Whether you’re a CIO, IT manager, or MSP owner, you understand that your company thrives when your IT team can quickly solve tech problems. You may have also observed how the right words from an IT customer service person helps your customers or other team members feel validated and empowered. This is the work of great interpersonal skills on display. In this post, you’ll learn five steps to improve your IT team’s interpersonal communication skills.
Strong interpersonal skills can determine whether your customer leaves an interaction with a positive or negative impression of your team members – regardless of whether their tech issue got resolved. While these skills are important, they don’t always develop naturally. The good news is that great communication is a skill nearly anyone can learn. Here are five ways to improve your IT team’s interpersonal communication skills.
Number 1: Personalized Feedback
One of the best ways to improve interpersonal skills is with individualized feedback. Do they use appropriate eye contact while the customer or client is explaining their problem? (Certainly, there are cultural considerations that affect what is appropriate eye contact.) What does their body language convey during the support call? Are they hunched over the computer, trying to multi-task and get a head start on problem-solving? Even in a phone call, where you and the other person can’t see each other, body language comes through in your voice. Are they present with the caller? Does their posture reflect that presence? In the office, do they interact comfortably with others, or are comments and body language misunderstood by co-workers? Identify the things IT customer service reps do well and the personal skills they need to strengthen. You can assess these skills through role-play activities, observing them during a customer interaction, and with customer feedback surveys.
Number 2: Listening Without Interrupting
You and your team have seen it all. Three words come out of someone’s mouth, and immediately the team member handling the ticket thinks they know the exact problem they’re about to describe and the perfect solution to set things right. And that’s fantastic…except for the customer. Yes, they have a technical problem – but they also want to feel seen and heard. Having an IT expert interrupt a customer mid-sentence may feel like a victory to your team member for being intuitive and proactive, but to the customer, it seems discourteous. People with frustrating problems need the person helping them to listen without interrupting. When your customers feel heard, valued, and validated, trust is built. Teach your team that fast isn’t always best and that they should wait for a break in the conversation to interject a solution rather than cutting the customer off mid-sentence.
Number 3: Nonverbal Messaging
Remind your team of ways they communicate without words, and coach them to pay attention to their customer’s nonverbal messages to improve interpersonal communication skills. Non-verbal communication includes eye contact, body language, facial expressions, and posture.
Number 4: Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions. It’s also about reading the emotions of other people and responding appropriately. An emotionally intelligent person handles difficult situations effectively, has good conflict resolution skills, and accepts feedback appropriately. Emotional intelligence is a critical skill for interpersonal relationships, and studies show it’s one of the biggest factors in building a successful career. Emotional intelligence can be improved with training, so check out Compassionate Geek’s emotional intelligence training for your team members who need to upskill in this area.
Number 5: Empathy
Empathy is a crucial skill in IT customer service. Your team is helping people experiencing frustration or feeling powerless in the face of technology. Simply resolving a tech issue won’t make them feel good about the interaction. Your customers need people who understand their situation, validate their experience, and demonstrate patience and compassion. Empathy is about feeling, to the best of your ability, what the other person is experiencing. Empathy allows your team members to put themselves in the other person’s shoes and respond how they’d like others to treat them.
Improve Interpersonal Communication Skills with Compassionate Geek
Take your team to the next level with Compassionate Geek’s online customer service training for IT staff. Participants will enhance essential skills like active listening and empathy, learn more about emotional intelligence, and improve interpersonal communication skills. Enroll your team today!
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