customer’s lifecycle with different stages and optimize conversions across these phases. This can boost customer engagement by 60%.

Automate nearly 80% of incoming emails from customers

Today’s customer service also requires attending to emails from customers. However, over 60 % of emails remain unattended globally. Not anymore! Powered by LLMs, Yellow.ai Email Automation understands complex mail. It deciphers long, unstructured emails and recognizes the user’s intent, urgency, and sentiment. It results in 80% self-served emails and an 85% decrease in ticket volumes. 

Connect with global customers by communicating in over 135 languages

One of the perks of automating customer service with Yellow.ai is being available 24/7 for your customers’ queries. Our virtual assistant can answer a variety of questions around the clock. But what sets us apart is the linguistic command. Businesses may use our AI voice assistants to serve their multilingual clientele better, who can converse in more than 135 languages worldwide.

Reduce support cost by 60%

Our dynamic automation platform (DAP)  has been a game changer for customer service. Businesses who has been using it have benefitted by cutting support costs by a staggering 60% through seamless automation across channels, right from text, voice and email.

Here is a video explaining how Yellow.ai is on the roll helping businesses to automate their customer service!

20+ real-time actionable insights boost customer satisfaction

Our platform’s AI-driven analytics and machine learning algorithms may analyze customer data and interaction history. It allows companies like yours to provide tailored assistance and suggestions. This expertise makes customers feel appreciated and understood, improving their experience and loyalty.

Increase deflation rate by 80%

As noted, customer service requires timeliness and responsiveness. With our assistance, you can improve response times and deflection (as high as 80%), boosting customer satisfaction. Our DAP achieves outstanding results with its powerful multi-LLM generative AI models, such as ChatGPT, GPT-3, and Jurassic-1, and the scalable DynamicNLP.

Embracing futuristic customer service

By collaborating with Yellow.ai, industry leaders from sectors like Indigo, Hyundai, Pelago and more are witnessing a dramatic transformation in the quality of customer experiences and ROI.

Key takeaways

Ensuring you deliver the best customer service is difficult without your support team having the right customer service characteristics. You may reduce the risks by testing applicants’ skills during hiring. Look for qualities such as empathy, adaptability, problem-solving ability, timely response, courtesy, professionalism, etc. It’s unrealistic to expect each applicant for a customer service role to possess every single characteristic. Hiring a competent workforce may improve your company’s operations, customer service, and retention rate. Meanwhile, ensure that you provide continuous customer service training to keep them on track.

But if you already have a customer service team in place and are observing setbacks and frictions while providing customer service, it is time to examine and address the problem areas. It is never too late even for the existing customer service to adopt and embrace the required characteristics. Training and periodic skill development can do what is needed. We hope this blog has helped you identify the areas of improvement and required customer service characteristics that you can focus on. If you want to win your customers’ loyalty, faith and confidence towards your business, read through some of our related resources.

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