For every job out there, you need to have technical skills in order to get it and, of course, to keep it. These are also called “hard skills”. A taxi driver needs to be good at driving a car safely through a busy street, a surgeon must know his way around a scalpel and a plumber needs to be able to quickly fix your pipes and sink.
But there is more to a taxi driver, surgeon, or plumber than “hard skills”. If you’re working with people, you also need “soft skills”.
What are they? You may also know “soft skills” as “people” or interpersonal skills. They include:
· Negotiation skills
· Adaptability and flexibility
· Creative thinking
· Your ability to communicate with others
· How well you collaborate with other people
· Being a team player
And so on. In essence, they represent one’s ability to work hand in hand with others. Think about it. Will you call the same taxi company again if the driver was rude to you the first time? Would you call a plumber again that ripped you off the first time?
My guess is that the answer is “no”.
Why Are Soft Skills Important in Getting and Retaining Customers?
Anyone who works with clients and customers wants to find new and keep old ones. But this can’t be done without having soft skills. There is more to having the technical know-how if you want to retain customers and bring new ones. Can you also work closely with others in solving different problems? Do you crack under pressure? Are you able to communicate clearly with your team? You may not have all of these, but that’s okay. Soft skills can be developed and improved.
There are two ways to go about this and for best effect; you should really aim to use both. The first one involves a little personal introspection and evaluation. At the end of each day, or better yet, at the end of every customer meeting or phone call, stop and think if there is anything that you could have done better in terms of communication or other soft skills. Or, if you’re working with a team, stop and think if you are really helping the team solve any problems or are you adding more with your poor people skills.
Of course, it can be hard to see our flaws, so refer to your peers and your team members as well and listen to their feedback. Do clients complain about you or do team members say you are too rigid? Don’t take it to heart, but work on eliminating these flaws. Instead of being a dictator, try to be a leader. You’ll find it’s much more enjoyable to work with people that way.