Customer service, no matter what department it’s in or the means of communication, is imperative to a company’s survival and growth in the modern economy. Customers are looking for personable, informative and professional businesses that truly care about their needs and concerns. If you feel your business needs to improve its telephone customer service at your company, then keep reading below!
Use a Positive Tone
If you want to make your customers feel more comfortable on the line, then you need to adopt a natural, attentive and enthusiastic tone. One way you can improve the tone you use for customers is to smile when you greet the person on the other end of the line. It might seem cliché or even downright unnecessary, but smiling is able to be heard through the phone. Smiling as soon as you connect with a client begins the interaction on a positive note and creates room for a friendly and productive exchange.
In addition, you should be aware of your vocal qualities during the phone call, making sure to control your pitch, rate of speech and overall timbre. The average person speaks at a rate of 130 to 150 words a minute. When you match this rate on the phone you project confidence and understanding. Anything faster makes it hard for the customer to understand what you’re saying, and anything slower might give customers the impression that you are lazy or uninterested.
Try an exercise such as timing yourself to ensure that the rate at which you are speaking is between 130 and 150 words a minute. You should also keep the pitch and tone of your voice in mind as you’re on the phone, too.
A high pitch will indicate youth and will often fail to project an authoritative image. However, a low pitch will sound harsh, especially when it’s over the phone. A good call handler needs to find that middle ground and vary their inflection to sound natural and interested. A monotonous voice will make someone come across as unenthusiastic and bored.
Controlling all of these factors and smiling guarantees a positive tone on the telephone and greatly improves your company’s customer service skills and results.
Message Direct discuss the merits of customer service and why it matters because the initial contact a customer makes with a company is imperative to customer satisfaction and future sales.
Conversations where customers are not able to understand what someone is saying on the other end of the phone can turn tense and hostile within moments. Understanding someone on the other end of the line helps people feel relaxed.
Whenever you’re on the phone with a customer, speak clearly. Pronounce words clearly and use simple phrases and words. Don’t use any complex vocabulary for two reasons: the first being that customers might not understand what you’re saying, and the second being your customers might mishear you because they expect a more common word. This confusion can cause some serious tension.
The last thing any company wants to do is make a customer feel inferior or confuse a customer. Avoid slang and filler words. Say “yes” instead of “yeah”, and never say “er” or “um” because these detract from the quality of your interaction. If you have a tendency to use words such as “um” or “like”, then practice taking a pause instead.
Eating or chewing gum during a conversation will also lead to mumbled speech, so avoid both of those practices to optimise customer service.
Always Be Sincere
Beginning with a greeting, a conversation over the phone has to be genuine and sincere. Saying hello and being honest with your tone will make customers feel they’re talking with someone who understands their concerns or their questions. Try avoiding a scripted greeting, because most of these sound inauthentic and artificial.
Include the company’s name in your greeting as well as your name, and an offer of assistance as soon as you answer. If you’re receiving a phone call that has been transferred or you’re working a switchboard, state the name of the department you’re working in to give the client the proper information. Doing this eases the customer into the exchange and allows them to know you’re calm and ready to help them.
Once you’re in the middle of the conversation, be sure to give the customer honest answers. Be sure you word these phrases in a positive manner, because you don’t want to add negativity to an exchange. Avoid phrase such as ‘I don’t know’, ‘I can’t’, and ‘Just a second’. Be specific about the length of time a task will take and state what you can do rather than what you’re not able to do.
When you answer a caller’s questions with sincerity and positivity, it helps to satisfy them by the end of your conversation together and it calms down an angry caller.
Use Their Name
Writing down the customer’s first name or at least their initials when you first receive the call will help you remember their name and personalise the call for you and the customer. While the customer’s name should be used, it should not be abused.
Include it naturally in the conversation, and don’t be afraid to ask for the proper pronunciation of their name. Most customers appreciate the gesture, and they especially appreciate it if you get the spelling correct, too.
Leave Them Satisfied
Finishing the conversation on a positive note and leaving a customer feeling satisfied creates a long-term relationship with that person.
In order to achieve a satisfactory ending to a phone call, be sure the caller understands the information that has been passed to them before you hang up the phone. Ask them if there is anything else they need help with that day, and answer any final questions they have in order to ensure complete satisfaction. In addition, provide any information they might need in the future. If they have to call back, share the best contact times and with whom they ought to speak.
Once everything has been shared that has to be shared with the customer, finish the call with a friendly tone. Tell them to have a nice day or that it was nice talking with them, allowing the customer to know you would be willing to help them again in the future and that the experience was positive for you, too.
When you take the time to end a phone call conversation on a positive note, it helps customers who called in who were angry to begin with feel relaxed and calm by the end, leaving them with the impression they can always call for help the next time.
Customer service skills over the phone are important, because in most cases a telephone call is a customer’s initial contact with the company. Opening up the conversation with a positive tone, keeping it positive throughout and ending it on a positive note makes customers feel secure with the choice they made to reach out to a company, and will almost always end with more sales in the future.