When one of your main channels of communication with your customers is the phone, there’s a lot riding on your ability to meet their needs via a single conversation. Your customer service team is likely trained on the details of your company, products and services, but they may not be as well-versed in some of the nuances that make great customer service so outstanding.
Here are four steps, that we have found to be very effective at Conectys, that your representatives can take in order to upgrade their approach to every phone call. Follow these steps, and you’ll be sure to offer an all-around better customer service experience for each customer.
Start with Empathy
Many times, customers call in to your business because there’s a problem. It’s far more unusual for a customer to take the time to make a phone call if they’re calling about something positive or simply have a more neutral question or observation. With this in mind, it’s highly likely that the people your customer service agents will be speaking with are already mildly to extremely agitated.
The best way to diffuse an emotionally charged situation is by approaching it with empathy. If you haven’t already, train your customer support team about what empathy really is, how to genuinely express it and examples of helpful verbiage they can use. Sometimes, all it takes to convey understanding to a customer is relaying back what they’re telling you. For instance, if a customer is calling to complain about a delayed shipment, the customer service representative could say, “Wow, it looks like the package was supposed to be there three days ago. This is very late. I can imagine it’s very frustrating. I’m so sorry this is inconveniencing you so much.” Simply validating what the customer is feeling, acknowledging the situation and expressing empathy without sounding overly scripted or robotic can de-escalate the situation. It can also set the stage for a much more productive conversation.
Build Trust via Follow-Through and Commitment
Next, teach your team to avoid giving out empty promises or half-baked responses in an effort to appease a customer, as this can come back to bite them. They should only answer questions they know the answer to, and should only make promises they know they personally have the autonomy to follow through with.
Even if it makes a customer more upset in the moment, it’s better for an agent to be honest when they’re unsure of how to handle a situation. They can say, “I’m not sure what the best course of action would be for you, but I’ll find out right away and let you know within the next hour how we should proceed.” As long as the customer service representative follows through on this commitment and through the resolution of the issue, the customer will ultimately develop the trust needed to build a relationship upon a solid foundation. These moments can turn an escalation into an opportunity to wow the customer.
Focus on First Call Resolution
It’s true that customers typically want answers to their questions as quickly as possible so they can get on with their lives. But it’s imperative your customer service representatives are effective, as well as efficient. If they rush through the phone call because they can tell the customer is anxious to get off the phone, there’s a greater likelihood the issue won’t be fully resolved and the customer will have to call in again.
This wastes the customer’s time (and will probably aggravate them even more), and it also wastes your business’ time. Instead, ensure your customer service reps are not only knowledgeable, but they also convey confidence when they deliver information. Customer service reps should also take extra care to ensure that they understand the customer issue and exhibit the right steps to resolve issues. For example, let’s say a customer calls your company with an IT problem. Train your team to listen to the whole story and gather all the context they can about the problem, instead of jumping to conclusions that it’s an issue with their Wi-Fi.
Applying an added focus to train your customer support team to be thorough and tie up all loose ends on the first call, will help to ensure a second (or third) phone call about the same matter won’t need to take place.
Show Some Personality
Finally, your customer service staff should be empowered to speak to your customers like humans. This might sound obvious, but many customer service reps follow scripts and/or end up repeating the same answers so much throughout the day that they end up sounding robotic or even detached. Emphasize to your team that they can – and should – relate to the customer on the other end of the line as they would a colleague or acquaintance. They shouldn’t be overly casual; but a little freedom to speak normally and allow their personality to shine can go a long way in establishing a rapport with the customer. This is an area in which our customer service specialists at Conectys really excel, and the human-to-human connection they forge has lasting impacts on customer satisfaction and retention.
These four steps can dramatically improve your customer service program, and ensure that customers are treated with true service from the first time one of your company’s representatives picks up the phone.
If you’d like more information about wowing your customers with better customer support, contact us to learn how we can help.