Krima is a multi-skilled journalist and writer with extensive print, broadcast, online, and digital experience.
When a prospect calls without enough information about the company, the first impression will most likely define the business. There are certain ways to answer the phone. Doing it wrongly might make the difference between gaining someone's loyalty and losing a customer. Call center etiquette is not about chance, but about being professional and making each interaction count.
There are certain steps to ensure a positive customer service and they all demand training, yet nothing is impossible. Investing in the right staff is a must, while on the other hand, supportive personnel is directly responsible for job security.
Now, what are the most useful tips to ensure a top-notch customer experience?
Adopt an Inviting Tone
Most customers call to inquire or complain, rather than send compliments. Therefore, the tone must be inviting and friendly. The customer representative must provide a simple message – they are friendly, professional and happy to be on the phone. The best way to adopt this attitude is to pretend that the customer is in front of the representative and not on the phone. It sounds weird, but it works.
Smiling can also make a difference in the tone.
Matching the Caller's Pace
Some callers are friendly by nature. Some others will not be so receptive – it's in the human nature. While still trying to stay on brand, it's highly recommended to match the customer's level of enthusiasm by 10%. If they don't like wasting time and they're concise, the representative should follow the stream and provide clear answers to the point.
A slow speaker (like those wherefore English is not the primary language) must be answered in a slow and articulated manner. Speaking too fast will cause misunderstandings and can intimidate them.
There are multiple ways to underline professionalism, but one of them stands up in the crowd – never interrupt. It might be challenging to listen to a problem for a minute without interrupting, especially if the customer expresses more points of view that require individual answers. All in all, no matter how much time they need, the representative must listen to the whole story.
Asking for Permission
This call center tip is based on the subconscious. When a customer is asked for the phone number or put on hold, they'll feel neglected. If they're asked about it first, they feel important and adopt a friendlier attitude – useful when they complain
Most call centers have scripts with the company values, product details, common questions and so on. They don't have to act like robots though. They do have to provide clear and concise information, but they'll have to go around the customer's needs and interact with them. The script is nothing but a reference piece of paper, not a robot tool.
Unfortunately, many call centers overlook small details in terms of etiquette. However, well trained staff and a dedicated attitude will work wonders on customers.