Customer Service: Making Every Phone Call Great!
The phone rings. I answer it with trembling hand, because at the time I was an Eastern Regional Customer Service Manager for Matheson Tri-gas. Outside calls usually meant a displeased customer that asked for the manager. I thought “What did one of my customer service representatives do now?” After taking a deep breath, I answer the call to an anger customer. Funny thing was that the customer did not have a real problem… No late delivery, No billing issue, etc. He just did not like the way the customer service representative talk to him in a gruff manner. In fact, he got the information he needed. This article focuses on how to make every call GREAT!
What makes a GREAT call?
These five points will make your calls go smoothly and inspire that WOW feeling in your customers.
Greet the customer with style
The greeting sets the tone for the call. Before picking up the receiver, you should take a deep breath and get focused in the moment. Ready, Set, Go and answer the call. You need to answer the phone with the same greeting every time. The greeting starts with the “Hi”, “Hello”, “Good morning”, or “Good afternoon”. Next step is to state your company’s name. This might sound simple but you want the customer to know that they reached the right business. Third, you build instant rapport by stating your name. Finally, ask “how may I help you?” This statement leads into our next important topic of the tone of your voice.
Set the tone with your voice
Voice tone is a vital ingredient to the great call. You see, we receive almost 80% of a message through non verbal communication. On the phone, you stripe out all the hand motions, body postures, and facial expressions of a face to face conversation. This leaves you with only the tone of voice for non-verbal communication on the phone. To get the full impact on the phone, I suggest slightly exaggerating your tone of voice and voice inflection. Yes, I know it will feel strange at first, but you don’t want to end up like the customer service rep in the story above. Do you?
Tom Hopkins, a world renowned speaker on sales, says to place a mirror on your desk and smile before answer the phone. I got all of my customer service rep mirrors for their computers. Why smile? Smiling puts you in the right frame of mind, to answer the call with compassion and empathy. Smiling also affects your voice tone, helping you not sound so gruff. Even if the customer is angry, keep that smile on our face. It will help you control your emotions so that you will remain calm under fire and not get defensive.
Use their name
Nothing builds rapport quicker than using the customer’s name. On the call, you should say there name at least 3 time during the call. If you have difficulty remembering names, the best tip for this is to repeat it back to them. When the customer says “Hi, my name is Tom”, you simply say “Hi Tom, how can I assist you today?” or “Hi Tom, how are you today?” Don’t stop there. I always have a pad and paper next to the phone and write it down. If you can not understand, for example a customer with a heavy accent, I ask them to spell their name. I suggest stating their name at the beginning of the conversation, somewhere in the middle, and at the end, which takes us to the final point of thanking the caller.
Thank the caller
Thanking the caller is an often missed but important step. Thank the caller and make sure you use their name in the process. Instead of just stating goodbye, thank them for using your business. This step makes the customer feel appreciated and leaves a positive last impression.
As you can tell, you can minimize problems and create a great call with slight adjustment to your interaction with the customer. By starting the call with an excellent greeting, a great tone, and super attitude, you benefit by the customers reacting to you more positively. Most importantly, remember to make every call GREAT.