How to Master Your Customer Service Phone Skills
Customer service is one of those things that may seem simple, but it’s difficult to master. A company with a great customer service team can get amazing results. On that same note, poor customer service may lead you to no business at all. It’s important to capitalize on your phone skills when handling customer service.
According to research by NewVoiceMedia, 51% of customers would never use a company again if they had a negative experience. You have a 50/50 chance of keeping a customer, depending on how helpful you are. Are those odds that you’d like for customer retention?
Then you should look at how you can master your customer service phone skills. Here are some useful hints and tips that can turn you into a customer service expert.
1. Call Them By Their Name
Referring to your customers on a first name basis is a huge factor. It implies familiarity and sincerity. It shows that there’s a personal touch to your customer service.
Usually, when using a person’s name, the experience they get should be unique. This might be difficult to put in place for larger companies, but for small companies, it’s a no-brainer. Refer to their specific case and the products/services they’ve purchased in the past.
Make sure you don’t abuse this though. Sprinkle in their name naturally when it’s applicable to the conversation. Adding that little personal touch is essential to a good customer service representative.
2. Have A Positive Tone
Nobody likes talking to a sad, monotone voice over the phone. It affects morale and shows your customer that the company culture is poor. A customer service rep who doesn’t want to be there is the only validation a customer needs to leave a company.
Be sure to install a positive tone culture within your customer service team. Having an enthusiastic and attentive tone can do wonders for the customer service experience. You don’t have to overdo it though.
Keep your speaking rate even and calm. Speak with confidence and project yourself. The customer will appreciate speaking with someone who knows what’s happening when they reach out for help.
3. Sincerity Is A Virtue
Be sincere over the phone. Too many CS centers offer an automated script that each agent uses every time they pick up the phone. It’s tacky and obvious to most people.
Instead, be sincere with your greeting. Customer service is all about talking with customers. A sincere greeting and conversation can change the entire outcome of a call. According to a survey by Genesys, 40% of the 9,000 respondents stated that better human service is key to a good customer support experience.
Give clear answers and expectations when speaking with customers. If you’re unsure of an answer, give them an expected timeframe that you need to look up the answer. Customers can appreciate a genuine effort to help solve their problems.
4. Don’t Use Slang Words
Try to keep your language professional, even if your company is a young or hip brand. Do not use slang or buzzwords. A customer is looking for a service that shows them that they’re in good hands.
Some examples include using “All right” instead of “Okay” when giving someone the affirmative. Other choices could include “certainly” or “very well”. Also, try not to add too many filler phrases while you talk. Using “um” or “like” too often can take away the professionalism from a brand’s image.
5. Keep Intros Short And Succinct
When answering a call, a simple “Hello, this is __ from __. How can I help you?” will do. There’s no need to go into a long-winded introduction.
A customer needs to know who they’re talking to and that they got the right number. Once they’ve confirmed that, they can share their problem or inquiry. Give your customers the necessary information so that you can proceed with the call.
6. Do Not Interrupt A Customer
Never interrupt a customer, especially a complaining customer. This might seem like a difficult task, but your team needs to learn how to stay in control. A customer needs to feel heard whenever they have an issue.
The last thing you want to do is interrupt a customer AND talk back to them. A complaining customer might make things personal by insulting you as an agent, but you can’t let that get to you. You must remain professional and listen to their side of the story, even if you know you’ll be passing them off to an appropriate department.
7. Learn To Use The Hold Button
Make sure that your team knows how to use your phone system. The hold button is a customer service rep’s best friend. It can save you from embarrassment and mistakes.
Instead of covering the mouthpiece or holding it up to your chest, press the hold button. Let your customer know that you’ll be back in a second to get them the results they need. The hold button is a tool that helps you manage your customer’s expectations.
8. Keep Customers Updated
The last thing you want are customers that feel out of their element during a call. As you progress through a customer’s inquiries, make sure you are keeping them up to date. Let them know what you’re doing to solve their problem.
A good way of doing this is to inform them of every major step you’re going through to help them solve their issue. Your customers will appreciate the transparency and will understand how you’re using your time.
9. Handle Angry Customers With Care
It’s inevitable that you’ll handle an angry customer every once in a while. The key is to learn how to handle them with grace. It’s a skill that takes some getting used to.
First off, never tell the customer to calm down. This has the opposite effect and will lead to an even angrier customer. Instead, you need to meet your customers in the middle. If they’re raising their voice, meet their volume with words of understanding. Once the customer feels like they’re getting their message through, you can push on to the solution.
Be sure to smile when you’re talking to customers, even on the phone. Don’t put on a phony fake smile, but try to genuinely smile. A smile can do wonders for your voice over the phone.
A customer can’t see your face or your body language over the phone. The only thing they can base their first impression of you on is your voice and inflection. Be sure to smile when you talk and your customers will feel more at ease.
Master Your CS Phone Skills
One phone call is enough to either keep or lose a customer. Mastering your phone skills is an important part of running a business. Your customer service reps need to know how to deal with customers of all types.
Alternatively, you could hire a live answering service that will take care of all your phone customer service needs. We offer solutions for all your customer service problems. Your first step starts here.
Author: Michael Cynar
Michael Cynar has over 30 years of executive call center and answering service experience. He is a successful business owner and lead generation expert and shares tips to help other entrepreneurs build and grow their business through leads generation and lead capture solutions. His mission is to share carefully guarded marketing tips that will help small-medium business compete on a smaller budget.