Providing 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.