Soft skills are defined as desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge. They include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive, flexible attitude. To broaden this definition, let’s remove the phrase “certain forms of employment.” Soft skills are important in all interaction among individuals, both inside an organization and out. Maintaining clients depends not only on technical skills and prompt delivery of promised goods or services, but also on communication, interpersonal skills, and accountability.
Being able to effectively communicate is vital to maintaining clients and to the overall success of a business. There can be a huge disparity between ideas and concepts that are in our brains and expressing those thoughts to others. This can lead to misunderstandings, false expectations, and dissatisfied clients. Sometimes the miscommunication can be as simple as perceived differences in the meaning of words that are used, or nonverbal cues that are either missed or misunderstood by either party. Being able to step into the shoes of the party you are communicating with and tailoring your communication to best suit that individual is a skill that many people do not possess, yet it is a vital soft skill to avoid confusion and misunderstanding. Professionals should always place utmost importance on thinking about how their communications will be received by the individual they are speaking to.
Interpersonal skills include verbal and non-verbal communication, listening skills, negotiation, problem solving, decision making and assertiveness. They are commonly referred to as “people skills” and possessing these skillsets is a major asset in maintaining client satisfaction. Interpersonal skills are used every day in all aspects of life but learning to recognize and work on components that are weak can be a major advantage when it comes to client satisfaction and repeat business. During regular business interaction, for example, parties sometimes don’t see eye to eye. Clients can be lost or retained based on how effectively management can listen, communicate, negotiate and resolve the issue at hand.
Throughout life, everyone has come across an individual who refuses to own up to his/her mistakes, as the blame is placed on others and this creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and hostility. Being accountable for deadlines, scope of services, and mistakes that may be made along the way speaks to the trustworthiness and integrity of the company. A company that owns a mistake, makes quick and effective measures to rectify the situation, and strives to avoid making the same error in the future will have much greater overall success.