Telephones: We can’t live without them. And during the last hour of your shift you will probably feel that you can’t live with them. But, remember, you are Working Person’s Store when you pick up the phone – Bear that in mind at all times.
In the age of automated telephones simply to have a live voice answer the phone is a major plus for any customer. Each call is an opportunity to do one or more of the following: to provide information and assistance to a current customer thus enhancing their loyalty, 2) gain a new customer providing the opportunity to distinguish your business from the competition 3) sell additional products either improved or enhanced versions, upselling, or related ones, cross-selling .
In no case should any stage be omitted as each serves a different purpose and each is important to the success of the call.
First, you must set the stage: If the customer is greeted with enthusiasm and made to feel important, it will make the time with your caller much more pleasant and quicker. You might actually take some of “the wind out of his sail” if he’s in a poor mood and he’ll be more open to having his issues resolved.
The customer can hear your smile; it so true, it’s scare. Likewise, you will be able to hear the customer’s smile when you greet the caller. We’ll discuss how your smile can “transform” the customer’s anger, frustration, etc.
You may be able to give a longer greeting; if so, as long as it is clearly spoken and enthusiastic, it is acceptable.
The best way to win friends and influence people is to add a personal touch of saying someone’s name. In doing so, they will appreciate your interest in them. (But be sure, it’s pronounced correctly.)
Assess your caller. Just as the customer can “hear” your mood, likewise you can “hear” the mood of your caller. For example, “why hasn’t my order arrived?” can take on various emotions: same question but different emotion: anger, frustrasted, frantic or just totally calm. With that you will be able to note the words, inflection and tone. Speaker: you might want to show the difference by asking the same question but with different emotions. Then ask trainees how they would react sensitively with each caller’s mood. (Good exercise)
Customers in today’s world don’t want to deal with another person; they feel undervalued as a customer when they’re transferred. They’ve already told you their story – they want ONE VOICE to take ownership of their problem and, of course, solve it.
Isn’t this a better way of respecting the customer’s needs and time? I think so!
Point 1: This is not customer service when his call is dumped into a voice mail box– It’s called telephone cyberspace. With Point 3: In order to resolve the issue, check policies and procedures. You may have to promise to call customer back with answer to his problem
Gathering information means that you’ll be able to handle his problem better. So good note-taking is a must. Oh, and don’t forget to write the customer’s name down, writing it down correctly (as well as remembering the correct pronunciation)
Time and experience with your organization, ongoing training in products and services, and clearly articulated and publicized policies and procedures are all factors that will increase the percentage of calls you will be able to resolve immediately by yourself.You won’t be able to answer every customer question based solely on your knowledge, experience or the notes in front of you. So you may need an answer from someone else in the organization.
It’s all about common courtesy. The customer may not have time to wait and would rather you research the problem and call him back. At least give the customer the option. If you don’t have an answer in that period of time, come back on the line and provide an update. If you ask, he may be ok with continuing to hold; just continue to update him with your progress you are making finding a solution. If necessary, you may need to promise to call him back. Each time he’s put on hold it should only be for 45 seconds or less. And, if you made a promise to call him back, the promise must be kept.
The renewal stage is just as important as the greeting. Have a nice day is so overused and not usually meant by the service representative; and, unfortunately, the caller knows it. A customer likes to feel he’s appreciated when he spends his money at your store. So he should be thanked and appreciated!
These and other similar closings serve to renew the important relationships with your customers each and every time they call. For an exercise with the trainees it might be fun to let each of them give their “thank you” for different scenarios, i.e., first time buyer, disgruntled customer, etc.
This is about not only service and being just an order-taker but Gaining New Customers and being a Salesperson. It could be fun taking the drudgery out of being on the phone and being an order-taker.
“How else may I help you?” is the simplest but most effective personal touch. Shows you care and, hopefully, it may lead to another sale, as in “do you need some great wool socks to go with those boots?”
Yes, you are important to the success of Working Person’s Store. You are on the frontline where the angry customers as well as the pleasant customers call and it’s up to you to give great service and “then some”.
Telephone Skills:The Circular Call
Why is this training Important?• Because Working Person’s Store’s success depends on good customer service (and that’s you on the frontline answering customers’ calls). Or, on the flipside, loss of sales due to poor customer service leads to loss of profits.
