The Ultimate Guide to Satisfactory Telephone Customer Service
How a business deals with customers can make or break its success.
Everybody will always appreciate good customer service, even if they face minor problems. But one wrong move in handling a phone call, and things can go downhill really fast. Bad reviews will keep coming and all that goodwill your company worked so hard to achieve will be destroyed.
So how do you handle such a fragile state of affairs? Keep reading for some tips on how your business can ensure excellent telecommunication for customer care.
1. Clear Communication is Key
Customers call for clarity – so it’s your job to make sure they understand what you’re saying. Your operators should have clear enunciation and speak at a pace that your customers can keep up with.
Sometimes the operator has to make personal calls and assess the situation themselves. Not all customers come from the same educational background or catch things as quickly.
Perhaps you might get someone elderly calling, who has less knowledge of technology. In cases like these, the operators should be patient and explain things slowly and clearly.
They should mirror the customer’s language, and speak to them in the same way. For instance, using advanced vocabulary or industry jargon with someone who is not as fluent will not be of any help and at times counterproductive.
2. Be Careful with Wording
When you’re a call operator, you need to have a superpower that filters all that you say. I kid you not – wording actually matters. And there are certain “red flag” words and phrases you should always avoid.
Things like “We can’t help you with that” or “That’s not our policy” are major negative responses that every agent should avoid. They tell the customer that there is no help or that the operator is not taking things seriously or acting responsibly.
Even if the situation is one where you cannot help, you should try and suggest another course of action. So, for example, if someone asks for something outside of your scope, simply say “Unfortunately, my department does not handle these issues, but I can reconnect you to the proper person”.
3. Listening Goes a Long Way
The first step to communicating with a customer is to listen to their problems. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often this is an issue.
Actively listening to the customer, without forming a response immediately allows you to understand the problem well. So, let the customer say all they need to and don’t rush to the solution.
Even if you know the answer already, letting the customer speak allows them to feel heard. It also lets the customer know that you are actually interested to help.
Try asking a few extra questions to get more details on the problem. This automatically adds points in customer satisfaction and will help your understanding of the problem.
4. Be Polite at All Times
Customer service means you have to be polite at all times, even in difficult situations. It really helps to start off the conversation with a good greeting and carry on with a smile.
Nobody can see your smile – but it does make a difference by the tone on your speech. Your operators should not sound bothered or tired. The customer should not feel like they are disturbing the operator by their queries.
Of course, sometimes customers can get short-tempered – but even then, it is important to stay calm and reply politely. Being polite, however, doesn’t mean the operator gets too friendly.
It’s imperative to know when to take a stand and be firm. The key is to keep the tone friendly and personal while using professional and business-oriented words.
5. Train Your Operators
Your Operators have a huge responsibility, and should definitely be trained to tackle all sorts of situations. So, make sure the hiring process is thorough, and the operators have the basic skills to handle phone calls with strangers.
Arrange training sessions for your operators and give them practical examples. Role-playing techniques are a good way of giving operators a good understanding of what they might face.
It also gives you an idea of how they might be performing in real life.
Make sure your employees have a good understanding of your products and services. Although they will get external help, knowing the basics can really speed up the process and make calls for efficient.
6. Speed it Up
The worst thing you can do for customer service is to make people wait for too long. Nobody wants to be on hold for an hour, listening to generic music on the phone. They expect immediate help, especially if they’re making the effort to call.
The best way to make the calls as efficient as possible to hire a good number of operators, and keep separate channels for different inquiries. It’s also wise to keep information easily accessible and digitized, so operators can give prompt responses.
Consider keeping a centralized knowledge system, with responses to some questions and scenarios prepared beforehand. Keeping everything digitized speeds up the process greatly, allowing operators to find solutions simply by typing in a keyword.
7. Consider a Call Back Option
If you have a very active business, it’s normal to get a lot of calls and want to speed up the process. But to ensure quality service, a rushed phone call will not help. In that case, you might consider adding a callback option.
Calling back the customer for problems that you can’t solve on spot lets the operator transfer the call to a different line. So, another operator can truly analyze the problem with time and give the customer a proper solution.
It’s wise to schedule these calls since the customer might not be available at all times. This makes for great customer service and builds trust among your clients.
8. Carry Out Regular Quality Checks
You can’t leave customer service entirely up to the operators. As an owner, you should also do regular quality checks and take note of customer feedback. In fact, it’s also a good idea to have recordings of every single call.
Recordings mean you can do random monthly checks and identify your operator’s mistakes. It will also help to analyze more scenarios and train your operators to handle future incidents.
However, make sure recording calls is legal in your state first.
A call being recorded also gives customers the impression that you care. If you have a recording, you’ll most likely listen back to their problems.
9. Set Realistic Expectations
State clearly in all your pages how long it will take for you to respond. It’s also wise to have a slightly longer waiting time, so your customer won’t have unrealistic expectations when they are on hold.
This way, even if you are late or the customer does have to wait, they can’t really blame you.
It’s always better to promise less and deliver more than to not meet up to expectations. So, if you set realistic expectations beforehand, customers are less likely to get disappointed.
In such cases, if you give fast responses and over perform, you’ll definitely get a good review.
10. Take External Help
In this day and age, relying solely on telecommunication for customer service is not wise. Of course, phone calls are a lot more personal and helpful. But to make the whole process more efficient, you should consider using social media as well.
Be very responsive in your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Pages. You can also set up AI bots to answer queries in your inbox. This way, the simpler questions, and problems get answered easily, and it reduces the stress on your operators.
You could also hire professional and experienced companies like Telus customer care to handle telecommunication services. This is the route renowned companies like Apple and Whirlpool have taken to ensure their customers get quality care.
Customer care may sound like a nightmare, but it really isn’t that difficult to crack. The most important step is to be as organized as possible and have a quality system, with trained staff.
Be aware of your business stats, popular queries and when most calls come in. This information will help you create efficiency in schedules and preplan as much as possible.
At the end of the day, sincerity and willingness to help will win you the most customer satisfaction points. Keep that in mind, and you’ll be good to go!