Fantastic customer service is vital for business success. However, many companies drop the ball when it comes to offering attentive, high-quality telephone-based customer service. Here are 8 tips for improving your customer service telephone etiquette:
Smile and Monitor Your Voice
It may sound corny, but a smile can be heard through a telephone. Answering phone calls with a smile helps to start the conversation off on a positive note, and paves the way for a friendly and productive exchange.
You should also consider your pitch, we shouldn’t be too high (as this lacks authority) or too low (as this sounds harsh) and the speed at which you talk. The average person says between 130-150 words per minute – less than this will make you sound slow or lazy, and more than this will make you difficult to understand. If you’re not sure how many words you say per minute, record yourself talking at your normal pace and find out! A phone call represents the voice of your business – make sure that your calls present your company in the best light possible.
By ‘speak clearly’ we mean enunciate your words and avoid using overly complex vocabulary, jargon or slang. If you confuse the customer, they will feel inferior and this will detract from the quality of your conversation. Also, this may sound obvious, but don’t eat, drink or chew gum during the phone call! You might think you’re being subtle, but it’s likely the customer can hear it.
The main objective of a customer phone call is to be as helpful and positive as possible, so you don’t want to introduce any negativity into the exchange. Try to state what you can do rather than what you can’t, and if you are unsure about something, seek assistance. The customer should feel informed, heard and like you are doing everything you can to assist them. You also need to make sure that you really listen to what the customer is saying. This can be easier if you visualise the person (even if you don’t know what they look like) and take notes. Finally, it is hard to sound sincere if you are reading directly from a script. If you need to read from a script, try to adapt the wording to suit your natural vocabulary and way of speaking. Scripted lines sound artificial and inauthentic.
Leave the Customer Satisfied
Ending a conversation on the right note is very important if you want a happy customer. To leave a customer satisfied, make sure that you do everything you can to assist them, and if you can’t solve the problem immediately clearly state the steps you will be taking towards a resolution. Ending a conversation in a positive manner can transform what may have started as a frustrated phone call into a pleasant customer service experience.
Have Great On Hold Messages
Do you ever need to put your customers on hold? If so, it is essential that you have on hold messages that will leave your customers feeling informed and relaxed – not annoyed! The right on hold messages can be a great marketing tool for your business, relaying helpful information and subtle marketing messages whilst reassuring your callers that they will be attended to shortly.