Telephone handling


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  • Every call has two parts – the ‘core’ and the ‘more’. Task skills - The core is the reason of the call i.e the purpose of the call e.g. a query or a complaint. Task skills are those activities through which an agent would resolve that query or complaint.
  • Accepts responsibility for providing timely service / solution in the most courteous manner; Understands that the success of an organization depends on good customer service; Learns and practices customer service skills in a positive manner
  • Just as you would dress well to meet a customer face to face, similarly in a call it is important to appear smart, organised and with a smile
  • The first 10 sec is a MOT for a customer calling you. The first impression that a customer makes of the organization is on how warmly and professionally was he greeted. Its important to take the customer’s name repeatedly. This will make him feel that he’s been treated as an individual and not as a faceless customer. Tune in – remember, a customer is calling you for a purpose. Be attentive right from the start. Set the tone – You are there to help the customer. Show your willingness to help.
  • Accepts responsibility for providing timely service / solution in the most courteous manner; Understands that the success of an organization depends on good customer service; Learns and practices customer service skills in a positive manner
  • One of the main concerns of a customer today is nobody is willing to listen to him. Listening is important because 1)Only active listening will tell you the need of the customer 2)Only when you understand the need of the customer can you diagnose correctly 3) If you act without listening then it may so happen that your action will fail to meet the need of the customer 4) Sometimes a customer may have ‘implied’ need. Its important to pick up cues by attentive listening. This is particularly handy in case of an angry customer and upselling.
  • Just as you nod to indicate that you are listening when face to face, it is important to indicate verbally that you are registering what the customer is saying.e.g. uh-huh, okay, I see, alright etc. Never, Never interrupt the customer
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The 3F technique of showing empathy
  • The other component of good service is ‘probing’.
  • Probing can essentially be of two types – open and closed. Ask participants the difference between the two. Open questions are used to make the customer talk while closed questions are used to get focused answers from the customer.
  • Accepts responsibility for providing timely service / solution in the most courteous manner.
  • When you are answering a query, make sure clear, complete and accurate information is being given. Check if the customer has ‘understood’ the information completely. Check if all his queries have been answered. Do not use jargons with customer.
  • Customer Service is all about extending oneself to see that a customer’s need is met. Sometimes you may not have exactly what the customer wants but try and see what alternatives can you offer. Close the loop of a call – e.g. if you’ve promised a call back, a mailer, a brochure, a dispatch, make sure you complete the job.
  • 1.Acknowledge - Just like you acknowledge a customer face to face through eye contact, you can acknowledge a customer on the phone through a warm greeting and using the customer’s name. Respond to what the customer is saying. Do not ignore a customer.e.g if a customer mentions a baby, you could respond by saying ‘great, terrific, congratulations, that’s fabulous. If the customer has a complain or has a concern, acknowledge it. It maybe appropriate to respond with a specific apology. 2. Appreciate a customer during a conversation. When you end a conversation with a customer, include an extended thankyou. E.g thankyou for calling. I enjoyed talking with you. Thanks for being so understanding about the situation, thanks for your patience. Thank you for choosing us. 3.Affirm the choice of the customer – Thats an excellent choice Mr. Smith. I’m sure you’ll enjoy using our computer. 4. Assure – When a customer has a concern that you can address, assure the customer that you will be responsible for taking care of it. I’ll take care of that personally.
  • Your target should be maximum first time resolution. Complete and follow up your calls in such a manner that the customer need not call again for the resolution of the same issue. This will help reduce call load and increase satisfied customers. Also, give information efficiently and in an organised manner. This will help reduce average call handling time.
  • Do not use big words Slow down Listen before responding
  • Accepts responsibility for providing timely service / solution in the most courteous manner.
  • It takes all kinds to make the world. Level 1 provides various states of mind of a customer and level two shows, how an agent should respond to these customers.
  • You are trying to build a relationship with the customer on the phone. Just like if you use negative words with a friend on the phone, it will impact your relationship, similarly a customer will be left with an unprofessional and obstructionist image if you use some of these phrases that we are going to discuss now.
