Even as more and more service issues get routed through digital channels, interaction with customers over the phone is still at the very heart of customer service. A lot of providing that service relies on the extensive training representatives get on both the company and its products and the adoption of the corporate culture. However, all of this fine-tuned knowledge relies on an even simpler piece of the equation: phone etiquette.
The one piece of advice we’ve all received at some point is to smile. “The caller will hear it in your voice!” And this is very true. But good phone manners stretch well beyond a simple smile. A caller wants to feel connected to the person they are speaking with, so allowing your personality to come through on the phone is crucial. Avoid putting on a different persona and instead be yourself. Zappos! is just one company who has succeeded in this approach.
Whenever you start speaking with someone, introduce yourself and ask their name as well. (Don’t forget it and ask again later in the call when it needs to be entered into a field) Using their name throughout the time you are assisting them with their case will create additional points of connection.
Give Them Time
As the customer begins to explain their situation, avoid the urge to interrupt. Allow them ample time to explain everything to you and ask good questions to clarify any points you’re unsure of once they have finished. Acknowledge that you are listening while they are speaking with small affirmative words (“I see”, “Yes”, “OK”, etc.) or sounds (“Uh-huh”) to stay engaged in the conversation.
Sitting in the same position all day gets boring and that lack of energy can come through to our callers. Make a point of changing position often. Standing up is also a surefire way to regain some energy and shake off any brain fog that might be setting in.
Leave the Door Open
When ending a call, always first check to ensure the customer does not have any additional needs or questions. If not, offer a sincere thank you both for their time and for being a customer, and welcome them to reach out if they ever need anything in the future. (Don’t forget to use their name!)
A quick refresher on phone etiquette is an easy and straightforward way to improve service quality. Don’t let another day go by without reminding your team of the basics.