Customer-centric companies are benefitting from increasing the service quality of their phone conversations. Making these customer interactions more personal, professional and effective can increase customer satisfaction, promote a positive brand image and increase revenue for the company.
Enhancing the customer service techniques of call center agents should therefore be a focus of any customer-centric company.
Below is a list of 14 techniques to provide amazing customer service over the phone.
1. Engage in active listening
Active listening is essential for effective communication. It allows for a better understanding of the customers’ needs and shows a willingness to help. Allow the customer to talk without interruption, reflect back their main question or concern and ask clarifying questions when necessary.
2. Highlight understanding
Ensure that each customer is aware that you understood their needs. By using active listening techniques and asking relevant questions, you will communicate that you understand them and are making an effort to help solve their problem.
3. Be Courteous
Be polite and have respect for your customers. Always use “please” and “thank you” and create an inviting environment for the customers.
4. Call the customer by his name
Ask the customer their name and pronounce it correctly. This communicates respect for the customer and lets them know that they are important.
5. Go the extra mile
Demonstrate through actions that the customer is important by giving more than the minimum effort required. By taking the initiative to provide better service or give the customer something extra, customers will feel valued and appreciated.
6. Ask, don’t demand
Statements can sound harsh. Asking appropriate questions makes the conversation more collaborative.
Empower customers with adequate information to make informed decisions. When there are options, thoroughly describe each available alternative. By offering choices, customers will be more involved in solving their problems. This results in a higher level of customer satisfaction.
8. Be proactive
Engage in proactive steps to satisfy the customer’s needs. Being proactive will also help to reduce barriers when problem solving.
9. Highlight pros and cons
When describing a product or service, include both its strengths and weaknesses relative to alternatives. By providing balanced recommendations, customers will view you as more credible. This increases trust and customer satisfaction.
Customers are not always familiar with your company’s policies or procedures. Thoroughly explain to customers what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. A clear understanding tends to decrease customer frustration.
11. Use plain language
Avoid technical terms, jargon and acronyms. Be professional, concise and clear. (View the article The 7 Cs of Powerful Communication)
12. Refer when necessary
When the customer’s needs are beyond your expertise or level of competency, refer them to a colleague, a supervisor or manager. Always explain to the customer that they will be transferred to someone that can effectively address their problem. Ensure that the referred party is provided with the necessary information to help the customer.
13. Keep the right distance
Be aware of your customer’s comfort zone and increase or decrease your distance accordingly. Adjust your behavior when a customer shows that you are too close or too distant.
14. Summarize conversations
Summarize the main point of the conversation before engaging in the problem solving process. This will demonstrate that you were listening attentively. It will also facilitate a mutual understanding between you and customer.
Applying the 14 aforementioned techniques will increase the professionalism and effectiveness of customer interactions. If fostered within all employees, they can increase the quality of the level of customer service provided by a company and transform how employees interact with customers.