Entry-level jobs in the customer service industry are relatively easy to get. However, earning promotions and building a career in this line of work requires a well-developed set of customer service skills.
To help you land more interviews and establish (or further establish) a successful career, we’ve put together a list of the most essential skills for customer service.
When you’re assisting customers – whether in person, online, or over the phone – you need to be able to convey information clearly and concisely. Not only that, but being able to communicate in a polite, sympathetic way helps put people at ease and ensures that even the most difficult customers leave satisfied.
That’s why strong communication skills are essential for nearly any job in customer service and should be one of the first skills highlighted on your resume.
How to highlight communication skills on your resume
Here’s an example from a call center representative’s resume showing how to highlight excellent communication skills on your resume:
Handle 50+ customer interactions per day, giving detailed, personalized, friendly & polite service to ensure customer retention
Notice how the inclusion of “50+ customer interactions” quantifies the applicant’s experience, which clearly shows employers just how heavily communication features in the applicant’s daily duties.
2. Computer Skills
Working in the customer service industry often requires the use of specific software or equipment to help assist customers or keep track of information.
Outside of the usual Microsoft Office Suite, any aspiring customer service expert should be familiar with the specific computer skills to their job. For example, if you work in customer support, you’ll likely need to be familiar with Blazedesk or LiveChat.
That’s why having a foundation of technical skills is helpful for any aspiring customer service expert.
How to highlight technical skills on your resume
Check out this bullet point from a customer service resume that landed its author a job:
Trained two new employees in how to use Kayako, entering customer data and organizing customer interaction logs
Notice that this applicant names Kayako, a customer service software, and goes on to describe what they used it for. Not only that, but they go a step further and mention that they trained other employees to use it, suggesting a mastery of the software.
3. Stress Management
Between dealing with angry customers and fulfilling requests, working in customer service can get stressful. Being able to keep your cool and maintain excellent service despite high-pressure situations is a great customer service skill to have, and is key to success in most workplaces.
That’s why employers are always looking for candidates who know how to manage stress effectively and tackle difficult situations.
How to highlight stress management skills on your resume
Here’s an example of how to demonstrate stress management skills on your resume:
Kept my team composed and efficient during tourist season, maintaining a 100% customer satisfaction rate according to post-tour surveys
This example shows that the candidate not only kept themselves composed during a busy time, but also kept their team functional, a sign of excellent stress management skills.
4. Interpersonal Skills
Regardless of what type of customer service role you’re in, interacting with people is a key part of the job. If you have stellar interpersonal skills, you’ll be better able to win people over and build valuable relationships with repeat customers.
How to highlight interpersonal skills on your resume
Here’s an example demonstrating how to showcase interpersonal skills on a resume:
Received an average 85% customer satisfaction rating to date, 15% higher than the company average
Customer satisfaction ratings are a straightforward way to communicate your interpersonal skills to employers. Customers are unlikely to give you a high satisfaction rating if they weren’t treated well, even if their questions were ultimately answered, so it’s an effective detail to include on your resume.
5. Problem Solving
When a customer comes to you to resolve an issue, you need to have the problem solving skills necessary to deal with that issue, no matter what it is.
If the customer is angry and has a problem with your company, you’ll also need to know how to de-escalate the situation and resolve the issue efficiently.
Problem solving is an excellent customer service skill to have in such scenarios.
How to highlight problem solving skills on your resume
Here’s an example showing how to put problem solving skills on your resume:
Research complicated cases without prompting to provide more comprehensive service to customers
This applicant demonstrates their problem solving skills by showing that they have experience proactively seeking out information to solve a problem and provide better customer service. Since the research was done without prompting, this example also shows initiative and reinforces how this applicant is a capable employee.
The ability to stay calm and collected while dealing with frustrating situations is an important quality for any customer service expert to have.
Whether a customer is having a bad day and takes it out on you or just has a bunch of tedious questions, you need to have the patience to help people without losing your cool.
How to highlight patience on your resume
Here’s an example demonstrating how to show employers that you have endless patience:
Remain courteous and calm at all times, even during moments of intense customer displeasure
Being able to stay cordial, even in the face of “intense customer displeasure” shows that this applicant is very patient, and able to keep their composure during frustrating situations. This ability to stay collected at all times is an important weapon in the arsenal of any customer service agent.
7. Service / Product Knowledge
People often depend on customer service representatives for detailed information about products or services. This dependence makes product knowledge an essential part of any customer service job.
Demonstrating a strong understanding of your company’s products and how to use them is the best way to instill confidence in customers, and make them believe that your advice and solutions are reliable.
