Customer Service Soft Skills Applied: Telephone Skills
Who is this man?
Alexander Graham Bell Invented the “harmonic telegraph” in 1876 "Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you."
Morse/Vail Electric Telegraph cerca 1840
“These telephone girls are the human part of a great communication machine. No matter how many millions of dollars are spent on cables and switchboards, the quality of telephone service depends upon the girl at the exchange end of the wire.”* * Herbert N. Casson, “The History of the Telephone,” (Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1910)
Customer Service Soft Skills Module 2 Telephone Skills
The Five Golden Rules of Call Handling* *Real Bergevin, “Call Centers for Dummies” (John Wiley & Sons, Canada Ltd., 2005) 264-266
1. BE POLITE
Say “please” and “thank you”.
When you are polite customers feel respected and valued, and it shows that you appreciate the time they have taken to speak with you.
2. USE EMPATHY
Put yourself in customer’s shoes.
Empathy is showing concern for the customer’s situation & feelings without agreeing or disagreeing with what the customer is saying.
Appropriate Levels of Empathy Do say:
“I understand your frustration…”
“I know how you must be feeling…”
“I agree with you, our service is horrible!”
“I love you…”
3. USE THE CUSTOMER’S NAME
There’s no greater music than the sound of one’s own name.
When you personalize the interaction, customers feel like they are talking to a real person, perhaps even a friend.
Should you use customer’s first name or Mr./Mrs./Ms. (last name)? Use first name: Always use Mr./Mrs./Ms (last name):
When the first name is not known.
When the customer is from a generation older than yours – baby boomers & elderly.
When more formality or respect is required.
When more personalized relationship is appropriate.
When more a friendly tone needs to be established.
When a regular relationship has already been established from previous contacts.
Should you use customer’s first name or Mr./Mrs./Ms. (last name)? Never use:
Mr./Mrs./Ms. + First Name
Example: “Mr. Charlie, please bear with me…”
4. TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THE SITUATION & SOLUTION
When you answer the call, you own the situation and are responsible for finding a resolution.
Treat each customer as if she is the only customer your company has, and you’re the only person in your company.
5. USE POSITIVE, “CAN DO” LANGUAGE
Always tell the customer what you can do for him/her rather than what you can’t do..
Turn a roadblock into a roadway.
QUESTION: Who is our most important customer? ANSWER: Everyone! Everybody should be treated as a VIP!
Defining Really good Customer Service. Politeness Patience Empathy Rapport Listening Understanding Taking control of the call One call resolution
Communicating with Customers Tone of voice Attitude towards the caller Active listening The Extra Mile
Some Steps for a Successful Service Step #1: Motivation One of the most important things in telemarketing is motivation. Someone has to want to do the job. The overall motivation will determine how they speak to people. So, successful telemarketers are very motivated to do the job.
Some Steps for a Successful Service Step #2: Product knowledge In order to successfully speak about a product or a service, the agent must know about the product or the service. Customers will ask questions before they buy or sign up for something, so the representative shouldbe able to answer the questions. Knowing the product or service will help you make a successful deal.
Some Steps for a Successful Service Step #3: Know the call format The telemarketer should have a call format or a call plan. They should know the order of the call: the introduction, the description of the product, the price, the value of the product, how to order, and the closing. Many companies will have a script to follow. A successful telemarketer will know the script and use it personalize it.
Some Steps for a Successful Service Step #4: Attitude Attitude is evident on the phone. When someone is happy and excited, those emotions will be palatable, even on the phone. Anger, frustration and impatient are just as palatable. The successful agent will have a positive attitude while on the job.
Call Management Speak with a Smile Undivided attention Enthusiasm Build Rapport
Call Management Greeting: -Welcome -Identify Department - Your Name
DC Phone Call Procedure GREETING:
“Good morning/afternoon/evening, thank you for calling the deposit center. My name is ______, how may I help you?”
“Good morning/afternoon/evening, thank you for calling. This is _____ speaking, how may I help you?”
DC Phone Call Procedure ASK FOR USER NAME:
“May I please have your account user name?”
Remember that if the customer doesn’t know or have the account number you may ask for the player nickname or e-mail address.
