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!