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Career Development Tips

Customer Service Skills: Definition and Examples

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated December 6, 2021

Guide Overview

What are customer service skills?Examples of customer service skillsHow to improve customer service job skillsCustomer service skills in the workplaceHow to highlight your customer service skills when job seeking 

Guide Overview

Quality customer care

Customers seek high-quality service and satisfaction for their time and money. Customer care uses communication skills and other soft skills by providing an enjoyable opportunity for the customer to interact with the brand and encouraging their return. Excellent customer service helps businesses thrive, and your abilities and skills to provide a quality customer experience can differentiate you from other candidates. Know what customer service skills are, see examples, and learn ways to highlight them when applying for a job and during an interview to show your qualifications for the job you want. 

What are customer service skills?

Customer service skills are the characteristics, abilities, and methods used to help customers resolve issues and ensure a positive experience. Skilled customer service specialists depend on their interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities to ensure customer satisfaction and assist customers in finding products and services that meet their needs. Providing quality consumer care requires a set of select skills including patience, critical thinking, product and brand awareness, flexibility, and the ability to approach obstacles with optimism and creativity.

Learn more: How to Develop Interpersonal Skills and Problem-Solving Skills: What They Are and How to Improve Yours

Examples of customer service skills

Great customer service skills benefit even those not in the industry. The soft skills used for quality client care are typically also transferable skills used to help us succeed in both our personal and professional lives. Important customer service skills are:

Time management

Both a customer service and a life skill, the ability to manage time efficiently affects productivity at work and can mean the difference between a satisfied customer excited for their next visit or unsatisfied client waiting to speak to management. Time is a limited resource for everyone, and customer service representatives must often cover the sales floor, attend the register, and assist several customers at once. Multi-tasking effectively will facilitate in customer satisfaction.


A resourceful employee knows how to prioritize tasks and can tackle many at one time. Customer service specialists must often decide whether to greet customers or manage the register. During slow hours, might need to organize a store and shelve products. Prioritizing tasks and completing each one at the time impresses management and established you are a valuable employee.


Innovative thinking can help you provide the best customer experience. Customer service representatives are often the face of a brand or company and must use their service skills to provide clients with the best options to meet their needs. Helping to fulfill a need requires the combination of close listening, critical thinking, product background knowledge, and originality to offer the best choices.

Positive thinking

Customer service requires an optimistic attitude for effectiveness. Using positive language and a cheerful tone provides a pleasant exchange for customers and increases your chances of success when searching for a solution to a customer issue. Positivity conveys confidence and establishes customer trust in you. Developing a good connection with clients increases your ability to cross-sell a product or service and fill an additional need or to up-sell for a premium version and make a larger sale.


Conviction and obligation toward providing excellent service for customers show leadership and can position you for upward mobility within the company in the future.


Dependability at work is a trait that employers seek. Employees who can be trusted for delivering quality work, paying attention to the details of a task, and are steadfast in their dedication to a company or organization develop credibility.

Emotional intelligence

Working with people requires self-control. When you manage your emotions and are socially aware, you can positively affect the attitudes of those around you.

Learn more: How to Level-Up Your Emotional Intelligence


Validating a client’s feels and acknowledging their perceptive shows respect. Respect builds the foundation for effective communication and makes it easier to handle obstacles. Providing extra information on a topic and expressing appreciation for their business and time are ways to show respect.


Expressing empathy by listening to a customer and validation their feeling can help you understand their priorities and resolve issues when they arise.


Adaptability is an essential customer service skill that helps you react to the client’s needs and change their available options, enhancing their overall experience. Flexibility and a growth mindset allow you to adjust to changing circumstances fulfill the requirements of your position better.

Learn more: How to Develop a Growth Mindset


Great customer service skills require patience in communication when helping others meet their needs and endurance when handling multiple clients at once. Persistent effort to provide quality help and restraint in expressing any frustrations or fatigue you may experience throughout your day or shift are tough skills to master, but are skills that employers and customers appreciate.


Arriving to work on time and prepared for the day is professional and proves you are a dependable employee.


