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The Essential Customer Service Skills List

Published on Nov. 12, 2015

Last updated on Feb. 26, 2020
3 min read

Expanding your company’s support team? Hunting for a new job? This customer service skills list will show you just what an aspiring support agent should list on their résumé, as well as why these skills are critical.

Note: This list is designed for both employers and job seekers. For the sake of easy reading, we use “you” to refer to customer service representatives.

1. Diplomacy

You must be able to answer questions tactfully, even when dealing with a rude customer. You also need the ability to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and respond based on an understanding of their needs.

Without this skill, your answers may come across as rude or inconsiderate. This can cause even a minor situation to devolve into negative reviews and demands for refunds.

2. The Ability to Learn Quickly

You need to learn everything you possibly can about the product as soon as you join the company. Otherwise, you might make customers’ situations worse by providing incorrect answers or having no answers at all. If learning new things takes you a long time, this might not be the ideal job for you.

3. Communication

Customer Service Skills List Item 3: Communication

No matter how much you know about the product, you can’t help a customer unless you can communicate with them.

You must be able to break any process down into clear and simple steps. If the instructions you give are hard to follow, they might only make the customer more confused and upset.

Communication also goes the other way. Many customers—let’s face it—are terrible communicators. Some support requests may be as eloquently put as “My thing is not working fix it.” A good agent must know how to read between the lines, as well as how to get more information out of the customer when necessary.

4. Adaptability

Most customer service reps find that their job is constantly changing. At any moment, your employer may add new products, remove old ones, and update or change their existing offerings. Customers will also regularly bombard you with questions you have never had to answer before.

Unless you can adapt to change and the unexpected, you will become more and more befuddled over time.

5. Attention to Detail

Not all support requests are about one problem. Many are about multiple issues and sub-issues. In order to make sure your customers walk away completely satisfied, you must pay careful attention to everything they say and then address every issue they have brought up.

This skill also comes in handy when providing instructions. The more attentive you are to the details of how a problem is solved, the clearer your instructions will be.

Skills List Item 6: Assertiveness6. Assertiveness

Some customers will be upset when they contact support. A few may be straight-up bullies. Assertiveness will allow you to maintain control of the situation when dealing with such customers.

Assertiveness is also useful internally. Support agents are the first to see when a company’s actions have rubbed its customers the wrong way, so you may frequently identify problems and potential solutions. If you have the assertiveness to present constructive criticism to your superiors, you will be much more valuable to the company.

7. Level-Headedness

Above all, you must never let a customer upset you. Remain calm and professional at all times. If you can do that, you’ll be able to handle just about any problem your job throws at you.


To succeed in customer service, one must be unshakably professional and unmistakably clear, even when dealing with new problems, unexpected changes, and unpleasant people. If that sounds like you, then you’re a perfect fit for this field. If that sounds like someone you’re thinking about hiring, then hire them!

If you found our customer service skills list helpful, then be sure to share it with your friends and coworkers using the buttons below. You might also enjoy our articles on exceptional customer service and best practices for online support.