Have you ever thought about the fact that ‘common courtesy’ is really quite ‘uncommon’ in our fast-paced and sometimes uncaring world today? Treating someone in the way you would like to be treated is never the wrong way to act. However, especially on the phone, going to the next level will always create an environment in which the caller will feel ‘heard’ and ‘cared for’.
Think about these things the next time you answer the phone:
As frustrating as it may be, each call that we process is unique; it comes with its own personality and set of circumstances. As you listen to the caller and try to deal with their questions/concerns/problems think boldly and creatively. Think about what might work for them as well as what might work for your company. Sometimes the caller appears to have a huge problem but, when you offer a small-but-creative solution, they are thrilled with the suggestion. You may just have helped them with that next level of customer service!
Control on the phone means two things: Call Control and a Controlled Voice. Always practice good call control; don’t let the caller take you places you don’t want to go. Choose one or two phrases that enable you to get control of the call and use them. (‘Let me help you with that…’ or ‘I can help you by first obtaining some information…’) Even though you may be dealing with a very rude or unreasonable person, always converse with them in a professional and friendly manner; use a controlled tone of voice at all times. Surprisingly enough, lowering your voice will often cause the caller to lower theirs!
Being respectful, using a pleasant tone and having a smile in your voice is contagious and almost always invites the caller to respond in the same way. It may take a few moments for them to realize that you are not going to buy into their grumpy behavior but most people will calm down when their call is being handled the way they really wanted…without screaming. And, if they choose not to participate, they WILL remember that you treated them in the manner in which they felt they deserved.
If you have told the caller you are going to do something…make sure you do it! It may be a call or a note, it may mean you need to walk to the next department, but you need to do it. Better yet, take it to the next level and do something they didn’t expect…they will not forget it!
Be the person that commonly provides uncommon customer service. Raising the bar to the next level and holding it there creates an environment of mutual respect that cannot be beat.