  • Show Empathy e.g. “I apologize” Encourage Venting Recognize Feelings Create calm by your tone and demeanor Listen actively Show urgency e.g “I’ll make sure that the matter is looked into right away” Remain objective Provide added value Plan your follow up and communicate it Involve customer in problem solving Getting angry or upset will just fuel the customers fire. Don’t let the customer or added call volume through off your balance. Think carefully before you talk and choose your words wisely. Getting angry or upset will just fuel the customers fire. Don’t let the customer or added call volume through off your balance. Think carefully before you talk and choose your words wisely. Don’t give an ultimatum. Nothing will anger the customer more then a take it or leave it solution. Ask the customer “How would you like us to resolve this problem?” Let them offer you a solution. If the customer helps choosing the solution, they will be delighted with the result. If the customer is upset, feel free to apologize, but make sure it is a sincere apology. A sincere apology will ease the customers anger and shows them that you understand their frustration. Sincerity goes a long way!
  • Telephone handling

    1. 1. Telephone Handling
    2. 2. ObjectiveUse the best words for getting the message acrossIdentify and speak to the customers style of communicationUse questions to get more information about a problemHandle conflict and angry customers
    3. 3. Content• Quality telephone process etiquette• Elements of a good voice greeting• Factors that create conflict• Temperament of the caller• Tips of active listening• The meaning of empathy• Probing and Query handling• Challenging Situations
    4. 4. What makes a successful Tele- agent Always show a willingness and interest in servicing callers. Make a good first impression on the phone. Has subject matter expertise. Possess ability to gather accurate information from a caller. Know how to ask the proper questions in the right order. Speak in a clear and conversational style. Always use courteous words and phrases. Avoid keeping callers on hold for too long. Knows how to maintain a good Call Handling Time. Know what not to say when a caller complains. Can effectively deal with irate callers. Follow through on problem phone calls.
    5. 5. A call is a combination of… Task Skills Interpersonal SkillsSeeking Information Setting the tone Checking Understanding Giving Information Exhibiting a desire to serveOffering Recommendation Acknowledging feeling and emotionsEliciting Accepting responsibility Recommendation for solving the issueBuilding consensus
    6. 6. The Quality Call Cycle
    7. 7. Elements of a Good OpeningW arm and FriendlyW illingness to helpW elcoming
    8. 8. Dress well and look good in a call
    9. 9. The first 20 seconds The verbal handshake welcome greetingHello Mrs.Smith! personalize the call tune in How may I set the tone help you today?
    10. 10. Your Tone of Voice creates an impression
    11. 11. Qualities of a good voiceTone warmth, enthusiasm, positive, friendly, confident, sincereClarity speak clearly and slowlyVolume speak up, emphasize points with appropriate inflection
    12. 12. for emphasis, give callertime to absorb It makes you feel better and thecaller will hear the difference
    13. 13. The Quality Call Cycle
    14. 14. Let your customer not ask this…
    15. 15. Tips of Active ListeningGive verbal indications you are listeningAsk questionsBe patientNever interrupt the callerCarry a positive temperamentConsider the caller’s frame of mind
    16. 16. Empathy Is saying…. “I understand”Recognizing the caller’s feelings Making sincere statements and matching efforts
    17. 17. Customer Service PhrasesSentences to demonstrate friendly greetingHow are you doing today?I’m very well thank you. And how are you?I’m very well. Thank You.How may I help you today?Hello!Getting more informationCould you tell me some more about….?Could you also tell me……
    18. 18. Customer Service PhrasesSentences to demonstrate helpfulness“How may I help you today?”“Please call us if you have any questions.”“What I would suggest is…Would you like me to do that?”“We’ll be glad to help you….I’d be glad to do that for you.”“Is there anything else I could help you with?”“If you could let me see how I can help you.”“I will be glad to help you.”“Certainly, definitely… ” (Very commonly used)“I’ll be happy to help you with that”"I could do that for you" You may accept or reject offers made to you by using ‘yes please’, ‘if you could’, ‘if you wouldn’t mind’, ‘thank you, that would be great’ or ‘I can take care of that for…’, ‘don’t worry I’ll do it” etc. respectively
    19. 19. Customer Service PhrasesPhrases to acknowledge understanding/ listening“Alright”“Really”?“Yes”“Right”“So based on what you’ve told me..”“Sounds as though “x” would/will be useful for you”“I understand”How to give instructions“What I’d like you to do is…”“I would appreciate it if you would…”