“(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms. + Last Name) may you also please let me know your user name or e-mail address in order for me to assist you.”
DC Phone Call Procedure ASK FOR USER NAME:
We can also, teach the customer how to find the account number.
“In order to find your user name, please go to the “Cashier” page, then click on the “Account Info” tab and select the “Money and Rewards” option. You will find your “user name” in red, right below the “Real Money” header.”
DC Phone Call Procedure ACCOUNT VERIFICATION:
“(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms. + Last Name), for security reasons, please allow me to verify your account information. May I please have your Account ID and Full Name?”
_____ Thank you! Can you please confirm your mailing address?
_____ What is your Date of Birth?
_____ and finally, what is your Phone Number and E-mail Address?
_____ Thank you very much!
DC Phone Call Procedure PLACING SOMEONE ON HOLD
Ask for permission
Thank the caller
Apologize if there was a delay
Refresh the caller
Offer to call back if it is taking longer than expected to resolve the issue
DC Phone Call Procedure ON-HOLD PROTOCOL:
“(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) _____, please allow me to put you on hold while I review your account/issue/situation.”
Do not keep the customer on hold, for a long period of time. The customer should not be placed on hold for more than 90 seconds. If the situation takes longer, refresh the customer on the call status be constantly thanking him/her for their patience.
DC Phone Call Procedure ON-HOLD PROTOCOL - Refresh Caller:
“Thank you for holding (Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms. + Last Name) . _____ the supervisor (or person in charge) is reviewing your case I’ll get back to you shortly.”
“(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms. + Last Name) ______ they are still reviewing the account, once again thank you for holding”
If you have already returned to the customer more than twice please offer the customer a call back to avoid long hold times.
DC Phone Call Procedure TRANSFERRING A CALL: Transferring a call: Try to avoid the word “transfer”. It is better to use: - “Connect with…” - “Put you through…” Difference between Cold and Warm Transfer.
DC Phone Call Procedure CALL TRANSFERS:
After verifying the customer’s account and identifying the issues, ask permission from the customer to transfer the call.
“(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms. + Last Name) ______, for further assistance, please allow me to put you through/connect you with the proper department (or person in charge).”
DC Phone Call Procedure CALL TRANSFERS (cont’d):
Once the person receives the call, inform him/her the account information and what the issue is all about. Give full details in order to avoid the customer repeating itself. Once this process is done, introduce the customer to the person that will take over the call.
“(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms. + Last Name) _______, thank you for waiting, _______ from the ______ department will assist you now, thank you for calling the Deposit Center.”
DC Phone Call Procedure CALL TRANSFERS (cont’d): If the customer just asks to get transferred, ask him/her for the account details and why he/her wants to get transferred. “(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms.), in order for me to transfer this call properly, may I please have your name, account number, and a brief description of your case?”
DC Phone Call Procedure CALL TRANSFERS (cont’d): Always, make sure you read the notes in the account. You may be able to assist the customer without transferring the call. “(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) ______, according to the notes in your account, I can see that ________.”
DC Phone Call Procedure OFFER ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE: “Is there anything else I can do for you today (Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) _________.” “Would you like me to assist you with anything else (Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) _______.” “(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) _______, do you have any further questions?”
DC Phone Call Procedure CLOSING: “Thank you very much for calling “(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) ______, enjoy the games and have a wonderful day/evening.” “ Please feel free to call us again if you need further assistance, thank you for calling “(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) _____” “Thank you very much for calling. Please do not hesitate to call us back for further assistance, enjoy the games and have a nice day/evening “(Sir/Ma’am) or (first name) or (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) _______”
Call Management Assure the caller: -We need to let the customer know they are in the right place. We can use words such as: “Sure”, “Certainly” or “Absolutely” along with a phrase. Using this method will give us ownership of the call and our willingness to help the customer.
Call Management Use “Can” instead of “Can’t”: The “MUST” Factor: - When communicating instructions watch out for words such as: “must”, “have to”and “need to”. Some better alternatives are: “you’ll want to”, “Simply”, “Be sure to”.
