Do these three things to become the company that customers want to call
Customers call businesses for any number of reasons – such as asking a question, verifying information or placing an order. While delivering customer service over the phone might seem more casual since the customer isn’t there in front of you, it’s actually a vitally important way to recruit and maintain customers. The first impression that a customer gets from a phone call with a representative of your organization can be the deciding factor in whether that customer decides to do business with you forever or never call you again.
If you want your team members to become superstars when it comes to delivering customer service over the phone, you should consider these three essential skills:
First, customer service representatives should monogram the call. Using someone’s name gives the conversation a personal and respectful tone. By asking for someone’s name and using it throughout the call – being careful to pronounce it correctly – you demonstrate to that person that you care enough to put in that effort. Sometimes, the caller might volunteer their name without you asking making it even easier to monogram the call.
An example of this skill in action might sound like:
Customer: “I had a question about the status of my order. The name is Maureen McAllister.”
You: “Sure, Maureen, I’d be very happy to check on your order. Could you also provide me with the order number?”
The next essential telephone skill is to avoid excuses. This might sound obvious, but if you pay closer attention, you’ll be surprised to find that everyone – customer service representatives included – makes excuses during day-to-day conversations.
When a customer is taking the time to call your business, it’s because they’re looking for an answer to their question or a solution to their problem. What they definitely DON’T want to hear is an excuse for why you can’t help them. Unacceptable excuses might include:
“Our computers are down.”
“That’s not the return policy, so I can’t do it.”
“That was my colleague’s fault.”
Customers don’t care, and hearing an excuse like this will sound to them like you aren’t interested in helping them find a solution. If you’re the person speaking with a customer, you should take responsibility for anything related to your customer’s problem, even if that feels unfair in the moment.
Rather than telling a customer that your return policy prevents you from helping them, you might say, “Unfortunately, our return policy applies for 30 days after purchase. What I am able to do for you, however, is offer store credit. I could also exchange the item for another if you’d like.” Offer the customer solutions, not excuses.
The third essential telephone skill that will improve the service you give to customers over the phone is the art of being prepared. Assume that every customer call will require some action from you – maybe that is searching the computer database or maybe that will be taking notes on a pad of paper. Whatever it is, have your resources ready so that the customer doesn’t have to wait around for you, which wastes everyone’s time.
Many customers prefer to leave a message with a person rather than a voicemail. If you speak with a customer who is asking for someone who is not currently able to speak, offer to take a message for them. Then, when writing down the message, aim to keep it as close to verbatim as possible so that no information is forgotten and nothing is misconstrued. Both the customer and the recipient of the message will appreciate your preparedness.
To learn seven additional essential business telephone skills that will keep your customers calling back, contact a ServiceSkills representative today.