How to highlight knowledge of products or service on your resume
Here’s how you can highlight your ability to memorize product knowledge in a resume work experience bullet point:
Memorized entire line of company products & services, including prices and special discounts
In this bullet point, the applicant clearly shows the employer that they were able to familiarize themselves with the entire catalog of the company’s products and services. This is a simple way to demonstrate that you’re capable of quickly developing strong product knowledge.
8. Time Management
Working in customer service, it’s unlikely that you’ll always be helping just one customer at a time. You often have multiple tasks to juggle at once, all while having to deal with several impatient customers with their own distinct needs. In situations like these, excellent time management skills come in handy.
You need to know how to balance multiple tasks at once and solve them all in a timely manner.
How to highlight time management skills on your resume
Here’s an example of how to showcase your great time management skills on your resume:
Handle 90+ calls daily, with duties including signing up new customers, retrieving customer data, presenting relevant product information, and canceling services
Having the bandwidth to “handle 90+ calls daily” requires exceptional time management skills. Employers know that without the ability to productively use their time, this applicant wouldn’t have been as efficient or achieved as much, which is why this is an effective demonstration of effective time management.
In this video, career expert Eva explains how to write a great resume skills section that showcases your time management skills:
Empathy is the ability for someone to understand the feelings of another person as if they had experienced those feelings themselves. This skill is incredibly useful if you’re in the customer service field, because it allows you to better relate to the problems customers are having and help more effectively address their complaints.
Not only that, but empathy ties in with other soft skills that are important in customer service. For instance, being empathetic often gives you greater patience when dealing with difficult customers.
How to highlight empathy on your resume
Here’s how to highlight empathy on your resume:
Handle 50+ customer interactions per day, giving detailed, personalized, friendly & polite service to ensure customer retention
The use of the word “personalized” in this professional experience bullet point indicates that this applicant has the capacity to take in each customer’s circumstances and provide specific advice for them. This is an exercise in empathy that makes the applicant a valued customer service professional.
As anyone who’s worked in customer service can tell you, things don’t always go as expected on the job. Customers often have unexpected requests, and new problems pop up all the time.
Being able to adapt to these unexpected problems and develop new solutions on the spot is a good quality for anyone in customer service.
How to highlight adaptability skills on your resume
Here’s a sample that shows how to highlight adaptability on your resume:
Learned how to use Kayako and Zendesk customer service software, as well as Parcel Audit to track shipments and report on movement
In this professional experience bullet point, notice how the applicant had to learn how to use multiple customer service tools over the course of their job. Developing these skills on the job shows that they’re adaptable and unafraid to pick up new expertise when necessary, both highly valued traits in customer service agents.
11. Proficiency in Other Languages
By nature, customer service sometimes involves interacting with people from all over the world. Being able to communicate comfortably with people in their native language is a great way to win customers over and improve your business’ reputation.
That’s why being able to speak more than one language is a key skill in customer service, especially if you work for a business that gets a lot of international customers, such as high-end fashion.
How to highlight language skills on your resume
Conversational in Spanish (able to meet all customer service requirements with Spanish speakers)
Just be sure to specify the level of fluency you have in each language as best you can to give employers an accurate idea of your capabilities.
No matter what type of customer service job you have, you’re always one part of a larger team. Knowing how to work effectively with your coworkers to achieve goals together (or just get through the day) is an essential customer service skill.
Employers always want to know that you’ll be pleasant to work with and will step up to help the rest of the team when necessary.
How to highlight teamwork skills on your resume
Here’s an example showing how to highlight teamwork skills on your resume:
Worked with a team of six other employees to develop a more efficient method for handling incoming customer queries
This candidate starts their bullet point by not only stating that they worked with a team, but also going into detail about what they managed to accomplish with that team. This quickly demonstrates to employers that the candidate has strong teamwork skills.
Ultimately, the goal of most customer service jobs is to drive sales. Knowing how to describe products or services in an appealing way and get customers to make purchases is a basic customer service skill.
What makes a great customer service employee, however, is their ability to upsell, or get customers to buy something extra or more expensive. Employers are always looking for candidates who can convince customers to make an additional sale and generate more money.
How to highlight upselling skills on your resume
Here’s how to highlight upselling prowess on a resume:
Regularly upsold customers on branded electronic peripherals, generating an extra $1,000 per month on average
This example explains exactly what the candidate upsold, and goes on to quantify the estimated impact their upselling skills had on sales (in dollars). Providing hard numbers to quantify the impact you had is one of the best ways to show employers how good you are at closing sales.
Additional Skills for Customer Service
Are those 13 customer service skills not quite enough? Here are some additional skills for your resume that are helpful for anyone working in the customer service industry:
- Strong memory
- Conflict resolution
- Competitive attitude
- Public speaking