Call Management Irate Customers - Don't let them get to you. We often allow the other person’s attitude to irritate or annoy us. This becomes obvious to the other person through our tone of voice and our body language. This only fuels a difficult situation. When dealing with difficult people, stay out of it emotionally and concentrate on listening non-defensively and actively. People may make disparaging and emotional.
Call Management Irate Customers You can follow the HEAT acronym: - H ear - E mpathize - A pologize - T ake ownership
Call Management LISTEN: Listen carefully and hear what the customer has to say. Let the customer talk and vent.
Call Management EMPATHIZE: Deal with their feelings - then deal with their problem. Using empathy is an effective way to deal with a person's feelings. Empathy isn't about agreement, only acceptance of what the person is saying and feeling. Basically the message is - "I understand how you feel."
Call Management APOLOGIZE: Apologize for the inconvenience. While you and the company may not be responsible for the situation, you can at least apologize for the delay.
Call Management TAKE OWNERSHIP: Take responsibility for the issue as the representative of the company and don’t point fingers at others. Finally tell the customers what you will do about the situation.
Call Management Words to avoid: There are certain trigger words that can cause people to become more difficult especially in emotionally charged situations. These include: "You have to" - "But" - "I want you to" - "I need you to" - "It's company policy" - "I can't or You can't" - "Jargon" or "Buzz" words - "Sorry" - "I'll try" -
Expressions to Avoid vs. Expressions to Use No: “Hello, Hey what’s up, what can I do for you…..” Yes: “Good morning/afternoon/evening, thank you for calling, this is _____ speaking, how may I help you?”
Expressions to Avoid vs. Expressions to Use No: “What? Huh?” Yes: “Excuse me sir/ma’am, would you be able to repeat that for me please, I was having difficulty hearing the last question.”
Expressions to Avoid vs. Expressions to Use No: “Buddy, friend, lady, man, dude, hey you…” Yes: “Sir/Ma’am, Mr./Mrs……..”
Expressions to Avoid vs. Expressions to Use No: “I can’t, won’t, don’t, no,….” Yes: “What I can do for you is…..” “Unfortunately, at this moment…….” “I want to apologize but at this moment……” (The first part of your “no” statement should begin with an apology and the final piece should tell your customer what you can do for them, always offer alternatives).
Expressions to Avoid vs. Expressions to Use No: “Hold on, one moment, one minute…..” Yes: “Sir/ma’am, please allow me to put you on hold” “Thank you for holding!”
Expressions to Avoid vs. Expressions to Use No: “As I already told you, didn’t I explain that to you already, pay attention….” Yes: “Sure sir/ma’am, allow me to clarify…..”
Expressions to Avoid vs. Expressions to Use No: “Good luck!” Yes: “Enjoy the game!”
Expressions to Avoid vs. Expressions to Use No: “See you, talk to you later, bye….” Yes: “Thank you for calling, do not hesitate to call us back for further assistance, have a nice day/evening Mr./Mrs.______”
Expressions to Avoid vs. Expressions to Use No sounds such us yawns, chewing, eating, burps, hum, etc are allowed while you are with the customer on the phone.
Let’s Listen: What’s wrong with this call?
Let’s Listen: Was this call resolved appropriately?
Let’s Listen: Do you like this call?
Why is tone of voice important?* * Real Bergevin, “Call Centers for Dummies,” (Mississauga, Ontario: John wile & Sons Canada Ltd., 2005) 302
Let’s Listen: What is the tone of this agent’s voice?
Elements of Personal Communication
Elements of Tone of Voice:
Speed and Volume of Speech:
If you are attempting to get a customer excited about a feature of your product, service or solution, a slight increase in speed an volume helps.
When you want to emphasize a particular point you may lower your voice and slow your speed.
The natural modulation of tone you have in your voice
Little to no inflection = monotone
More inflection sounds more engaging and interesting
Body language can impact the way you sound
Your voice will not project as well if you are lying on your back as opposed to sitting up straight
Open your vocal chords and diaphragm
A sad or depressed mood will be detected
Your mood will come across in your tone of voice
If you are having “one of those days”, then “rake it, ‘til you make it.”