Many of us are very opinionated about how another business handles the way their business is conducted over the phone. We know what we like, we know what annoys us and we know what makes us downright angry. We have probably been at the point of having a broken relationship with a company based on the way our call or calls were handled.
Have you ever thought about the fact that the way a call is answered, processed and completed is Customer Service at the most basic level? Do you realize that when a call in answered professionally and pleasantly, processed efficiently and effectively and completed in a way that satisfies the caller, that is Classic Customer Service and can earn you a customer for decades?
One of the best things you can do to elevate customer satisfaction is to evaluate the customer service process. Remember: The first phone call is the beginning of your relationship with the caller.
To truly evaluate the customer experience, you need to become one. (A customer, that is!) If you are able, make calls to your company at all times of the business day and after-hours; pretend to have various problems, questions and situations and see how they are handled. If you are unable to make the calls, have a friend or associate make them. Some of the evaluation points were discussed in my previous post; in this post I will talk about the ‘body’ of the call.
After the initial answer, the caller should quickly understand the direction of their call. They should know if the person they are speaking to will help them or if they will be directed to another person or department. They should never be put on hold or transferred without knowing what is happening. If the person answering the phone will not be helping them, they should have the skill set in place to quickly assess what the caller needs and put them on the road to getting it. This is a trainable skill but needs to be used with intentionality and a helpful attitude.
When the caller is routed to another person or department, they should be treated with respect and patience. Many times the person receiving the call is already in the middle of something and does not need one more problem or one more thing to do. Regardless of what may be happening in the moment, they should answer the phone and process the call with patience and a gracious attitude. The caller needs to feel ‘heard’ and ‘helped’.
In my next post I will discuss how to make sure a caller feels ‘heard’ and ‘helped’. Meanwhile, go ahead and make those test calls…