Are You Providing Excellent Customer Service?

By Robert Half September 21, 2016 at 2:13pm

Do you have excellent customer service skills? Read what it really takes to impress those you encounter each day and then take a quiz to learn your customer service style.

No matter what administrative job you hold, you’re in a key customer service role. You’re on the front lines interacting with clients, vendors, employees and others, and your actions can shape how they view your department or company.

An OfficeTeam survey shows just how important customer service can be, as 59 percent of respondents said it takes just one or two bad customer service experiences to decide not to work with a company in the future. Yet, if you provide excellent customer service, you can even help your firm bring in new business. 

Companies are also looking for excellent customer service professionals. According to the OfficeTeam Salary Guide, customer service professionals are in high demand and can expect starting salaries to increase an average of 3.9 percent in 2017.

However, as anyone who works in the administrative or customer service profession knows, you often run into difficult people and challenging situations. That’s when your customer service skills are put to the test. Do you possess the following qualities for excellent customer service? Read on, and take the quiz below to find out your customer service style.


How can you show a customer that you care about solving his or her problem or concern with your company? An understanding and patient attitude can be a key difference between a good and bad customer experience. 

I once experienced vastly different degrees of empathy contacting the same company over a billing problem. The first person I spoke to was apologetic that her employer had double billed me for two months and spent 45 minutes on the phone trying to resolve the problem. I was wowed by her caring attitude and attentiveness. The next day, I had a follow-up question and spoke with another employee, who denied I had talked to anyone at the company the previous day. When realizing her mistake, she told me I needed to be more patient for everything to be fixed.

Empathy? Not so much. I was ready to cancel our contract with the company but decided to give them a second chance based solely on the excellent customer service the first employee provided. Be that difference-maker through empathy.

An open mind

Even if you feel criticism is unwarranted, avoid getting defensive and listen. Welcome feedback from others about ways you and your company can improve.

In an OfficeTeam survey of office workers, many of those polled said they experienced excellent customer service were when they felt companies cared about what they had to say.

One worker we spoke to shared this example: "I had a poor experience at a coffee house where I was made to wait an excessively long time for a simple decaf coffee. I finally spoke up and asked about it — it had not even been started. I was extremely disappointed and I went home and emailed the company, indicating what had happened and that it was unacceptable. I made no requests. However, I got a response within 24 hours from customer service indicating that they had credited my gift card for $10, and the situation would be addressed at the store itself. I have been back to that location and now they go out of their way to make sure my drink is not lost in the shuffle."

A can-do attitude

Are you a problem-solver? Those known for excellent customer service skills go the extra mile.

"I ordered some office supplies at home through a big company," said another worker. "After two weeks I still hadn't received them. I contacted the company, and they oversold the product online and just put the rest of us on hold. When I asked why, they put a $10 credit on my account and told me that they would order the products through another company and have them sent to my house at no extra charge."


You're quick to take corrective action, showing the customer that you — and your company — care about the problem and the customers' experience. Speedy turnaround when a complaint arises is an excellent customer service skill and will likely impress the customer, like the following example. One worker describing an impressive customer service experience said, "A shipment was delayed, and a company sent me a replacement via next-day air — and didn't ask me to send back the original if it ever arrived."

What excellent customer service skills do you have? Take the short quiz below to find out.


Take the Quiz


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This post was originally published in February 2014 and has been updated to reflect more current information.

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