Abbe Meehan: How to Improve Your Customer Service Skills

Have you ever responded to a service call and the minute you got there, the person was already upset with you? You didn’t even have a chance to say hello or offer your assistance before the litany of complaints started—about how you, your department, or your company can’t seem to get it right.

Most technicians are thoroughly trained on the equipment they need to service, but quite often, the softer skills they need to develop to deal with difficult people or conflict in the field are overlooked. As a trainer specializing in customer service and communication skills, I am very excited to be part of AAMI’s new HTM Professional Career Track training at this year’s Annual Conference & Expo in Philadelphia. Here’s a glimpse of what we’ve put together to help you navigate through a day in the life of a service tech.

We’ll start with Improving Communication through Effective Listening and Assertiveness. We’ll get into the difference between passive, aggressive and assertive behavior. You’ll learn that in the workplace, it’s not really about being right; it’s about being effective.

Then we’ll move into Communicating Effectively with Your Customers Face to Face. In our world of electronic communication and instant gratification, today’s workforce has become more accustomed to speaking with their thumbs than their mouths. But as a technician, you need to know how to communicate face to face with the people who are relying on you for service.

Let’s face it. Not everyone is easy to communicate with face to face. There are definitely people we all try to avoid. You know the ones I’m talking about. In Dealing with Difficult People we talk about how to cope with the negative people like the whiners, the complainers, and the people you just can’t seem to please, no matter what!

And what about those people who are downright confrontational. As a service professional, you need to know how to keep your cool, even with angry customers. In Best Practices for Handling Confrontational Customers and Coworkers, we’ll cover ways to diffuse hostile situations, and learn some key phrases you should never say when dealing with a confrontational person.

In Writing Clearly and Concisely, we’ll address an area most of us need to pay more attention to. Whether you are filling out a work order or sending an e-mail, your writing creates an image of who you are in the reader’s head. Once it’s written, it’s a permanent record. When you’re careless and don’t take the time to make sure your writing is easily understood, your reputation is affected. Even if English is your second language, you can learn tips on how to make your writing more effective.

And last but not least, in Communicating Effectively with Your Customers over the Phone, you’ll learn important skills that can really help you communicate without the benefits of a face-to-face interaction.

Good communication skills can make the difference between being the person who gets promoted to the next level, and the person who gets passed over. I hope you can join me to find out how you can be more effective in the real-life scenarios that HTM professionals encounter every day.

Abbe Meehan is the president and executive coach of the TEC Resource Center, which provides team building, management training, staff development, and other business services to professionals and organizations.

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