Must-Have Soft Skills for Customer Service Agents

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Customer service professionals need special phone soft skills to succeed and excel at work. They deal with different personalities with each call they make. Check out the top ten must-have phone soft skills for phone customer service agents below.

Active Listening

The foremost phone soft skill you need in customer service is listening. Unlike conventional face-to-face customer service, you will only have your sense of hearing to rely on to identify your customer’s concerns. Having good listening skills will help you easily detect your clients’ problems so that you come up with an appropriate solution.

Listening actively is even better. It means that you are truly and genuinely interested in what your caller has to say so that you can better understand them.


Probably the most apparent phone soft skill required for customer service workers is communication. Speaking clearly and knowing the right things to say is one thing, but communication is far more than that. 

With good communication skills, you should be able to articulate your thoughts so that the person you are talking to understands you well. This is a particularly important phone soft skill for customer service because you need to be able to explain thoroughly and clearly to help address their concerns.

Emotional Intelligence

Customer service jobs are not for the impatient. If you easily feel provoked or are quick to anger, you should consider developing further in this area. Having emotional intelligence helps in dealing with demanding customers and more.

Emotional intelligence also allows you to keep a calm and objective attitude regardless of the situation. If you are emotionally intelligent, you will be able to control your emotions, thereby avoiding unnecessary arguments or unprofessional conduct.

You can help increase your emotional intelligence by working on it with the guidance of resources such as Emotional Intelligence: The Ultimate Soft Skill at Work.


Customer service people are the face of a company. Customer call center agents partly represent the company’s voice, a way for customers to connect to the business. The company expects you to take good care of their clients, and one of the ways you can do that is to adopt a positive attitude.

Enthusiasm makes you likable and makes your client more comfortable in sharing their concerns with you. Also, if you are enthusiastic enough, you may alleviate at least some of the negative feelings your callers initially have when they call you to discuss a problem or an issue.


Assertiveness is not a typical phone soft skill for any other professional but businessmen and customer service professionals. You need a fair amount of assertion to close a sale or convince your customer to choose your service.

Being assertive also means that you are capable of standing your ground in a respectful and professional manner. That means that no matter how upset your client could get, you know how to assert what is right and what is fair for both the client and the company.


As a customer service phone agent, you will have a supervisor, but he or she will expect you to handle all calls by yourself as much as possible. Troubleshooting concerns and dealing with clients through the phone is a one-man-job, so you have to be as independent as possible.

You can boost your confidence by training, studying, and practicing consistently. If you are confident and knowledgeable enough, you won’t likely have any trouble being independent in handling your clients.

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You might not think that being organized is a phone soft skill, but organization skill is a must for customer service people. You will handle multiple clients in a single shift, and each client can have more than just one complaint or concern. 

Good organization skills will keep you from becoming flustered and confused. It will allow you to organize clients and issues proficiently so that you don’t mix them up. This prevents a lot of errors that could cause the business to lose money or customers.

On top of all of it, being organized will help you work more efficiently. You can finish tasks faster, handle problems with more ease, and experience less stress at work. If you are a highly organized individual, this job might just be for you.

Conflict Resolution

Expect to handle conflict on a daily basis when you’re a customer service agent. That is why conflict resolution is an essential phone soft skill for this type of profession. Claims, complaints, requests, and other issues involve a conflict of some sort since customers typically call if they are experiencing problems with their product or service.

Conflict Management and Crucial Communications is an online course on conflict resolution which you can take any time you want right at the comforts of your own home or anywhere you like.


A sense of empathy allows you to relate and therefore connect better with your callers. You will have a sense of what they are experiencing and have an idea of how they must feel. When you know how they feel, you will also know what to say to help them feel even just a little bit better.

Empathy is a unique trait that allows you to understand others’ feelings without necessarily feeling the same emotions yourself. You remain objective so that you can help them through their issues in a fair and level-headed manner.

Humor or Social Skills

Even if you’re only talking with clients through the phone, you still need to be sociable. Having good social skills will translate through the call and make your client feel more at ease and less irate.

Having a good sense of humor gives off the same effect too. You can always attempt to break the ice if you sense that your customer is becoming impatient or if your call is getting too heated. Think of it as another way to ease the tension and lengthen your client’s patience.

This infographic created by Hiver outlines the essential skills required for customer service and provides guidance on how to cultivate them.

customer service skills

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