The TelephoneNormally, it’s the first contact that Customers have to form either positive or negative perceptions about Working Person’s Store.
The Circular CallThink of each telephone call you receive (or make) in four critical stages:1. The Greeting2. The Gathering3. Responding4. Renewal
Greeting the caller• Greeting the caller – First Stage• Remember the 3Ps be pleasant be positive be professional**Post this phrase above your phone: Smile, they can hear it!**
For the purpose of this training…• This is what is called “a smile” on a happy face which you will then display when talking to the customer. (note the mouth curves up!)• The wings and halo symbolize the qualities of pleasantness and kindness which you will then use in your interaction with the customer.
More about greeting the caller…• Speak clearly – that means “e-nun-ci-ate” your words; otherwise, it will sound like mush!• And, if your greeting is too long, it may also sound like mush! “Hi, this is Working Person’s store, (if you want, you can add your name here as long as it doesn’t sound like mush) how may I help you?” It’s simple, pleasant and to the point!
A Personal Touch is Nice…• Respond to the caller by name – Your customer will like the personal touch of hearing his name. – Again, be careful in the pronunciation of the customer’s name; if you’re not sure, clarify it with the customer.
Listening and Reacting…• Just as the customer can “hear” your mood, likewise you can “hear” the mood of your caller.• React with sensitivity – tailor your greeting to the caller’s moooood. “You Gotta have Heart!-”
Transferring Rules• DON’T!• Customers don’t want to be transferred.• They want you to take ownership of their problem and, solve it
Transferring RulesNonetheless, it is necessary from time to time to transfer callers. Here are some do’s and don’ts. - Don’t say, “I can’t help you, but I’ll transfer you to Mary. - Do Say, “I can help you by letting you talk to Mary; she’ll be able to help you with that.”
Transferring Rules• If you do transfer the call, insure that that Associate is available and whatever you do, don’t “dump” the call into someone else’s voice mail box. Trust me, that’s not at all professional!• Avoid transferring the caller more than once – it really, really upsets the customer.• But try to resolve the issue, please.
Having properly greeted the customer and setting a positive tone… Next Stage - Gather information• Be ready to listen. (focus on the customer)• Be ready to take notes.• Show you are listening through attentive silence and attentive words.• Ask questions.• Restate what the caller said in your words.
Next Stage is…• Responding Once you’ve listened carefully to all the customer’s needs, etc. you’ve got two options: 1. Answer the customer’s question or better yet, solve the problem immediately. 2. Place the customer on hold and seek a quick answer from a team leader, or someone in the know.
If you need to place caller on hold, here’s some tips…• Ask for permission, “Will you please hold?”• Wait for the response.• Watch the clock – It’s a 45 seconds rule• And, “Thank you for holding” is important each time you come back on the line. *By the way, don’t ever say, “I’m sorry you had to hold” Again, Not Professional!
The final Stage of your callRenewal It’s your opportunity to invite the customer back.• Be personal, not programmed as in, “thank you for calling, haveaniceday” (pronounced as one word)• Ask if anything else is needed – Lets the customer know you are interested. – Oh, and get this: it might lead to another sale – wouldn’t that be sweet!
Most importantly, in the renewal stage…• Personally thank your customer for his business. “we’re so pleased you chose Working Person’s Store for your work boots (or whatever the purchase); you’ve been a customer for x# of years and we know you have plenty of other choices for your apparel needs. Thank you for continuing to do business with us.”
It’s a Wrap unless…• You missed all the previous points! Did you?
Ok, if you missed anything, let’s summarize…The telephone…What an opportunity to• Provide information and assistance• Gain new customers• And, last but not least Up-sell and cross-sell Wow! what a great concept!
The Circular Call• Greeting – sets the first stage - the 3Ps: pleasant, professional, positive - Speak clearly and be concise - Use the customer’s name - Attitude check? - Transfer calls with care
The Circular Call continued…• Gathering information from the caller -HELLO, it means listening! -Information is gold -Take good notes Responding – you have options -Answer the question/solve the problem immediately -Place customer on hold and find the answer -”Will you hold, please” tips
Create a lasting impression in…The Renewal Stage - It’s an opportunity to invite the customer back.• Be personal• Avoid standard closures• “How else may I help you?”• Thank customers for their business!!