FREE Training: Customer Care basics
Increasing customer satisfaction is essential for all businesses. When we talk about customer facing positions or support over the phone these 15 tips for effective services are the ground level where all employees should start their careers. Call center employment is not for everyone, as it can often be tense and requires an intuition. The agents often have to deal with angry customers and to remain calm and patient. It is important to keep a cool head, because service over the phone is essential for company’s success. However, tough situations can be solved with just a few tricks.
1. Correct greeting
Call centers usually have a fixed greeting that agents should use to convey a consistent corporate identity. You should introduce yourself with first and last name and make sure you speak clearly. This is especially important, if a customer calls again later and wants to speak to the same employee.
2. A positive attitude
You should approach your work positively, give the customers the feeling that you are happy about their call and ready to help. Even if a customer is completely upset and yells, it is important to remain calm. Under no circumstances you should lose control, as this would further escalate the situation. If you exercise patience, stay calm or use a little humor in an unpleasant situation, you can definitely resolve the situation again.
3. Show understanding
Of course, it is not always possible to present a solution directly on the phone. However, you should show understanding for the customer’s concerns and listen patiently. The customer should feel that he is being taken care of and that all possible measures are being taken for the problem to be resolved.
Although customers cannot see the agents on the other end of the phone, a smile can make your voice much friendlier. This makes you look much more personable and, in the best-case scenario, the good mood is transferred. It is also important to use a natural pitch. Anything else could quickly sound artificial.
5. Pay attention to the correct phrasing
Words that express uncertainty and doubt should be avoided. This includes words like “or so”, “somehow” and “roughly”. This suggests that you are unsure yourself – with this attitude it is difficult to convince the client.
Words like “somewhat”, “possibly” or “maybe” should not be used if possible, because it reduces your professionalism. The same is true for subjunctive statements. Instead of saying: “This conference phone would have the advantage…”, rather use the reality form: “This conference phone has the advantage …” Subjunctive unsettles the customer. The reality form makes you sound convincing.
In addition, always strive for a positive formulation. The best example why this is so important, is the phrase “half full or half empty glass”. While the half-empty glass suggests a defect and therefore brings out the negative, the adjective “half full” reinforces the positive of this statement. Since the formulation influences the atmosphere in the conversation, it is always important to ask yourself whether something negative can also be expressed positively. An example of this would be, instead of: “I can’t help you”, to choose the phrase “I will inquire and will get back to you.”
6. Ask questions
Inquiries are important because this shows the customers that their concerns are being taken seriously and that you really want to help. If you have more information, it is more likely to solve the issue and to get good feedback.
7. Admit knowledge gaps
We do not need to fool ourselves: we don’t know everything. Customers are also aware of this. Even so, most of your customers will expect a quick response. For this reason, agents should give the feeling of being in good hands despite their lack of knowledge and make clear that they are looking for quick help. Before giving half-information, it is better to get proper facts first and put the customer off with a later call back. Or you can forward to an employee who is very familiar with the concerns.
8. What does “no” mean?
A customer cannot require everything of you, but you owe him a solution to his problem. You should never say “no” to a request, but find another suitable solution. For example, if somebody wants a replacement for a defective product, but it is no longer available, you could ask which alternative model he would like.
9. Offer compensation
If the client is complaining, you should ask him how the company can correct the mistake. If possible, offer an alternative product or monetary compensation.
10. Do not press the customer
Online shops often work with shortage offer in order to get customers to buy quickly (for instance the price is -50 % for the first 100 buyers). Although a suggested “limited offer” can often increase the interest, there is also the danger that the buyer feels pressed in the corner. You should give him some time to think about it and contact him again the next day.
11. Good preparation is essential
For a successful phone call, it is important that call center agents prepare well for it. This includes having all the documents ready and being able to answer questions. The customer shouldn’t have to repeat himself 1000 times. You must know when the customer purchased your product and whether they have already called more than once.
12. The client says goodbye
Even if a customer should ask the same question 10 times, you are not allowed to simply end the call. When you have been able to help, the customers are satisfied and say goodbye by themselves.
13. Carry out voice training
The vocal cords are often overused because 8 hours of continuous speech is not easy. Since tension also affects the sound of the voice, it is important to maintain an upright and at the same time relaxed posture while sitting. If you work as a call center agent for a longer period of time, voice training is also advisable.
14. Thank for the call
At the end of every phone call you should thank the other person for talking with you. This is especially true if you plan to contact them again. If the customer called himself and made a complaint, it is advisable for you to say thank you even for that type of conversation. Such type of calls would help improve the services provided or even the product.
15. Allow yourself some rest after work
Taking a break does not mean that agents should deny sports activities after work. Sport is always a good way of balancing out after work, where you can switch off easily. For many agents, hectic and noisy appointments mean pure stress right after the end of the shift and should be avoided if possible. After all, it’s up to the people to decide what’s the best way for them to relax and lose the stress. Here you could find some tips on how to relax after work.
In many companies the work of call center employees is clearly underestimated. With the right attitude and the right formulation, they can achieve a lot and manage to turn angry people into happy or even loyal customers. No matter how upset a customer is, it is important to keep calm. It’s your job that brings higher revenues to the supported companies and makes their customers happy. The most important is to enjoy what you do!
Related topics: FREE training: The Manager’s Toolkit