Customer Service Skills for the Next Generation of Support

As opposed to the traditional support methods focusing on being reactive, being proactive is the new way to control and scale your customer care. Beyond a customer service strategy in itself, proactive customer support is the one true driver of retaining customers and building relationships.

What does this mean for customer service teams? Anticipating customer issues and addressing them in engaging, informative, easy to understand ways. Luckily for agents and teams today, this can be done in a number of helpful formats – through tutorial videos, interactive knowledge bases, FAQs, decision tree troubleshooters, and other instructive media.

Beyond providing excellent self-service customer support methods, it’s still important to have basic contact information ready to go and easy to find, even in today’s digitally focused world. Studies show that 41% of companies currently don’t make this information visible or quick to locate – to be the best, you should always balance interactive decision trees and other helpful media with any and all platforms of communication available.

The Next Generation of Customers

Millennial customers today are like an entirely new category in their own light. Where previous generations prefer more one-on-one connection and personal relationships, young people today lean towards self-help solutions and fast-paced interactions.

In recent studies, it was found that nearly 70% of millennial females are comfortable resolving CS issues on their own, and 56% of millennials moved their business elsewhere as a result of poor customer service. With the trend continuing toward self-service support and easy, positive experiences, it’s more important than ever for businesses to be thinking about the next generation of forward-thinking, self-solving customers.

The 4 Most Important Customer Service Skills to Master

Your business’ millennial customers today will bring about the next generation of confident and well-researched purchasers. In terms of customer service skills, and in our own experience, here are the top few that agents need to truly master before that next generation comes.

1. Professionalism

The face of your business relies on the tone, grammar and writing style across digital ways of communication, as well as the professionalism and conciseness of any phone interaction. Some rules for professionalism in email or chat customer service: no abbreviations or lingo, check your information, and definitely never be pushy or leading.

Being understanding, friendly, informative and quick to respond to any customer service interaction is the best way to remain professional and help a customer resolve any issues with lightning speed. When in doubt, one of the best ways to promote better professionalism is to craft standardized decision trees and agent scripts that follow your company’s voice and brand perfectly.

2. Empathy

Every customer wants their issue to be understood and cared for. Customer service agents need to put themselves in the customers’ shoes and broaden their perspectives (and vocabularies, in some cases) to understand where the issue came from and how it can be resolved.

Everyone involved in a customer service interaction is a person — showing compassion and empathy in genuine ways for the problems they are facing, or relating on a more positive note, shows that you care and builds loyalty with the customer.

3. Assertiveness

With professionalism and empathy comes a need to be assertive in customer service situations. Now, we don’t mean aggressive — we mean being completely clear, confident and direct with the information provided and support offered. Taking control of a customer service interaction in a calm and helpful way by asking appropriate, direct questions will help guide support agents to the right conclusion far easier and faster, and the customer is much more likely to feel that the agent they spoke with is the right person for the job.

4. Expertise

32% percent of those surveyed in a recent State of Social Customer Service Report found the phone to be the most frustrating way to engage customer service (ConverSocial).

Without your customer service agents fully mastering the ins and outs of your business and product or service offering, they’ll never feel 100% comfortable and confident helping customers, and in return, customers will be more frustrated. Customer-facing agents should always be trained experts on every relevant inner working, allowing them to be more empowered to answer questions accurately and directly.


The main goal of customer service skills for the next generation is to make it easier for customers to solve problems, access help themselves, and feel totally satisfied with their relationship with your company. With Zingtree decision trees built for your business’ needs and scripts customized to your brand’s voice, customer service agents (and your customer service strategy overall) will become more effective, efficient, and automated.

Take a look at our Gallery to get more customer service inspiration, or get started with your own interactive decision tree or agent script to help streamline your customer service team. 

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