    20. 20. Customer Service PhrasesSentences to use while seeking clarifications“If I understand you correctly…”“I’m sorry I didn’t get that. Could you repeat that for me?”“Let me check if I’ve got this right.”Sentences to use while seeking permission“May I please have your account number?”“May I have your name please?”“May I have your address please?”“May I place you on hold for a minute?”“Would it be ok if…”
    21. 21. Customer Service PhrasesSentences to use when making suggestions“You could try..” “I would suggest…”“I would recommend…”“You could always…” “Perhaps we could…”“Why don’t I..”“What I’m going to do is…”“Could I check this again”After you’ve suggested an action“Would that be alright?”“Would that help you?”(If customer response is positive, use words like good, great, perfect.)(If no response from customer, continue with “now…”)
    22. 22. Customer Service PhrasesSentences to request repeating informationI apologise, I would need to take down your name again?Would you please spell your last name for me?Would you mind giving me your name again?I’m sorry, I didn’t get all of your………………... Would you please say that for me again?I’m sorry, would you mind repeating it, I didn’t understand all of that.Could I ask you to repeat that?Could I ask you to spell out your name for me?Buying TimeWell let me see………Well now…………….Let me check your account……...I’m not sure on that. I’ll check that for you…………..That’s a good question…….I’ll check that for you…
    23. 23. Customer Service PhrasesSentences that offer reassurance“Not a problem” (Very commonly used)“I apologise for the inconvenience caused. I do understand that this is upsetting for you Mr/s _, let me go ahead and take care of that for you…”Sentences that acknowledge customer dissatisfaction, demonstrate empathy“I completely understand, and I’m sorry about this situation. Let me see how I can help you…”“I understand that you’re upset about this, I would feel the same.” (Respond to specific situations.)“I can appreciate that you feel annoyed about this. I would feel the same.”“I’m very sorry about this. Please tell me what you would like me to do?”“ I am sorry you felt that way. Let me tell you what I can do/ how I can help.”“ I apologise for this situation. I’ll get it straightened out right away”“ I am sorry that you are upset about this.”“Please accept my apologies for the misunderstanding.”“I am sorry to hear that……Let me see how I can help you..”
    24. 24. Customer Service PhrasesSentences to demonstrate confidenceI’ll walk you through the steps.I’ll take care of it right away.I could do that for youWhen being asked to do something you CAN do OR somebody thanks you for what you’ve done.Your welcomeIt was my pleasure assisting you today!Sure!Definitely. – “I’ll be happy to do that for you.Certainly.Absolutely.Sentences to use when other people don’t understand“Let me rephrase that…”“Let me put this another way…”
    25. 25. Customer Service PhrasesSentences to use when making generalisations“I agree with you..”“Generally speaking…”“In most cases…”“In some cases…” “Often”, “sometimes”How to say a polite “no”Introduction:No one likes having to say no, or I can’t, or we don’t orIt’s just not possible, but often there is no choice.Providing great service when you have to give anegative response is one of the toughest challengesyou will face taking calls. What are the phrases/ responses that drive people crazy?Sorry, I cannot help you, I have no idea, It’s not my fault, It’s not my job, No, I’mnot allowed to, It’s not in our policy“What do you think the intent of these sentences are?”The intent is ‘not to help’ that makes the customer really angry and upset.
    26. 26. Customer Service PhrasesShow empathy – Begin with a positive attitude“I understand why you need it urgently” “I’m sorry Mr. Jones…”“I wish I could help you.”“I understand your request but I’m sorry we are unable to…”“I appreciate/ I do understand how important this is…..”After you’ve shown empathy for their situation, it is a good idea to follow it up withsomething that tells the customer you’re going to go out of your way to help them.Understand the reasons why you can’t say ‘yes’State the reason with an honest logical explanationBe honest and state the situation as is.Use the word However. “However” say to the customer that you are about to givethem new information or a possible alternative.Give alternate solution“What I’ll do is…” Remember, the difference between a hard ‘no’ and a ‘service no’ is that a serviceno is attached with a ‘yes’. Don’t say what you can’t do. Say what you can.
    27. 27. Customer Service PhrasesGiving Step by step instructionsWhen giving instructions link the steps together using phrases like………First of all you need to……….The first thing you need to do is………What we’re going to do first is……….After you’ve done that you’ll need to……….The next thing you need to do is……………Now what we’re going to do is…………..It is important to check understanding at every stage while givinginstructions.Use the following phrasesThat’s right, now………….Fine, now………….Great, now……………HesitatingHesitating is a natural part of using a language. Silence is not a good way tohesitate. It causes embarrassment and confusion.Well let’s see now………..
