Skills of Successful Customer Facing Employees
Working in a customer-facing role can be very rewarding for employees who like helping others. To flourish in a customer-facing job it is important to learn and improve customer service skills. Here we discuss exactly what a customer-facing role is, and how to develop the necessary skills to thrive in this type of job.
The Meaning of Customer-Facing
Customer-facing refers to the direct interaction between an employee and a customer. Positive customer interaction is vital throughout the customer journey since it affects the brand image and company success. Setting a helpful tone with potential customers is just as important as your interaction with long-term clients who have been using your services for years. It will help you maintain a consistently high level of service and assist with customer retention.
Customer-facing roles involve interaction across a broad range of communication types, including:
- Face-to-face conversations
- Communicating via email
- Replying to social media posts
- Talking over the telephone
- Online chat platforms
- Video calls
Types of Customer-Facing Roles
Employees working in customer-facing roles must realize that they represent the face of the company. Businesses depend on excellent customer service and positive customer interaction to build brand loyalty and increase sales. Customer-facing roles vary greatly depending on the business sector.
Customer-facing roles in hospitality include:
- Waiters and hostesses
- Concierge staff
- Front-desk staff
- Tour guides
Customer-facing roles in retail include:
- Sales staff
- Team supervisors and managers
General customer-facing roles applicable to a broad range of industries include:
- Field service technicians
- Administrative staff who take calls and set up appointments
- Customer support agents
- Call center operators
- Customer success managers
- Account executives
- Social media customer care agents
- Business owners
Job responsibilities may vary greatly, however, customer satisfaction lies at the core of these roles. Ensuring that the customer has a positive experience with the company is always at the forefront of a customer-facing role.
Skills Required for Customer-Facing Roles
Being successful in a customer-facing role entails so much more than knowing about the service or product you are selling. It is important to understand and develop the appropriate skills if you want to be successful in your career.
The following 5 attributes are essential when working in a customers-facing role:
- Effective Communication
The most important trait to master in a customer-facing role is effective communication. This involves all areas of customer service: face-to-face discussions, phone conversations, written communication, and digital means of communication such as social media responses and live chats.
If you are working in-store as a floor sales assistant, you may not necessarily need to be an expert in digital communication. You will, however, need to be able to read body language and expression cues. On the other hand, as a call center agent, you will need to be particularly good at verbal communication, explaining complex matters in a simple way, and making instructions easy to follow.
You will also need to be attentive to your tone of voice as your clients cannot see your facial and body language cues.
Taking initiative involves taking timely action to solve problems. Not only should you be willing to diagnose and solve a problem, but you should act with urgency to assist the client. If you are a problem-solver at heart you will most likely thrive in a customer-facing role.
A sense of empathy will make your customer feel that you truly care and that you understand their situation. Showing empathy will often put anxious clients at ease and facilitate trust. It conveys that you are willing to help them solve the problem.
To be effective in a customer-facing role you will need to have some knowledge about the product or service you are offering. Clients will have questions about the service you sell. It reflects badly on a company when employees do not know about the products they are offering. The more knowledge you have, the more information you can offer customers with confidence.
Patience is imperative to keeping the focus on the problem at hand and to keep your customer calm. Customers may have many questions or need instructions explained to them several times. This will require patience on your part. Patience will involve remaining calm when a client is angry, frustrated, or rude. Keeping a positive attitude will be necessary to get the job done efficiently and maintain long-term client relationships.
Do you have a new job coming up? Listen to this audio tutorial to learn how to make a good impression on your first day!
How to Develop Your Customer-Facing Skills
You may not naturally have all of the traits required for a customer-facing job. As with most skills, you can work on developing the attributes required to excel in your customer service role. Here are 4 easy ways to improve the necessary attributes and skills:
- Product knowledge
Learn the necessary details about the product or service you are selling or providing. If you are a server, you will need to have a comprehensive understanding of the menu and composition of the dishes. If you are a hotel concierge, you will need to have thorough knowledge about activities, services, and travel in the area.
Similarly, IT technicians and call center agents need to have an excellent knowledge of client query procedures and anticipate the types of problems they will need to assist with.
- Personal experiences
Take note of your personal experiences when the roles are reversed and you are the customer. How did the person in the customer-facing role make you feel? What did you like about their service? How could they have improved their service? Now apply these lessons to your actions.
- Ask for feedback
Ask both your clients and manager for feedback on the service you provided. This is probably the best way to pinpoint which areas need attention and where you can improve.
Practicing patience and empathy is something you can do on and off the job. Be attentive to how you respond to people in general. Practice giving instructions and product information with co-workers who can provide you with feedback.
If written communication is not your strength, get a colleague to review some draft emails. Practice writing perfected templates that you can edit accordingly for future use.
Customer-facing roles involve jobs that require interaction with clients whether it be in person, telephonically, or on email. Regardless of the industry, important skills to master for success in a customer-facing job include:
- Effective communication
- Product knowledge
These skills can be developed through:
- Evaluating your own experiences
- Acquiring product knowledge, and
- Requesting feedback
Developing your skills in a customers-facing role can take your client’s experience from good to great. This will reflect well on the company and create customer loyalty. It will also reflect positively on your work ethic and potential to progress in the workplace.
CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.
To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:
Customer Service Tools: Finding the Best Customer Database Software for Your Team
10 Transferable Retail Skills to Add to Your Resume
How to Conduct a Reference Check After an Interview
7 Effective Strategies to Improve Medical Customer Service