“I want to talk to your Supervisor”, this phrase said in a not so very pleasant manner is an indication that you have an unhappy customer on the other line that is probably calling about a service provided to him/her that he/she is not satisfied with. It can also be an experience with a previous Customer Service Representative that he/she is going to complain about. It can be anything. But one thing is for sure - that the customer is not happy. In this blog post, I have listed some of what I believe are the best tips in handling irate callers.Read More
Being in the call center industry for several years now, I have people telling me that my job is really easy. “You just take the call, ask for the information needed and relay the message”. I would say YES it is easy but there is more to it than just taking the information from the customer and relaying the message.
Callers do not just hear you talk over the phone; they expect excellent customer service for an item they bought or a service you have initially provided them prior to their call. How you handle calls says a lot about how your company can provide them with good service that they are expecting.
I have listed below a few important points that for me are vital in delivering excellent customer service. They may sound familiar already but I believe that these are some of the keys in giving customers the service they deserve.
PROFESSIONALISM - In every call, transaction or dealing with the callers, I believe that being polite is very important. It makes us sound professional and makes them feel that they made the right decision in choosing your company. Taking ownership of the call is another form of professionalism. No matter how rude the customer maybe, disconnecting the call will just trigger a more unpleasant situation.
ACTIVE LISTENING – Listening is different from just hearing. When you listen, you try and understand what the concern is, rather than just taking note of every word that the customer is saying.
EMPATHY – Not every customer who calls in is a happy customer. There are times when we will encounter customers that are having a bad day. Either because of poor service your company has provided them or just personal issues. Sympathy and empathy are different. When you sympathize you share the same feelings with them and that is it. When you empathize, you not only apologize but you also give them assurance that their issue will be dealt with in the timeliest manner possible.
RAPPORT – This is something that I believe not everybody has. It is more of an ice breaker if you will ask me. You do not necessarily have to be too chatty as it may annoy your customers. A few lines like “How’s the weather there?”, “How is your day doing so far?”, or for frequent callers, remembering the details of your last conversation with them. Ex: “How was your holiday?” or “Did you win your tournament?” etc. Just make sure that you do not open conversations that can be sensitive like sexual issues, religion etc.
CONSISTENCY – We need to try as much as we can on every call to apply all the above-mentioned points to maintain excellent customer service.
Do you remember the game in school where the teacher whispered a message to a student, and then it was passed around the room from one student to another? By the time the last student spoke the message aloud it was completely changed. This seemed to be a fun game when you were a child, but not so much in business and the workplace.
The importance of good listening skills in the world of business cannot be ignored. It is one of the most valuable skills any phone agent can have. They must be able to listen to fully understand how to help the caller, and be able to collect the proper information. An operator who appreciates and understands the value of listening is much more competent and efficient at their job. The average person listens with only 25% efficiency. This leaves a lot of room for error, and to miss valuable information. More effective listening creates better productivity and more success.
There are ways to improve your listening. One way is by reflecting. This refers to showing the speaker that you are listening to them and understand what they are telling you. The best way to do this is by paraphrasing back to the speaker what they have told you. Another way to improve listening skills is to eliminate distractions around you. Be present in the moment that the person is speaking to you. Always ask good questions. Good follow up questions demonstrate an interest in what the speaker has said, and helps can help you to better understand a complicated situation.