If you’re in support, you know your job is far from easy. Managing expectations, keeping calm, keeping your customers calm, solving issues, and following up in a reasonable time frame require some serious skills. Here at HubSpot, we’ve identified four skills or behaviors — competencies — that lead to high customer-support performance.

The four competencies are:

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Results-driven mindset
  • Team work

Communication

Communication has three essential parts: active listening, interpersonal savviness, and clear articulation. Active listening means you don’t just hear what the customer says — you listen to understand. Interpersonal savviness means you can relate well to all types of people, you easily build rapport, and can diffuse high-tension situations. Clear articulation means you can explain complex situations in an easy-to-digest way.

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Without proper communication, customers can leave an interaction with you feeling unheard and frustrated or, worst of all, your customer might leave without a clear resolution to their issue.

How to exemplify this competency:

If you take support calls, show you are actively listening by saying things like “uh huh” and other affirming sounds as your customer speaks. Don’t multitask. Your job is to solve your customer’s issues but also to make them feel heard and validated along the way. To ensure you and your customer are on the same page, summarize your customer’s pain points before you dive into the answers.

Customer Service

Next up we have customer service. It might not be a shock, but customer service requires intense customer-focus. This means solving for the customer at all costs: going above and beyond to get your customer what they need. Having customer-focus means there might be times you stay late or work overtime to solve a customer’s issue. Having a customer-focus means you think about your customer before yourself.

How to exemplify this competency:

Have a deep understanding of your product or service. There will be times that you don’t know all the answers and that’s okay! Use your resources — knowledge base articles, blogs, your colleagues — to solve for your customer in whatever way you can.

Results-driven Mindset

Customer support reps should be results-driven. This means you constantly push yourself to see results, even when that means you have to dive into the complex or uncomfortable areas of your product or service. 

How to exemplify this competency:

Pay close attention to the feedback you receive. Take an interest in the reports your manager pulls. Make sure you hit your SLAs, and if you don't, be proactive and talk to your manager about what you need in order to hit your targets. 

Team Work

Customer support is a team sport. You won’t have all the answers — you’ll need to look to your manager and colleagues for support. For this reason, support reps must be both willing to help and willing to learn. 

How to exemplify this competency:

When asking questions of your colleagues, make sure you've exhausted all other resources first. Doing this shows your diligence and respects other folks’ time. When helping other colleagues, practice patience. If needed, schedule time to go over a complicated problem with your colleague to ensure understanding is reached.

As you get more familiar with these competencies, identify a few colleagues who exemplify some of these competencies well. Watching and building upon their practices will help you excel as well. And, as you keep these competencies top of mind, make sure you document how you progress in certain areas — this documentation can fuel conversations around in-role growth and long term development. 

Have competency, support your customers, and watch your business flourish and you won't need luck to succeed.

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Originally published Mar 12, 2020 11:00:00 AM, updated March 12 2020