    28. 28. Customer Service PhrasesAsking for permissionIs it all right if I………….Do you mind if I………..Would it be OK if I………….Giving reason for what you are doingIn order for me to (update your account, check your balance, issue a new card)I will need to………You will need to……….I will need you to………..The reason is…………….Agreeing/ Disagreeing with somebodyAGREEMENT… Yes (Be sure you absolutely agree)ExactlyI couldn’t agree more.That’s a good point.AbsolutelyDISAGREEMENTYou need to be very polite when disagreeing with someone.I can understand… how that may look/why you would think that.. , but let meexplain…
    29. 29. Customer Service PhrasesThings to say for objection handlingI do appreciate how frustrating this delay is…..Responses to buying signals- with that in mind, you might want to consider…- that’s why this card offers…- that’s exactly the reason that…- If you travel frequently you might find….- I appreciate how frustrating/upsetting that was… Wrapping up a line of questioning especially while verifyingThat’s all the information I need.With that information I can….That’s all I need to know!- and the next thing I’d like to do is…- now, what I’ll do is…I think that about does it- Next, why don’t we- And now, I’m just going to…
    30. 30. Customer Service PhrasesMaking transition statements…moving from one part of the call toanother- Okay, so…- And also…- In addition…- As well…Recap Phrases- So to summarise- Just to confirm what we’ve discussed/agreed- Let me summarise-What I’ve done …-What will happen next…Closing a call - Is there anything else that I can do for you today?- Thank you for calling American Express…..Goodbye.
    31. 31. Understand customer need+ =
    32. 32. The Quality Call Cycle
    33. 33. Probing Skills– OPEN– CLOSED
    34. 34. Summary of Questioning Skills  Begin with an open probe  Analyze the situation  Continue with closed probes Don’t badger the caller with questions
    35. 35. The Quality Call Cycle
    36. 36. Supplying Information Clarity Relevance Checking understanding and acceptance Jargon
    37. 37. Extending YourselfTake ownershipIdentify alternativesTake all steps to avoid repeat callClose the loop
    38. 38. Show you care Acknowledging Appreciating Affirming Assuring
    39. 39. Your target: So what is it that you can do to achieve 100% FCR?
    40. 40. The Tools of Quality Communication
    41. 41. Write your own script Take a breathBuild pauses into your script Include conversational elements PracticeUse short sentences and simple language Practice Practice Use customer’s nameSpeak the way real people speak Know your product well
    42. 42. Check your courtesy quotient1. “Please”2. “Thank you”3. The customer’s name4. “I’m very sorry”5. “Excuse me”6. Friendly greetings such as “Good morning”, “How are you doing today?”7. “You’re welcome”8. “I’d be happy to do that for you”9. “May I help you please?”10. “I’m sorry to keep you waiting” ALWAYS11. “It was nice talking with you” SOMETIMES12. “Thank you for calling” NEVER13. “Its been a pleasure serving you”
    43. 43. The art of putting a customer on hold
    44. 44. Hold Procedure  Seek permission  Give a reason  Give an expected hold time  Get back to the customer every 30 sec to update on status  Thank the customer for holding
    45. 45. Avoid a cold Transfer  Inform the customer – Who – Why  Brief the person you are transferring the call to  “Good Morning Mr. Smith. I hear from Sally that you have some concerns. I’ll be glad to address them.”
    46. 46. The Quality Call Cycle
    47. 47. Terminate Warmly
    48. 48. ATTITUDEtowards the caller
    49. 49. The Rational Mind State– Think then act– Solve problems– Evaluate rationally– Keep cool under pressure
    50. 50. The Emotional Mind State– Acts on impulse– Blames the caller for all difficult situations
    51. 51. The Domineering Mind State– Criticizes– Personalizes– Feels superior to the caller– Judges and blames
    52. 52. Feeling vs. Facts : “You are not going to get a person to listen to youand engage in solving their problems unless you acknowledge their anger, upset and fear”
    53. 53. Different strokes for different folks! Insecure Confused Skeptical EmergencyAnalytical Direct Anxious Uncertain Cynical PanicBe specific Efficient Reassuring Patient Reassuring Match urgency Confident Give sense Caring Make know- In response Pleasant Of Clarifying ledgable Be calming Professional well-being Responses Professional
    54. 54. The customer is your Partner When in agreement with the customer, say so and why Build on the customers ideas, when possible Be non-judgmental toward the customer If disagreeing with the customer is necessary, give the reason first, before disagreeing Openly explain what is being done to solve the customers problem Allow the customer to do the steps necessary to solve the problem, while explaining the steps to the customer
    55. 55. The impression of negative words
    56. 56. ChallengingCustomers
    57. 57. Identifying Challenging SituationsThink of a time when a customer was dissatisfied, upset,irate or hostile.What emotions or specific behaviors did the customer display?How did that behavior make you feel?
