30 Must-have Skills For Customer Service Representatives

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If you have ever shopped at a store or used any service provider, you probably have contacted a customer service representative. They are the staff you interact directly with while using services or purchasing goods.

Customer service representatives are any cooperate organization’s face, eyes, and ears. They interact directly with the customers and usually build the emotional aspect of the business.  

Customer service representatives are concerned with handling customer questions and complaints. They give out information about products and services and help customers understand what services may suit them. Customer care representatives play a role in sales because they help the intending customer decide on a product or service. Sometimes they are the difference between a YES and a NO. 

This post presents the top 30 must-have skills for every customer service representative wanting to excel.

Who Can Become A Customer Service Representative? 

Anyone can become a customer service representative if they are determined, open-minded, and willing to learn. However, aside from willingness, you need to have some communication skills.

You need to interact with people naturally and have some experience using computers. Here are a few requirements needed to become a customer service representative:

Educational requirements

Most employers insist that customer service representatives have a high school diploma at least. If you have already gotten a high school diploma or a GED, then you are ready to begin your career as a customer care representative. 


Businesses require customer care representatives to undergo short-term training on the job. This can last for about 2 or 3 weeks. In this training, they will teach you what to expect from the job and how to handle different situations with customers.

If you wish to work in finance and insurance, expect their training to take several months. This training takes months because they expect you to learn about complicated financial regulations. 

They usually teach trainees the basics of taking phone calls, using a telephone and computer and information about the company’s products and services. 

Also, trainees are usually required to work under supervision for a few weeks before they can work independently. 

READ ALSO: 20 Non-Customer Service Jobs That Do Not Require A Degree

Licenses, certifications and registrations

They may require customer service representatives in finance and insurance to have some state license.

These state license requirements vary from one state to another, but in most states, they will require you to pass some sort of exam. Usually, employers provide the training required for you to scale this hurdle. 

READ ALSO: How To Develop Communication Skills In 2023

What Are The Duties Of A Customer Service Representative?

The customer service representatives are the face, ears, and voice of the business. They respond to their customers’ complaints, solve their problems and answer questions they may have on the products and services.

Customer service representatives respond to customer correspondence by email, chats, voice, or video calls. 

They are expected to be empathetic and put their best foot forward to provide the optimum customer experience.

Many customer service representatives are focused on one medium of communication. Some respond strictly to voice calls; some respond to emails and others chats.

However, a customer service representative can alternate between mediums. For example, a service representative can go from taking calls to responding to emails during his downtime. This depends entirely on the setup unique to each company. 

The roles of a customer service representative are listed below;

  • They listen and respond to customer complaints and feedback. 
  • A customer service personnel provides information about products and services.
  • They can help customers place orders, rectify errors with orders, billing, and payments. 
  • They may handle refunds and returns.
  • They record customer contact details.
  • They respond to customer questions and can research to find answers and solutions to rare problems.  

When they cannot provide answers/solutions, they refer customers to supervisors, managers, and others who can help. 

READ ALSO: Customer Service Skills Resume, Full Guide + Samples

What Are Customer Service Skills?

Customer service skills are skills that help workers interact with customers. These skills give the customers the optimum experience of using the products and services of your company. It is important that every worker should have some of these skills, not just customer service representatives. 

These skills include emotional intelligence, empathy, and something as negligible as smiling. These are skills that will keep the customers coming back. 

Who Should Acquire Customer Service Skills?

Every worker needs to have some customer service skills. We should not restrict them solely to customer service representatives.

This is because anyone of your staff can come in contact with customers, and it is essential that each customer leaves feeling like you have heard them and that their feelings matter.  

Apart from maintaining customer relationships, everyone working on a product should always have the customer/user in mind because their experience with the product/services should be paramount. 

30 Must have skills as Customer Service Representative

Here’s a list of the top 30 skills every customer service representative must have;

1. Product knowledge 

Product knowledge is the first thing to gain as a customer service representative. When you have an excellent knowledge of your products, how they work, and their costs, you can answer almost all customer questions. A genuine passion and belief in your product will go a long way. 

2. Empathy 

Empathy, according to the Miriam Webster English dictionary, is the action of understanding, being aware of and sensitive to another person’s feelings without having these feelings or thoughts fully communicated explicitly. 

When customers feel understood and cared for, they are more likely to return for a similar experience. You must always try putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and making their lives easier. 

3. Communication skills 

When attending to a customer, it is important to know the right words to use to convey information calmly and politely. Communication is important in every human relationship and we cannot overlook it here. 

READ ALSO: How To Develop Communication Skills In 2023

4. Patience 

You must be patient with customers to provide the best customer service. Some customers may be difficult to handle and have problems understanding you.

This is where patience is most important. All customers are different, and you need the patience to handle each and meet their needs. 

It can also get very frustrating for you to listen to the same complaint repeatedly. It is important that you remind yourself that these are different people, and they all share a common problem. The patience offered to client number 1 should also be given to client 100. 

5. Problem-solving 

A good customer service representative must have sharp problem-solving skills. It is important that you listen attentively and genuinely try to help solve the customer’s problem and not read through workable solutions from the FAQs list. 

6. Positive language

Optimism never goes out of style. You should use positive language when communicating with customers, give them hope and make them feel like they have more to look forward to.

When a customer feels like his situation is bleak, he will try to find solutions elsewhere. You aim to earn their trust and keep them with your business.

7. Positive attitude 

Attitude is everything, both in work and life. A positive attitude towards your personal life will reflect on your work. A positive attitude is also essential to a human relationship. When handling customers, they must have felt your positivity. 

8. Listening skills 

Most people can hear but not everyone has excellent listening skills. To be a good listener, you must listen to what the customer says.

