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5 Ways to Spot a 5-Star Customer Service Rep

Christine James
Christine James

These five skills are essential to providing excellent service.

What does it take to be the best? In customer service, being the best requires a set of specific skills. Whether you're a recruiter looking for the best employee, a customer service representative who wants to improve at your job, a manager responsible for training service reps or a business owner in charge of your own customer service, these are the skills to zero in on.

Extraordinary communication

It's easy to think that people are either good at communicating or not, but this is a very teachable skill that is vital to customer service. Without the ability to communicate well, it doesn't matter how good a customer service rep is at any other tasks. The job centers around communication with customers, making this an essential skill to improve if you want to be successful at your work.

You can train yourself to communicate better by practicing empathizing with others, listening more than speaking, attempting to resolve conflict, thinking about your words before speaking and paying attention to how you say things.

Stress management

The field of customer service comes with a lot of stress. Throughout your job, you'll be multitasking by handling customers with varying attitudes while trying to find solutions to their problems. It can be difficult to deal with the pressure, especially when customers are upset with the company and take their frustrations out on you.

That is why excellent customer service reps practice stress management skills and learn how to cope well with this type of stress on the job. Since you cannot avoid all stressors as a customer service rep, you need to learn how to put yourself in the customer's shoes, de-escalate a situation, maintain your calm, cope with excessive stress and effectively multitask under pressure.


Creativity and problem-solving are skills that work best when combined. To be the best, you need to go the extra mile beyond what customers expect from you. This is all part of leaving the customer with a positive impression of their experience with your company. Problem-solving requires creativity in many cases, as it's impossible to be completely prepared for every problem that may come up.

Don't worry, creativity is a teachable skill. There is a common misconception that you cannot learn to be more creative, but the truth is that you can train yourself in this skill just like any other soft skill. By practicing creativity, you can expand your ability to solve problems through creative thinking.

Deep company and product knowledge

Unfortunately, knowledge of your company and its products is not a transferable skill from one organization to the next. However, a dedication to learning about the business and product will help you succeed in the field of customer service. To address customer complaints and problems accurately, you need a thorough understanding of the products or services they're using as well as what your business does.


Though related to how you communicate, the skill of persuasion is separate. Persuasion is mostly associated with sales teams, but customer service reps also need this skill to sell the solution to the customer. Not all customers may feel completely satisfied with the solutions you offer, but it's your job to match them up with the solution that is in their best interest. Learning this skill will make you more effective at providing customer service.

Customer service reps can possess an array of wonderful skills and experience, but these five skills are some of the most important for success on the job. Improving these skills will make you better at your job, whether customer service is your primary responsibility or one of many hats you wear. Hiring employees with these skills or training employees to improve these skills may improve the overall effectiveness of your customer service department.


Image Credit: Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock
Christine James
Christine James Member
Christine believes that every customer has a voice. She is the Community Manager at (a customer complaints website) and loves talking to customers on social media about their challenges with Fortune 500 companies. Her work has been published on Huffington Post, Inc., SocialMediaToday, and Thought Catalog.