Bad telephone customer service is one of the great frustrations of life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. No matter what your business, delivering great customer service over the phone can be the difference between a return customer and an unhappy one.
Here are just 5 tips for delivering great customer service over the phone.
Probably the most important thing is to listen. It sounds simple, but not listening properly is probably the root of most bad telephone customer service.
Pay attention to what the customer is saying. If you don’t understand, ask questions until you do. If you can get this right, then you can figure out how to help them appropriately. Without this understanding, both you and the customer end up frustrated, and the issue unresolved.
Being kept on hold is one of the biggest irritations of telephone customer service. Of course it is sometimes a necessity, but if it can be avoided then it should be. If you know you’ll be a while following something up, offer to call the customer back.
If this isn’t possible, be sure to come back on the line and explain what you are doing so they understand why they have to be on hold, and give them as good an idea of how long you’ll be as you can.
Keep It Simple
Often, particularly in large organizations, resolving customer issues can be made more complicated by various procedures and processes that have to be followed.
Don’t bore them with the details. Yes, explain that it’s not as easy as it might appear, but they don’t need to know the ins and outs of what happens inside your organization – all they care about is having their issue resolved.
Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
Never, ever tell a customer you will or can do something for them that you won’t or can’t. In a pressurized situation, particularly with an irate customer, it’s easy to try to placate them by simply promising to do what they want, but if you know that’s not possible you’ll only make it worse when it doesn’t happen.
Be a Human Being
Finally, be a human being. There’s nothing worse than speaking to a robot over the phone. Sometimes scripts are necessary, but the more freedom you can give your customer service representatives, the more able they are to relate to customers on a human level, which is the surest way to promote mutual understanding.
About the Author
Nick Lewis is a writer for CS Notepad, a Brighton-based telephone answering service, virtual office and virtual receptionist firm at www.csnotepad.co.uk.