Do you want to understand their question or complaint, not wait your turn to speak? Good listening skills will reflect on the quality of your conversation.

SEE ALSO: What is the Difference Between Career Growth and Career Development? 

9. Willingness to go the extra mile

When customer satisfaction is your priority, you will go above and beyond for them. You wouldn’t merely stick to the set script or rapport. The customer would sense your willingness to assist him/her. 

10. Personal responsibility  

When you make a mistake as a customer service representative, it will go a long way if you admit your mistakes. Merely admitting mistakes is not enough. You should also rectify the situation. This is a significant example of personal responsibility. 

11. Confidence 

When a customer interacts with a service representative who is not confident, it isn’t easy to trust them. That you are not confident shows, and as a customer service representative, they can interpret it as a lack of confidence in the product or service.

It would be best if you improved your confidence by increasing your knowledge of the product/service. Undergoing pieces of training and knowing what to expect may help you grow your confidence. 

12. Selflessness 

In customer service, the customer is number 1. Their interests must come first. However, selflessness is the rarest skill to find because many humans are inherently selfish and this shows in their attitude toward customers who come to you for help.

13. Tenacity

Customers always call with problems or questions, which may not be easy to deal with. You must be resilient in keeping a positive outlook and responding all the time politely. 

14. Authenticity

Be your authentic self with the customers. Care genuinely, beyond earning a good paycheck. These things matter, and customers can often tell the difference between when you are being genuine and when you are not. 

15. Adaptability

Customers are different, and their complaints and concerns vary. Therefore, you must adapt to every conversation flow and each customer’s personality to provide optimal service. 

16. Attentiveness

We all love the feeling we get when someone pays attention to us. This is the same with customers. Even when you feel the call is unnecessary and a waste of your time, you must be patient and attentive.

17. Willingness to learn

Be willing to learn at all times. Products get updated and services may change. You must always be willing to learn more about the products and services to help the customer better. 

18. Professionalism 

Interacting with a customer must not be spent chatting about personal affairs. Some forms of conversation are still inappropriate, even though you are expected to be warm and polite to the customers. Professionalism helps you draw the line. 

19. Acting ability

This is basically the ability to act. Smile when you don’t want to, and laugh at a joke you do not find funny. You may need to do these things to make the customer feel more comfortable and build a rapport with them.

20. Quick response time

You should learn effective time management, especially if the business is not well-staffed. You should attempt to get to customers in the order their calls come in and minimize wait time as much as possible. The management must ensure that the customer service section is never understaffed. 

21. Time management skills 

I have mentioned time management earlier in quick response time. However, time management is also important while you are engaging a client. Be smart about the time spent researching the customer’s problem and the time it may take to refer them to someone who may be in a better position to solve their problem. Time is of the essence as other customers are being kept waiting.

READ ALSO: Time Management Skills: Overview and Examples 

22. Decision making

Decision-making is an everyday activity. It can make or mar us. As a customer service representative, you need to make quick decisions on what responses to give, and how to act or react in your customer’s interest. 

23. Smiling 

This is a skill you should not take for granted. A smile can brighten someone’s day. Even when you feel customers cannot see you, they can sense a smile through a voice call. 

24. Ability to overlook

Think of this as a forgiving spirit. You should learn not to hold a grudge against customers, no matter what they say. Customers may try to frustrate or upset you, but you should insist on being polite and helpful. 

25. Hospitality 

Hospitality is a need for clients. Whether at a hotel, store, or restaurant, people love to feel welcome and accommodated. Every customer service representative should have hospitality ingrained in their being. 

26. Emotional intelligence 

This is the best skill to master when dealing with people anywhere. It makes for smoother interactions and better human relationships. When a customer starts shouting at you and being unnecessarily rude, emotional intelligence teaches you to respond calmly and try not to get provoked. 

27. Social intelligence

This is the ability to get along with others and get them to cooperate with you. This is called “people skills”.

28. Intra-personal skills

As much as we try to be the best versions of ourselves with our customers, we should also maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves. Your psychological welfare is important and mental health is an asset. Extend the positivity to yourself. 

READ ALSO: What Are Interpersonal Skills? Overview, List, and Use on the Job

29. Sensitivity 

This is like attentiveness. Try to hear even what the customer is not saying by paying attention to their tone and subtle cues. 

30. Diplomacy 

This is the ability to share opposing views without causing resentment. It is not always what you say matters; it’s how you say it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 most important customer service skills?

The most important customer service skill is product knowledge, problem-solving, and empathy.

Do I need a degree to become a customer service representative?

No, you only need a high school diploma; companies can train you as a customer service representative.

How long does on-the-job training last? 

On-the-job training for customer service representatives can last from a few weeks to 3 months, depending on the company. Finance and insurance company pieces of training may take longer. 


Customer service representatives are the face and voice of the business, and their roles are very essential. If you enjoy working with people, then a job as a customer service representative may be suitable for you, especially as they have minimal requirements. 


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Ajah Excel is a team growth and performance expert with over nine years of experience in blogging and personal development.
He leads a team of 36 crazy, restless innovators with an enviable work culture at Silicon Africa Technologies Limited – a fast-rising tech firm from the SouthEast.
Excel is the founder of and WriterGig.
He is also the co-organizer of TEDx Ikenegbu and convener of Social Media Fest.
He is a vibrant learner who yearns to share his knowledge to educate and inspire young Africans.
He has a B.Tech in Information Management Technology with certifications in growth hacking, effective communication, leadership, team, and personal development, to mention a few.
Ajah Anayochukwu Excel is a passionate public speaker, creative writer, and brand storyteller.

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