Working in customer service is tough. No one calls the 800 number when, say, the internet connection is running smoothly – they do that when they’re at their wits’ end, trying to figure out what went wrong and how it can be fixed.
So they call their service provider and they’re placed at the end of a queue of customers having the exact same problems. They then endure looped canny music, interspersed with ads and the occasional “Your call is important to us. Please hold the line,” speech from a robotic voice.
Some need only wait minutes; on a bad day, some calls take hours. By the end of this waiting game, the customer is feeling frustrated, having wasted precious time standing around on the phone, when he could have been doing something more productive with those minutes.
And who’s waiting at the end of the line? Why, you, of course, customer service representative.
If there’s one thing I’ve heard universally in my experience as a customer service professional, it’s that whoever you’re speaking to has been “on hold forever”, whether it’s been five minutes, or fifty. Everyone wants to be able to put what free time they have to good use, and there are certainly better ways of doing it than to sitting and waiting on hold. Here’s how you can create a better customer experience by shaving off a few minutes from their time spent on the phone:
Avoid unnecessary questions. – While you may be required to pepper the customer with questions about his year of birth, email address, mother’s maiden name, or pet dog’s name in order to verify his identity, have a care. These inquiries only distract from the point of the call, so avoid asking them unless it is imperative that you do so.
Listen. – Listen well, and carefully. Try to get everything down the first time; no one likes repeating themselves, and making your customers do so gives them the distinct impression that you’re not paying enough attention.
Ask the right questions. – What, exactly, are the right questions? Irate customers make for unfocused storytelling, which then makes for an unclear view of the situation, and an inability to identify the problem. If this happens, take control of the situation. Asking your customers questions that can be answered with “˜yes’ or “˜no’ can be especially helpful when frustration and exasperation has started to take precedence over the problem at hand. Fixating the conversation on the issue and the factors surrounding it will give you a clearer view of the situation – and lessen your confusion, so you can resolve the issue faster.
Think fast, think smart. – If you are able to solve the problem in three steps instead of ten, why make the customer take the longer path to success? While there’s something to be said about learning things from the ground up, so to speak, save your breath and your customer’s ire by providing them with a solution that will clear up their problem quickly. It’ll also help if it’s something that’s easy to remember – this way, you can avoid repeat calls, and you can give the customer a sense of having learned something new.
Be clear. – Use language that can be easily understood by the average Joe. There’s nothing more frustrating – and timewasting – than having to repeat your instructions , so save yourself the trouble and be as clear with them as you can. Keep them short and sweet and easy to implement – your customer will thank you for it later.
In the end, customers really just want what they’re paying for delivered in a timely manner. By cutting out the frills and bells, you are giving them exactly what they want! If the time spent on the call is shorter than the time spent on hold, you can be rest assured that the caller will walk away from the phone satisfied, and may even increase chances of repeat business.
About the Author
Brilliance.com is a leading retailer of loose diamonds, wholesale diamonds, diamond engagement rings and other fine jewelry. Each gem is hand-picked only by expert gemologists and all jewelry is handcrafted in the USA by master jewelers. To complement their large selection of products, Brilliance.com also provides a unique array of services such as 30-Day Returns, Gemological Appraisal, Free Shipping and Low Price Guarantee.