Your ability to inspire others to work cooperatively and your own self-motivation affect a team effort to meet sales goals. Motivation is a customer service skill that requires you to understand customers through empathy and know what to say or do to persuade them in making a quality purchase.

Learn more: Negotiation Skills in the Workplace


A strong work ethic is a service skill that supports your efforts in focusing on completing individual tasks logically, solving problems in difficult circumstances, and shows a strong dedication to work. Employers seek candidates who are diligent because of their determination and commitment to quality work. Diligent employees often excel at customer service and are excellent company representatives.

Learn more: Top Personal Skills to Develop for Work 

Active listening

Active listening skills show customers you are listening by the non-verbal cues you use when interacting. Making consistent eye contact even in a crowded area, smiling and nodding when appropriate, mirroring, asking clarifying questions, and responding with thoughtful answers show you are engaged in the conversation and value the customer’s needs.

Verbal communication skills

Effective communication with customers regarding their available options in a friendly tone is an ability employers value. Especially when dealing with a dissatisfied customer, this skill can help resolve issues.


Persuasive skills are important when working on a team to meet sales goals or cross-selling a product to a customer.


Exceptional customer service abilities mean putting the needs of the client first to ensure a quality brand interaction and increase customer loyalty.


Working in customer service means having to deal with several distinct personalities daily. Because personalities and traits can conflict, the ability to maintain your composure when faced with conflict is professional.

Stress management

Most jobs require stress management skills to help navigate the daily struggles and responsibilities successfully. Proper stress management is essential to mental well-being and is a small step to ensure a productive day. Eating a well-balanced diet, taking a few seconds during a break to practice breathing exercising, or meditating in the morning can prepare you for the day and focus your efforts at work. Learn more about managing frustration at work.

top 10 customer service skills and how to develop them
Source: Hiver

How to improve customer service job skills

With focus and determination, you can work to enhance the skills you need to be effective at customer service. Problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and optimistic thinking are traits that, when consistently practiced, can help you be an efficient attendant and a great coworker. Consider the following suggestions to improve your customer service job skills.

  • Ask for feedback from colleagues and listen closely, as they can provide insight you may have missed in a self-evaluation.
  • Ask for evaluations from management consistently for open communications.
  • Listen to advice given and act upon criticism by making efforts to adjust your behavior for better customer service.
  • Read customer surveys and feedback to get a firsthand account of their experience and gauge the type of experience you provide.
  • Look for ways to practice your skills outside of work by volunteering or seeking continuing education courses.

Customer service skills in the workplace

There are small steps you can take to demonstrate your customer service skills in the workplace. Actions you can take to show your abilities are:

  • Maintain an organized work area.
  • Have a clean, presentable, and professional appearance.
  • Arrive to work on time and prepared.
  • Be optimistic and positive, even in conflict.
  • Smile and maintain eye contact when speaking with others.
  • Show enthusiasm when helping others.
  • Have an open body posture.

How to highlight your customer service skills when job seeking 

If you are seeking a role in the customer service industry or a position that requires strong customer service skills, consider doing the following to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

Highlight customer service skills for the cover letter

Cover letters represent the type of employee you are and are the first impression a hiring manager has of you. Typically composed of a few paragraphs, they provide detailed information about your strongest skills that delineate the attributes qualifying you for a position. To include your customer service skills within a cover letter, select keywords from the official job description and focus on a few of your skills that align with the job responsibilities. Provide key information illustrating how you’ve previously succeeded because of your customer service skills and present any results of your efforts using data and numbers if you have them.

Highlight customer service skills for the resume

Your resume provides a more comprehensive picture of your abilities and overall work experience. You can show the ability to communicate effectively by using bullet points to list your qualification and experience and include brief headlines to organize your ideas concisely.

Highlight customer service skills for the interview

An interview gives you the opportunity to showcase your strong interpersonal skills for the hiring manager. Listen carefully to the questions so you can use strong verbal communication skills to provide clear and detailed answers.


Quality customer service skills are needed in any role where you interact with other individuals. Focus on your strengths and established interpersonal skills to prove your best qualifications and impress a prospective employer.

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