As administrative assistants we come into contact with people every day – on the phone, in person, and even online. There are a few customer service skills that are essential for administrative assistants to have in order to do their job well.
- Active Listening – admin assistants must be able to listen. And they must be able to do it actively to ensure that they are actually hearing what the customers are saying. Ask questions if you need to. Re-phrase what they have said to make sure that you understand it. Take notes if it is very important. Make sure to take note of dates, phone numbers, and correct spelling of names.
- Smiles – one of the things that makes all the difference in the world to customers is knowing that the person they are dealing with is smiling. Even if you are on the phone they manage to “hear” your smile so do not think that because they can’t see you that they don’t know whether you are smiling or not. A smile makes you (and in return, your company) infinitely more approachable and suggests that you (and your company) are trustworthy.
- Know your audience – you may have several types of audiences that your company deals with so get to know them. What do they do? What is their business? What do they want from you? What kind of background do they come from? Are they university educated or are they more likely to only have a high school education? Do they want idle chit chat before they get down to business or are they rushed and want you to get right to the point? Knowing your audience will allow you to give them the kind of service that they want and need.
- Dealing with difficult customers – I’ve talked about dealing with challenging customers before so if you haven’t read that post go and read it now. Challenging customers are bound to show up and you need to be prepared to be able to deal with them effectively.
- Confidentiality – clients want to believe that they can tell you things about their business that is relevant to the business that you will do with them and they want to believe that it will not become public knowledge. Don’t talk about clients and customers with your friends. Make sure that any information they give you stays only with the people that need to have that information.
- Common courtesies – please and thank you are common courtesies that people often forget. Use manners often and people will remember you for it.
- Empathy – truly try to understand the customer’s position. When you show empathy you will be more likely to understand the situation and find a solution that is acceptable to your customer.
- Follow up – always follow up on situations. If a customer has a problem and you’ve suggested and implemented a solution, make sure that you follow up either with a phone call or an email to make sure that the solution solved the problem and that the customer is happy with it.