    58. 58. Interacting with an Angry Customer Describe your Own Skill Practice:1. Think of a situation2. Write a brief description to share with the group3. Include the feelings you experienced
    59. 59. The Negative Emotions I’m frustrated I’m not important I’m stupid I’m guilty I’m incompetent I’m powerless and a victim ….Others.
    60. 60. Two Categories of Challenging SituationsInitially ChallengingPotentially Challenging
    62. 62. GREEN CUSTOMERS•They are generally query seeking customers•Be Careful- a misinterpreted tone of voice , or being puton hold for too long etc. can trigger a seemingly non-emotional person to move up the emotional scale withoutnotice !!
    63. 63. Dealing with Green CustomerUse interpersonal skills to show you care and want to help .Show your appreciation or making you aware of the issuee.g. ‘‘Thank you for bringing this to my attention’’
    64. 64. RED CUSTOMER•People with whom to use caution•Range from mildly irritated to red hot•If you do not acknowledge their emotional state ,you may escalate them to raging red•Treat these customers carefully or you risk losingthem
    65. 65. The really angry customer
    66. 66. Dealing with Red Customer Dealing with Red CustomerL isten Service a complaining customerA pologiseS olveT hank
    67. 67. Some Survival Tips when you feel like this Taking the anger personally Setting the customer straight Blaming the customer Avoiding blame Dominating the customerDon’t take it personallyFocus on the problemGive up the desire to arm wrestleShow interest and concern
    68. 68. Case study # 1 – The Broken clock Roger is a customer service rep with a very annoyed customer on the line. It seems the customer had purchased a very expensive, imported clock from Roger’s company only to take it home and find that it didn’t work. Interestingly enough, that was least of the customer’s problems. Her major complaint was the way she had been treated when she brought the clock back. “I’ve bought stuff from you for years,” the lady said, “and never had a problem before. With the clock, I followed the operating instructions to the letter – which, let me tell you, wasn’t easy. Have you seen the instruction booklet? ‘Confusing’ doesn’t begin to describe it.“But even that is not why I am calling . The main reason is that, when I brought the clock into your store, I got the third degree from your employees. I felt like I was on trial. I was there for nearly an hour waiting in line, filling out forms, answering questions. And they acted like I was trying to cheat them or something. Is that your idea of how to treat your customers?”There were a number of problems here, and Roger knew he’d have to take them one by one. What did he say to the customer? What did he do for her? And what additional steps did he take afterward?
    69. 69. Factors that create conflict… Telling customers they have no right to be angry with you Trying to justify under delivery Blaming someone else Answering with a ‘smart’ remark Transferring callers without verifying Putting people on hold without their consent Long calls
    70. 70. Factors that create conflict contd… Showing indifference toward the caller By quoting “Organization Policy”, instead refer to it as a last resort.(could be process specific) Indicating that your are too busy Calling out to someone to take a call without first putting the caller on hold
    71. 71. Handling objections Misconception – explain to the customer Skeptical – Prove by showing facts Bad experience Apologize and action plan Real disadvantage – Highlight other benefits.
    72. 72. Handling babblers Use close ended question to bring back – on - track Use minimum response
    73. 73. Some powerful tools when you have to say a ‘no’ The art of saying a SERVICE NO . How to use the Broken Record Technique
    74. 74. Giving Bad News: Common MistakesAvoidingRushingScapegoatingDominatingMiscommunicating
    75. 75. Guidelines for Giving Bad NewsPresent the bad newsListen and observe reactionDemonstrate empathyClarify misunderstandingExpress expectationsProvide assistanceEnd positively
    76. 76. You, Your and Yours The five most important words“T H A N K Y O U FOR CALLING” The four most important words:“MAY I HAVE YOUR NAME P L E A S E” The three most important words: “KINDLY HOLD ON” The two most important words: “THANK YOU ” The one most important word: “ WE ” The least important word: “I”