People who are unhappy or who need help want a solution as quickly as possible, and a phone call is typically the way to make that happen.
Most customer service communication happens over the phone. It’s both more immediate and more personal than email exchanges, and results typically come faster.
Many of these phone calls aren’t particularly pleasant to start out with. Customers are coming to you confused and needing information or even breathing fire on the other end of the call.
The burden is placed on the customer service representative to turn a generally unpleasant experience into a decidedly pleasant one, especially if they want to keep the customer happy.
So how can you make customers happy through the phone call, no matter what they’re calling for?
In this post, we’re going to go over 6 ways to make your customer happy over the phone, all of which are used daily by the best expert agents to deliver customer service excellent every time.
1. Direct them where they need to go the first time
When you go to the doctor’s office, you’ll have to go over the full story of what’s going on with the nurse, and then again with the doctor, and potentially a third time for a medical student.Customers want to work with brands that treat them like real people. They also want to be working with real people in return Click To Tweet
Its exhausting to explain the same thing over and over again, so when you’re on a phone call with your client, you never want to have to ask them to repeat their story multiple times.
Not only will that alone be aggravating, but it can increase their overall frustration, hearing their problems over and over again.
Bypass the game of hot potato and make sure that your customers get to the person they need to speak to the first time around. Tools such as an auto attendant make this possible, think “Press 1 for new patients, Press 2 for existing patients” etc.
This will make things easier on you as well as significantly improve the client’s experience.
2. Reduce wait times
Everyone is always in a rush. No one wants to spend 20 minutes listening to your waiting-on-hold song for twenty minutes. By the time that they’ll get to your customer service representative, they’ll be about ready to blow if they weren’t when they got on the call to begin with.
Do everything you can to reduce wait times customers experience before they get to you. If this means adding more online options for them to get in touch, you can do so.Even if the customer is unhappy, you can use a positive phone call to turn the situation around and rescue the guest experience. Click To Tweet
In many cases, it means adding additional team members to your customer service phone lines or recruiting third-party call service agents to represent your business well.
Another great option is to give customers the choice to leave a call back number so that they don’t have to wait on hold. Their spot in the queue is reserved, and the agent simply calls the customer back when they’re available instead of having them wait.
If you can’t get away from long call waits, this will improve your customer’s experience significantly.
3. Make small talk
Small talk almost always improves the quality of a phone call. Not only will it distract a customer during a long wait time while you look up information or flag down a manager, but it also provides a powerful relationship-building opportunity.
Customers want to work with brands that treat them like real people. They also want to be working with real people in return.
Asking them about their day and making a joke (if the tone of the call is right) can go a long way in showing customers that you are invested in the conversation and them.
If you hear a dog bark in the background, for example, you can ask what kind of dog they have. Swapping stories about your dogs only takes fifteen to thirty seconds. But can make a big impact on the customer’s feeling about the call by establishing trust and focusing on something positive.
4. Use positive language
How you frame the situation will affect the user’s outlook of the entire call. Apologize for their negative experience if appropriate, but then launch into using positive language as soon as possible.
Instead of saying “sorry for the wait,” switch to “thank you so much for your patience.” Swap out “Unfortunately we can’t do that,” focus on “Here’s what we can do for you.”
This will help you to make sure that the customer is left with a better taste in their mouth, and small subtle changes in language can make an impact in how they view what’s going on.
5. Be an active listener
A lot of customer service representatives are busy.
That’s even more true for their managers or for the owners of a business. We all have a million things on our mind at any point. But when you’re on the phone call with a customer, you need to put those other things aside and focus on the conversation at hand.
Customers will be able to tell the second they don’t have your full attention. Be an active participant in the conversation. Ask for clarification if and when relevant; don’t want for someone to go through the whole story and then say you didn’t understand.
If necessary, jot down notes so you can remember the key facts at hand so you don’t need to ask users to repeat themselves.
Other active listening tips include:
- Using the customer’s name throughout the conversation
- Go over a quick recap of the problem at hand to ensure that you’re on the same page
- Don’t interrupt, and wait for them to finish their thoughts
6. Offer additional follow up if needed
Sometimes, you won’t necessarily be able to resolve a problem instantly on one call. You may need the customer to submit paperwork or files. Take certain steps, or wait for something to process before you can complete their request.
If this is the case, let the customer know this up front. Then explain why they’ll need to go through the multi-step process to prevent frustration. You should also let them know exactly what’s needed next, how to get back in touch, and who to reach out to for the next steps.
Think about the last time you or a friend was in a car accident because someone rear-ended you. You call the other driver’s insurance, and you know that multiple steps will be needed and multiple people will need to be spoken to before you can get your checks and repairs as needed.
You want a representative who will be happy to answer all your questions up front and explain the process, even if it will take time to go through it in its entirety.
When customers call your business, they want quick but complete solutions to any concerns they have. Even if that’s just getting information about a product or service your business offers. Even if the customer is unhappy, you can use a positive phone call to turn the situation around and rescue the guest experience.
Ensure that your customer service representatives are trained in each of these methods, because small differences can make huge impacts over time.
About the Author
Jamie Lowary is the Channel Relations Manager for PATLive, a 24/7 live answering service. PATLive utilizes top-notch agents and proprietary scripting software to take calls for thousands of businesses nationwide. For more customer experience focused content, follow @JamieNLowary on Twitter.