Soft skills, specifically interpersonal skills, are indispensable to a good service desk. Having a technically skilled service desk team is important, but an understanding of how to communicate problems and solutions in a manner that is understandable and relevant to the customer will bring the most of out of those technical skills – agents with good interpersonal skills will generally spend less time on the phone, perform better toward their KPIs, have higher NPS/CSAT ratings, close more tickets and faster and develop a good rapport with your customer base.
It can be especially challenging to manage a team lacking these skills. By definition, soft-skills are ‘soft’; that is to say that they are more of an innate situational understanding rather than an out and out, trainable ‘hard’ skill. You can teach someone to use a certain piece of software with the right documentation, for example. Teaching active listening, empathy and why you should take the high road in customer-conflict scenarios is not so straight forward.
With that said, there are certain guidelines you can follow which will shift your perspective when taking calls. This will then hopefully encourage an improved understanding.
Last year, I assisted management in coaching our service desk team on these very skills. In this series of articles, I’ve taken an internal training document I’ve written, distilled the most relevant elements and expanded where appropriate.
You can access these articles from the following link: https://patrickh.com.au/category/lessons/
Or, go to my articles directly:
- Encourage an Empathetic and Problem Solving Attitude
- Communicate Clearly
- Communicate Efficiently (coming soon)