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.
Choose the Right Metrics, and Monitor Them Closely
What numbers are going to accurately reflect success for your team? Will it be leads? Appointments? Revenue? Every business is different, but teams usually will not succeed without tracking their metrics.
Once you’ve defined your metrics, make sure you establish baseline numbers and attainable benchmarks. Then everyone—in-house and outsourced—gets held to the same standard, reinforced by daily and weekly reports.
Remember that numbers tell the story. Metrics are important because they tell you what’s working and what isn’t working. Everything else is just noise.
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.
Use the Customers Name
We all know that a person’s favorite word is their own name.
If you know the customers name, then you should use it. If you don’t know the customers name then you should ask them during your greeting so that you can use their name throughout the phone call.
Personalizing the call will keep it positive and upbeat. Just make sure that you are using it naturally throughout the conversation. If you are over using the name, it is going to sound forced which is exactly what you don’t want.
Using a name does keep the phone conversation personalized but look at it as though you are talking to them in person. If you were talking to someone in person you wouldn’t constantly use their name, usually it’s only used to get someone’s attention.
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.