When working with our clients in the golf industry, we’ve been assessing team members soft skills as it relates to how they interact with the customers they serve. Apparently, we’re not alone. In recent years we have seen a momentum shift in the importance of soft skills in the workplace. Traits such as teamwork, skills, and the ability to communicate with others are more important in today’s workforce than ever. According to ontrackwc.org “92% of talent professionals and hiring managers say that soft skills are just as important if not more important than hard skills”. This is not lost on some of today’s largest employers like Google and Apple who now devote a lot of their hiring process to assessing the ability of candidates soft skills.
Personalized Customer Service
Much of today’s discussion is focused on the value of soft skills as it relates to internal teams and problem solving. However, for us, it’s just as important that our client’s team members extend their soft skills when working with their customers. We love when our client’s team members speak directly with their clients whenever possible. Creating a personalized customer service strategy is one of the many reasons our customers love working with us.
The step is helping our clients adapt our communication preferences to best fit the needs of their customers. Not a fan of email? No problem, we’re happy to pick up the phone and have a conversation. We enjoy adapting our level of service so our customers feel comfortable and get the level of attention they rightly deserve.
Voice and Tone Matters
Another way your soft skilled team can maintain rock star customer service is to adapt how they communicate with the audiences serve. For example, the word empathy has been used quite a bit to explain how teams can be sympathetic to their audiences. However, empathy can be lost if not properly contextualized and put into action.
For example, if you are communicating with a contact and they have not gotten back in touch with you in a reasonable time, it’s easy to convey frustration or pepper them with multiple emails. However, it takes a certain defined skill type to be able to separate what you are hearing (or in this case not hearing) and adapt your perceived approach with what may work best for your contact. Take a look at when they typically get in touch with you. Is it in the mornings via email? Prior communication styles, channels, and cadence are often a good bellwether for continued communications moving forward.
Additionally, if you are seeking information, it’s natural to be short and transactional in your communication. Whenever possible, soften the ask by respecting how busy they are. For example, what email would you be more apt to respond to:
I’ve yet to get a response from you regarding the files I sent on Monday. Do you have an update?
Morning Lydia, I’m sure you’re slammed. When you get a chance, can you please provide me your thoughts on the files I sent over.
Again, one or two more extra words, but the ask is just as direct and you have adapted your voice and tone to respect how busy they are without losing focus that you inherently need something from them.
A great way to extend personalized customer service with soft skills is by displaying empathy throughout all your touchpoints. For example, if your email drip campaign is thoughtful, adaptive, and uses plain language, but your software product’s error messages are cold and robotic, that could be a missed opportunity to extend the level of humanness and empathy throughout your audience’s journey.
We value our clients’ team members and often think of them as soft skill experts. They extend personalized customer service throughout every touchpoint. We feel this approach is not only the right way to interact with customers, but the right the best way to extend empathy and caring throughout their business as well.