Working with Customers: Everything You Need to Know

Restaurantretailhospitality – what do they all have in common? Customer service. No matter your industry or job title, there are basic customer service skills you need in order to find a job.

If you're working as a cashierhost or sales associate, these skills are even more important. You're the first, and maybe only, person a customer interacts with and responsible for keeping them happy. These five must-have customer service skills will up your game in the job search and on the job.

5 must have customer service skills:

1. Patience

"Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult customer." Employers ask this because they know you'll encounter challenging customers from time to time. You should be able to keep your cool under pressure.

2. Quick thinking

Sometimes a curveball will come your way. Maybe it's a problem you've never encountered before or the customer isn't reacting the way you thought they would. It's helpful to be able to think on your feet and come up with a solution quickly and independently.

3. Consistency

Every customer is different. A few will be angry, some chatty and others full of questions. The important thing to remember is to give each customer the same level of service. Whether they are yelling or smiling, stay positive and be as helpful as possible.

4. Know it all

You're not expected to know everything, but customers will look to you for answers. You should know enough about your employer and what they sell that you can answer common questions. With the research you do before the interview and what you learn on the job, you'll be all set! But don't be afraid to say, "I don't know" if you don't have an answer. Find someone that can help the both of you; the customer will appreciate your honesty.

5. Attentive

There's nothing worse than talking to someone and feeling like they're not listening to you. Imagine how that would make an angry customer feel. Between the hustle and bustle of customers and your day-to-day duties, distractions happen. Give whatever task you're doing or whatever customer you're helping your full attention and your boss will surely take notice.

Whether you're working the job or looking for one, these customer service skills will help. In any situation, put yourself in the customer's shoes. What would good customer service look like to you?

Alex Woodward |
Alex is a Growth Marketing Manager at Snagajob, where she works with sales to help connect businesses with the right workers. Her first hourly job was as a barista at Caribou Coffee.