2 Techniques That Help To Build Strong Rapport Over The Phone

As we pointed out in last week’s blog, there are big differences between providing customer service over the phone and providing customer service in person. When you are face-to-face with a customer, it’s so much easier to use non-verbal forms of communication. Hand gestures, facial expressions and other types of body language help for customer service reps to convey that they are friendly, polite and knowledgeable about what they’re offering.

When you are on the phone, however, you don’t have the benefit of utilizing any of the above mentioned forms of non-verbal communication. Naturally, everything must be communicated verbally over the phone. So, it stands to reason, that it can be a little harder for customer service reps to develop strong rapports with the customers being serviced.

What techniques can you use to build a strong rapport over the phone? Here are two:

1. Speak “with”, not “at” your customer.

There is a big difference between “with” and “at” in the world of conversations. “At” is pretty much a one-way street. When one person does all the talking – especially in an effort to push a sale – little is done to form a bond between the two parties in the conversation. “With” entails that you are taking the time to listen to what the other person has to say. It involves asking questions so that the customer is given the freedom to communicate what he/she really wants.

“When taking a customer service call, try to engage the customer in conversation rather than turn the call into a mechanical event in which you ask questions to fill out a report,” advises George N. Root III on Chron.com, “Avoid small talk, but try to mix in conversational aspects about the product and the problem the customer is having. Try to move the customer away from any anger toward your company and focus on solving the problem.”

2. Practice the “honesty is the best policy” method.

Remember that your objective is to have a real conversation. And keep in mind that, in order to do so, you need to show a measure of respect to the person you’re speaking with. It pays to be honest. Don’t make claims that you can’t back up and don’t make promises you can’t keep. There’s almost nothing worse than being caught in a lie in the business world. It’s a guaranteed way to lose a customer for good.

Root insists that you take ownership. This is especially important when you’re dealing with an irate customer. “Do your best to try and remedy the situation; if you have to pass the call off to the next level, try to be there to make the transition with the customer to the new representative,” he writes, “If you are able to follow up on the call, do so to make sure the problem was resolved.”

At SIClytics, we offer business owners and call centre managers alike the opportunity to strengthen the performances of their phone agents through our Live Call Monitoring and Telemarketing Reporting services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com!

Customer Service Over The Phone Is A Whole Other Animal

When you’re speaking with customers over the phone, you don’t have the benefit of facial expressions, hand gestures and body language to communicate your points. These non-verbal forms of communication are often heralded as the most potent ways to get a point across.

So what can you do to ensure that you are communicating effectively when the person you’re speaking to can’t see you?

Put yourself in your caller’s shoes.

The first thing you can do is pretend you’re the other person. How would you like to be spoken to? Consider the tone of voice you’re using so that nothing you’re saying comes off as offensive. Be mindful of the words you’re using so that nothing is taken out of context. Don’t forget that you’re a customer too. Your first rule of thumb should be to provide the type of customer service that you would want to receive yourself.

“If you’re working with a customer, either on the phone or in person, and they need something, pretend it’s you,” says Nancy Friedman on TelephoneDoctor.com, “What would you want to have happen? What would make you happy? What would make you satisfied? Here’s a great place to remember the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Laugh it up!

Keeping in mind that body language won’t help you when you’re on the phone, it’s important that the sound of your voice is constantly pleasant. You know what helps with that? Smiling. You may even want to take it one step further and laugh a little bit. Cracking an appropriate joke or two will not only help you to enjoy your work day more, but it will improve the overall customer experience.

“Laughter will lighten the load,” insists Friedman, “Everyone likes to laugh. Some even in the darkest moments. Take the time to laugh and enjoy your customers.”

Be empathetic.

Remember that you can’t frown or show your concern by the look on your face during a phone conversation. As important as it is to keep things light-hearted, not every call is going to be a jovial one. When a caller indicates that he/she has had an unpleasant experience, it’s incredibly important not to pass over the revelation as if it were some insignificant detail. Expressing empathy is a hugely important part of providing excellent customer service over the phone.

“Empathy is the ability to understand or feel what another person is experiencing,” explains Pascal on Userlike.com, “Showing empathy in customer service is essential, because it shows the customer that you care. Jumping straight to the fixing part can make you appear unsympathetic.” Empathy, he later adds, “creates an emotional connection and trust, and shows the intrinsic willingness to offer support.”

At SIClytics, we are big proponents for excellent customer service over the phone. We offer unique services that allow for business owners and call centre managers alike to both monitor and track the progress of their phone agents. For more information about our Telemarketing Reporting and/or Live Call Monitoring services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

5 Ways To Provide Excellent Customer Service Over The Phone

Depositphotos_10284014_m-2015Providing customer service in person isn’t quite the same thing as providing customer service over the phone. While there are obvious similarities, it’s important to note that facial expressions, body language and hand gestures go out the window during a phone conversation. As a result, it’s vitally important for customer service agents who work on the phone to be experts at inflection, tone and pacing.

That’s not all. Sounding nice and using pleasantries is only part of what makes for an excellent customer service experience over the phone. There are a number of specific techniques that should be used by all phone agents in order to provide the best customer service experiences possible. If you’re a call centre manager, it would certainly be advantageous to pass along the following suggestions.

Here are five ways to provide excellent customer service over the phone:

1. Acknowledge the customer throughout the call. By this, we don’t just mean that you should use the customer’s name – which you should definitely do. It’s also important to acknowledge the specific comments made by the customer. If he/she points out a problem with your product or service, you should respond by informing him/her that you’re empathetic towards the concern. If he/she reports satisfaction, be sure to offer your show of gratitude. It’s important to show all of your callers that they are valued.

2. Be an active listener. Many customer service agents become complacent in their roles because they get used to saying the same things over and over again. This can be dangerous. You never want to automatically assume you know how to resolve a caller’s issue. Be sure to listen so that you can make out the specific and unique concerns or requests of every customer. By actively listening, you’ll be able to better pinpoint solutions to problems the first time they are raised.

3. Don’t keep customers waiting. Does anyone like waiting? It doesn’t matter if you’re in a checkout line, at a red light or in a calling queue, waiting is never all that much fun. Do your best to answer calls quickly and minimize hold times. Of course, putting callers on hold will certainly be necessary from time to time. Just be sure to inform your caller of how long you expect the hold time to be and do your best not to keep him/her waiting any longer than the time given.

4. Be positive and upbeat. This may sound like a no-brainer tip. It’s pretty obvious that you should be friendly, right? But, keep in mind a point made earlier. Many phone reps get so used to the monotony of their jobs that they end up sounding like monotone robots – especially by the ends of their work shifts. Do your best to take small moments between calls to remind yourself to be energized during each call, treating them all like your first one of the day.

5. Don’t ever feel that you’re above an apology. In more cases than not, the problem had by your caller will not be one that is your fault. Nevertheless, apologizing on behalf of your company will generally be necessary. Sometimes, it’s important to apologize simply for the inconvenience that comes with having to make a call to correct a problem. Your empathy will go a long way in satisfying the customer, often retaining him/her after a dispute.

At SIClytics, we offer business owners a number of helpful services that enable them to better manage their call centre employees so that customer service over the phone can be vastly improved. They include Live Call Monitoring and Lead DaFeeder. For more information about these and other great services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.