Was I born with these skills? I don't think so. I mean, some of them are due to my personality type e.g. I empathize well with others. But others have been honed over the years.
Some people will never improve but most people can improve their customer service skills when doing technical support.
Generally speaking, I keep things as simple as possible. You must assume you are talking to a complete moron. You must also never assume anything.
Imagine what is on their screen and what is easiest for them to reach.
Point and click is best. Do not try to get the user to perform keyboard shortcuts.
These days remote control software such as TeamViewer, VNC, Dameware, LogMeIn etc. helps a great deal. If you can get the user to activate their software and let you in then you can take over from there.
For example, if I want a user to activate TeamViewer then I tell them to click the Start Button, go to All Programs, then click on the "Blue 'E' for Internet Explorer". This is a bulletproof method of getting them to open IE. I see too many people struggling to get users even this far but my method, as you can see, is bulletproof.
There's obviously a lot more involved but, in general:
- Keep it simple
- Try to connect via remote control
- Avoid technical jargon and longwinded explanations
- Don't make promises you can't keep in an effort to please e.g. saying 5 minutes when it could well take much longer
- Listen carefully to what the user is telling you
- Don't be afraid to interrupt the user, be direct and ask the user questions such as "what do you see on the screen right now" or "let's restart your computer and we'll go step by step" etc. Users want to be directed by you, the "expert" and they will respect you more for it