A guide to customer service assistant skills (with examples)

Updated 31 March 2023

Customer service assistants help customers make purchases, answer their questions and handle complaints. This is often an entry-level role for those seeking a career in sales. If you're a customer service assistant or want to become one, knowing the necessary skills can help you perform better. In this article, we explain what customer service assistant skills are, list examples of hard and soft skills and why they're important, describe how you can improve them, show you how to demonstrate them in the workplace and discuss ways to highlight these skills.

What are customer service assistant skills?

Customer service assistant skills are the attributes and competencies that enable them to effectively help customers. These individuals help generate sales and assist customers with any questions or issues they encounter. The skill set of a customer service assistant consists of some hard and soft skills. Hard skills are technical skills, such as the ability to use a computer. Soft skills are transferrable abilities that enable these assistants to handle various types of customers and work as part of a team. Good examples include customer service skills, interpersonal skills, communication, active listening and empathy.

Related: Customer service objectives: definition and examples

Examples of customer service assistant skills

Here are some skills customer service assistants may use and why they're helpful:

Computer skills

The ability to work with computers and similar devices is often necessary for customer service assistants. For those who work remotely by advising customers online on e-commerce sites, they'd primarily work with a computer or laptop. In physical retail spaces, computers might be there for recording sales and managing communications. The computer skills necessary for this role are relatively basic, consisting of competency with general computer use, office software applications and email.

Related: Top 9 basic computer skills and why they're useful

Point of sale systems

A point of sale (POS) system is a device for handling transactions, consisting of both dedicated hardware and software. Some of these might be similar to a computer with a keyboard for inputs, while others may have touch screens. Customer service assistants can use these to record and handle transactions, issue receipts and check stock availability.


For many customer service assistants, the ability to write well can contribute to their ability to work. This is primarily for those who deal with customers online through web chat or email, such as those working for e-commerce sites. In many cases, the primary mode of communication with the customer in these settings is going to be writing. Being able to write clearly enables these assistants to convey information to customers effectively, whether in a chat application or emails.

Related: 5 reasons why writing skills are essential for every job


While writing is a hard skill, communication is the broader ability to convey information in various settings. It can impact writing ability and verbal communication, whether in-person or over the phone. Communication skills enable customer service assistants to make recommendations, answer questions and develop a rapport when interacting with customers. This can lead to a better customer experience and promote sales. Other aspects of communication include interpersonal skills and active listening. Interpersonal skills facilitate positive interaction with others, such as friendliness and empathy. Active listening promotes good understanding of what others are trying to convey.

Related: 10 communication techniques to help you in the workplace


Customer service assistants may encounter problems in the workplace, whether due to a customer complaint or some issue in a retail space. The ability to solve problems effectively and promptly can greatly increase their effectiveness, especially when dealing with customers. For instance, a dissatisfied customer is a problem for the company, and problem-solving ability enables a customer service assistant to resolve the issue and keep the customer happy.


A customer service assistant may have a workload and set of priorities that vary from one day to another. Within a busy retail space where multiple customers may require assistance, the ability to remain organised allows these assistants to attend to various priorities without becoming overwhelmed. Customer service assistants might also track, arrange and receive deliveries, in addition to stacking shelves. Another aspect of this is time management.

Related: What are organisational skills? (Types and examples)

Customer service

Customer service isn't a single skill, but rather an ability that comprises multiple contributory factors. Good customer service involves the ability to balance between friendliness and professionalism, as well as to have good communication, organisation and sales skills. It can therefore benefit from almost any other soft skill that a customer service assistant has, as it all contributes to good customer service. Empathy, good knowledge of products and being attentive are good examples of contributory factors.

How to improve customer service skills

If you're a customer service assistant and want to improve your skill set, consider the steps and options below:

1. Identify your current skills

An effective first step is to establish and assess your current skill set and identify any gaps or shortcomings. It can be useful to organise this by dividing your skill set into hard and soft skills. For each of these lists, identify the skills you possess, those you lack and those you'd like to improve. You might be aware of many of these due to your interactions with customers and your performance at work. Another good source of information is customer reviews and feedback from your supervisor or manager.

2. Seek training

Looking for training opportunities can help you directly improve your skills. The training could be for either soft or hard skills. For instance, you may find that you have difficulty with the POS system, in which case you could ask your supervisor if there are training opportunities. If you're unsure how to handle disagreeable customers, you might seek conflict resolution training. Training is a good choice if you lack a skill, whereas practice might be more effective for skills you have but would like to improve.

Related: What is training and development and why is it important?

3. Practise

For any skill that you have but want to improve, consider looking for opportunities to practise. If you're already working as a customer service assistant, your daily tasks may offer lots of opportunities to do so. If you're still looking for work, you can practise interpersonal skills with your current colleagues or with friends and family.

4. Ask for feedback

Asking for feedback can help you both identify skills gaps and assess how much you've improved. You may get feedback from customers, either through your interactions with them or through customer feedback forms. You can also ask your colleagues or supervisor to give you an objective assessment of your skills and what you could improve. You may also ask family and friends how highly they'd rate interpersonal skills like empathy and active listening.

Related: A complete guide to giving and receiving feedback at work

Customer service skills in the workplace

Here are some additional tips to help you demonstrate your customer service skills in the workplace:

  • Request feedback. Asking for feedback allows you to assess your skills while also demonstrating your commitment to improving them. Your supervisor may notice and appreciate your dedication to improvement due to this.

  • Volunteer. In the workplace, you can volunteer to handle extra responsibilities if you want to highlight your skills and demonstrate your dedication. This can also be an opportunity to practise and further develop your skills

  • Give feedback. Being able to give feedback to your colleagues enables you to demonstrate your analytical and interpersonal skills. If you're able to help your colleagues improve, this shows that you're a team player and possibly a potential leader.

Related: 12 tips to improve your body language in customer service

Where to highlight your skills

Here are some opportunities for highlighting your customer service skills:

Customer service assistant skills for a CV

When applying for customer service assistant roles, your CV is a good place to include your skills. In addition to a dedicated skills section on your CV, you can also mention your skills in your professional summary and in work history descriptions. Carefully reviewing job advertisements can help you identify skills the recruiting organisation prioritises.

Related: How to write a customer service CV (With example)

Customer service assistant skills for a cover letter

Your cover letter accompanies your CV and allows you to go into greater detail. This is an opportunity to write about your skills in a work context and how they enable you to make a positive impact. Mentioning examples and achievements can demonstrate the effectiveness of your skill set and make your cover letter more appealing.

Related: How to write a cover letter for a customer assistant job

Customer service assistant skills for a job interview

During a job interview, there are two ways of highlighting your skills. The first is to mention them directly and describe how you use them to keep customers happy and boost sales. The other way is to demonstrate them directly in your interaction with the interviewer. Interpersonal skills, communication, active listening and empathy are all skills you can employ in your interactions with the interviewer, thereby proving your skills through their demonstration.

Related articles

Customer service job description (With duties and skills)

Explore more articles

  • How to write a studio assistant cover letter (with example)
  • Why use university CV examples (with personalisation tips)
  • How to write a learning support assistant cover letter
  • How To Write a Marketing Intern Cover Letter (With Examples)
  • Tips for writing a great apprenticeship CV
  • How to write a digital marketing cover letter (with example)
  • How To Write a Cover Letter to an Agency (With Example)
  • How to write a sales assistant cover letter (no experience)
  • How to write a machine operator CV (With example)
  • How to write an inventory clerk CV (with template)
  • How to address a cover letter (With examples)
  • Legal administrator CV: example and how to write one