How have customer service staff’s knowledge and skill requirements changed over recent years? What has led to these changes?

Written By:

Teal Benson

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The knowledge and skills required of customer service staff have undergone significant changes. These shifts are largely due to technological advancements and changing customer expectations. In the past, tech support was mainly for computers, printers, and large appliances. Now, there’s a demand for support in areas like smart devices, home automation, car technology, and internet-based services.

Moreover, as simpler tasks are handled through self-service options, the issues that reach contact centers tend to be more complex. This shift has created a need for agents to have technical expertise and advanced problem-solving skills.

Certain attributes remain unchanged. It’s important for agents to demonstrate genuine empathy rather than scripted responses. For instance, saying, “I do apologize,” can sound insincere. A truly empathetic response would be, “That’s not right. Let’s get this fixed.” This approach resonates better with customers.

It’s not that agents lack genuine empathy. Often, they follow their training or try to meet quality form criteria. Quality forms often list empathy, typically defined by whether the agent apologizes. Genuine empathy, however, involves a sincere desire to help and an understanding of how the issue impacts the customer.

Overall, customer service agent roles have become more demanding, requiring a combination of technical expertise, problem-solving abilities, and strong interpersonal skills.


Judi Bolden

Judi Bolden, Vice President at COPC Inc., brings over 30 years of expertise in performance improvement, operational management, and change management. At Groupon, she led significant enhancements in global support and vendor operations, boosting customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Judi is a sought-after speaker with an MBA from Houston Baptist University and a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. Her leadership spans 36 countries, where she’s renowned for her practical solutions to enhancing contact center operations and training.