It is hard to believe how drastically a company is affected when a phone conversation is mishandled. Many people don’t think about a 30 second phone call as part of customer service, but it is.
It doesn’t take most of us too long to think of a time when we were on the receiving end of a mishandled call and how it made us feel…frustrated?, angry?, confused? At the very least I am sure you felt you were not ‘cared about’ or ‘cared for’ by that person and – ultimately – the company that they represented.
Poor call handling can create an environment in which a customer or potential customer feels they are not appreciated and, when that happens, you’ve already lost them. Here are some suggestions to help when processing calls:
We need to care about our company and what product or service it provides. We need to care about our co-workers and what strengths they bring to the table. We need to care about our clients because, after all, we wouldn’t have a job at all if we didn’t have any clients! Caring births appreciation; if you genuinely care, it will be heard in your voice.
There will always be situations in which we will stumble and people will always ask questions that we don’t know the answers to. Be confident that you know where to go to get the information you need and confidently say to the caller, “I don’t know but I will find out for you.” Or how about, “I am not sure but I will put you in touch with Joe; he will be able to help you.” The end result of the call will be that the caller feels ‘helped’.
Always be polite and professional and show empathy and consideration to the caller. Make them think you identify with their problem, concern or objective. This can be very challenging when you are dealing with someone that is irate or belligerent but it is a valuable tool that will ultimately help to bring the call to a successful closure. Choose to pick up that tool and use it; your considerate treatment of all callers will elevate your entire company in the eyes of that person.
Be willing to go the extra mile to help the client. Don’t push them off because they are making your life too complicated! Take a message, get the person they need to speak to, help them come to a conclusion, take some time to answer their questions. Be the person that you would like to be speaking to; provide the help that you would like to receive.
Providing great customer service can be fairly simple. Be intentional and always treat the caller as you would like to be treated. The benefits will – by far - outweigh the effort!