Who enjoys sitting on the phone for five hours just to be disconnected before reaching a live person?
If “Top 10 Complaints of 2017” was a real thing, we know that this would be in the top 5. (Although, it does fall as number 5 on this top 10 consumer complaints list)
We personally know somebody who hasn’t had their cable service working properly for almost a month. Sitting on the phone for even an hour isn’t an option, let alone five.
1. Most people work full time and by the time they get home from work the LAST thing they want to do is sit on the phone for hours hoping to talk to a live customer service representative.
2. Spending quality time with family and friends becomes a priority over sitting on the phone waiting for someone to answer.
3. Nobody wants to sit on the phone for that long, especially if they don’t even think their problem will be resolved by the end of the phone call.
The list can go on... but, what’s the solution?
1. Sit on the phone and hope for the best
2. Cancel the service and find a new provider
Moral of the story?
Consumers want to be able to reach your company anywhere, anytime, at their convenience and FAST.
Technology, innovation and an amazing customer service team that will allow your consumers to reach you at all times.
Here are 5 ways that your consumers should be able to contact you in 2018:
This should be a given.
Sometimes customers have simple questions that can be answered via email. The issue could be anything from forgetting a username and password in order to access account information to answering frequently asked questions.
It’s a solution that can leave the tough customer service issues to frontline agents in a call center.
2. Social Media
If you’re looking to increase the speed of response to customers, this will be your holy grail. It’s a bit quicker than email which makes it even more convenient for consumers.
- Facebook makes it extremely easy for consumers to book appointments and ask questions about your company.
- Twitter is largely used for FAQ and customer service issues.
- LinkedIn and Instagram are also sites that can help with this but aren’t as customer service centric as the other two networks.
P.S. Be ready for any and all questions. People reach out to us on our Facebook page to set up introduction phone calls or just to acknowledge our witty and engaging content. Be ready to have a response to everything.
3. Phone Number
The beloved phone, a great customer service tool that will never go out of style.
No consumer is ever going to use email or social media to take care of an emergency. So, for all of those saying that the telephone is dying, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Upselling, cross-selling, customer engagement, platform support, and lead capturing are all going to work the best over the phone.
4. Live Chat
Some companies use a live chat as an extension on their website. This can be useful because it can pop up the second that someone enters your webpage. It can also sit at the bottom of your webpage as an option for consumers.
Facebook has this as an option too. It’s useful, cost-effective and improves customer satisfaction.
5. Contact form
You can never go wrong with a good contact form. This should be somewhere on your website, easily accessible and straightforward.
A name, phone number, email address, with a place to leave their message should be sufficient if you are a business-to-consumer company.
If you are working with other business, we recommend adding a place for the company name and the person’s title along with the information mentioned above.
You can offer the best cable packages in the entire world, but that won’t matter unless you integrate the highest quality customer service. Whether it’s online, customer forums, in person or on the phone, your consumers want to talk to you. Serve your customers, provide reliable and consistent service, and exceed their expectations.
You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.
- Jerry Fritz -
Written by: Amy Schiller
Active listening is essential for effective communication, especially when all conversations are happening over the phone. Active listening helps you understand the customers’ needs and shows that you are willing to help them sole any problems.
Always allow the person on the other end of the phone to talk without interruption so that you don’t come off as rude. Also, you should ask clarifying questions when necessary.
Before beginning the problem-solving process, summarize the main point of the conversation. This will tell the customer that you were actively listening to what they were saying. Another reason that you should summarize the main point of the conversation to the customer or client is because if you missed something, they will be able to correct you.
Record Phone Calls
Recording every call, inbound and outbound, is the flip side of all that training. Most top call centers routinely record their calls—along with daily live agent monitoring—for training and quality control purposes.
Your representatives aren’t going to get any better if you aren’t recording their calls. If there is a bad conversation that takes place, review the call with them and discuss how things can be improved. If there is a good phone call that takes place, you can use this to review with them everything they did to make the conversation go so well. Have them take notes when going over recordings so that they can use it as a future reference.
Recording phone calls and playing them back is how you can learn too. You can find things that your employees are doing well and use that as a guide. When you find things that employees aren’t doing well and pain points, you can relay the message to them and find a way to fix the situation.
Train Representatives Appropriately
Customer service representatives should be rigorously trained and tested on scripts, prompts, company products and services in order to ensure that they professionally represent your company in front of clients and customers. You should want everyone involved to have the most professional experience and to better serve your customers during the process.
Most training is going to be done with the call script. Some people don’t think that a call script is necessary. It is necessary and it better be a strong one too.
Your team needs to practice your customer service process until it becomes second nature. Your scripts should be customized to engage the people on the other end of the call, with detailed answers to Frequently Asked Questions and prompts for overcoming likely objections.
Customer service representatives are the face of your company. This means that there always has to be a level of professionalism throughout the entire conversation.
It’s important to remain professional not only for the company, but for your customers too.
If there is an issue with the customer, you should put them on hold and call a manager over. Managers have a lot of experience in the field and should be able to fix almost any situation.
This means that you should have amazing managers on the floor that you trust. All employees should trust the managers. This means that people working below, above or with managers should trust them.
Leave the Customer Satisfied
At the end of the conversation, make sure that the customer knows what was accomplished on the phone call. If you are going to pass along information, help them understand what you are passing along. If you need to contact them again, let them know when they should expect to hear from you.
Always make sure that the customer knows what the call accomplished before they hang up the phone.
If the customer needs to call you back or call a different line, be ready to transfer them or give them the correct number to call.
If transferring somebody, get the person you are transferring on the phone and then connect them with the customer. Introduce them to one another and then let them know that you are going to hang up.
Finish the conversation with, “have a nice day” or “it was nice talking to you today.” Happily ending the conversation will leave them with a positive experience.
Leaving the customer satisfied can transform a negative experience into a positive one.
All phone conversations should be sincere. When you greet the person on the phone, say hello and be genuine. Try to avoid greetings that are scripted because they sound very inauthentic. A great idea would be to practice your own greeting and having a couple of them.
If there is a script that you have to follow, try to add your own touch to it. This will help the person on the other end connect to you better which is what you want, especially if you are trying to land an appointment or sell a product.
When in conversation be sure to state the name of the company that you are working for, your name, and your assistance. This will ease the customer into the conversation and let them know that you are ready to help them.
During the phone conversation, you should be sure to speak clearly. Use simple words and phrases. This way, the phone call will never become overly complicated.
The very last thing you want to do is confuse the person that you are on the phone with. Stay clear of jargon and complex vocabulary so that it’s easy for them to follow along with what you are saying.
Try not to use filler words like “um, yeah, like” because this can turn off the person that is on the phone. It is also very unprofessional. If these are words that you use often when speaking, practice taking a pause during those moments.
Two things that will definitely make it difficult for someone to understand you is chewing gum and eating food when you are on the phone. Nobody wants to hear chomping while having a conversation with you. It can also lead to mumbled speech.
Smile and Dial
The QCSS way! Be sure to smile when you are talking to customers and clients on the phone. Although it may be a cliché, a smile can be heard through the telephone.
On the first day of 12 days of QCSS, we talked about how necessary it is to be positive and friendly on the phone. A smile will help you exchange a positive and productive conversation, so keep on smiling!
Keep your employees smiling by offering incentives which will keep them motivated. Sometimes, it’s hard talking on the phone to customers, clients and prospects every day. This can bring employees down.
Give them a reason to stay smiling. If you are a manager, radiate a positive energy to them so that they can feed off of the attitude and deliver it on the phone.