A phone conversation can make or break a relationship. The same holds true for a customer calling a contact center, either for information inquiries or for product support. As the phone is the most preferred method for customers to interact with support executives, it becomes imperative to keep the following tips in mind to serve your customers better over the phone.
Brush up your Communication Skills
For killer communication skills that help you make a positive impact on your customers, use the five Cs: communicate clearly, completely, concisely, concretely, and correctly. State your explanations or solutions clearly to ensure that your customers understand them; describe them briefly but completely, keeping them specific and having all of your facts straight. Along with the five Cs in place, also remember to project an enthusiastic, positive tone to make customers feel comfortable talking to you over the phone.
Have Access to Customer Information, and Quick
Don’t keep your customers on hold for a long time while you look for their information. There’s nothing more tiring than having to listen to an automated message or music on repeat mode. To avoid this, incorporate a powerful search mechanism that gives you quick access to accurate, up-to-date customer information. This will help you be consistently fast, reduce customer wait time, improve your productivity, and help you serve more customers.
Clarify Complaints and Solve them Quickly
There are times when customers are unable to communicate their problems. They might be unsure of the problem or frustrated about having to make the call. Whatever the reason affecting their communication, make your talk with the customer more efficient by using a combination of open-ended and closed questions. While open-ended questions, such as who, what, when, where, and how, provide information, closed questions provide confirmation. Once the problems are clarified, try to solve them as fast as you can.
Personalize the Interaction
Customers expect a personalized experience when they seek support from a contact center. The first step in doing that is using the customer’s name as soon as you receive it. You can also ask for the right pronunciation in case you didn’t get it in the first go. However, don’t abuse this information. Use it as naturally as possible throughout the conversation. Another way to personalize the call is to use a CRM software that displays relevant information, including the customer’s name, title, cases, call logs, etc. Having the caller’s entire history will help you provide superior, personalized customer service.
Listen Attentively and Empathize
When your customers call for inquiries or have complaints, feedback,or suggestions, listen to them. If they are angry, allow them to talk and express all their feelings. They will vent out their frustration and ultimately calm down. While interjecting with helpful redirection can be beneficial during such a call, remember never to respond to angry comments. Once they are calm, use statements of empathy and a soft tone to show you care and understand their feelings or frustrations.
Follow Appropriate Telephone Etiquette
Basic telephone etiquette goes a long way in providing customers a positive experience. Answer calls quickly, avoid making customers wait or hold the call for too long, and always ask customers before putting them on hold or transferring them to an appropriate department. Waiting indefinitely on a long service call queue, being placed infinitely on hold, and getting shoved from one support executive to the other is more frustrating for customers than having had to make the call in the first place. These experiences only make them believe that you and your contact center don’t care—and that’s not the impression you want to leave your customer with.
Finish the Conversation on a Positive Note
To create a lasting positive impression, end the call on a positive note. Although you might not have had a great start with an angry or a confused customer, finish the call by leaving the customer satisfied. You can do that by ensuring that your customers understood all the information you provided. Ask them if they’re satisfied and if there’s anything else you can help them with. Let them know that you are available to help them whenever they need. Finishing the call on a friendly note can transform angry callers to satisfied customers.
Don’t just meet your customers’ expectations while taking their calls, but constantly strive to exceed them with your personalized support. Effective communication can create a productive customer-contact center relationship and, therefore, lead to enhanced customer service and improved sales.