Ensuring your call center agents have proper phone etiquette can make or break your company’s customer service. In this post, we’ll highlight seven phone techniques your agents can use to ensure customer interaction stays seamless and positive.
Call center agents are typically the first point of contact for customers and, therefore, the face of your company. As the first line of defense, it’s crucial your agents have proper phone etiquette and access to effective training upfront. This will help keep interactions positive, boost the customer experience and, ultimately, improve brand reputation and awareness. Here are seven tips to help you get started.
#1. Never Interrupt
Some would say this is the golden rule of phone etiquette – and etiquette in general. But for call center agents speaking to current and potential customers, this is a big no-no. Training call center employees to listen – for as long as it takes – is key to helping customers feel valued and respected. Even if you plan on handing a call off to another team member, listening to a customer’s story (yes, even if the customer is complaining) will help customers feel acknowledged.
#2. Use Their Name
Human beings like personalization. Customers want to be understood and feel like the agent on the other end knows them. Saying someone’s name is a simple but effective way to do this. It also helps build loyalty and communicates to the customer that their feelings are valid and worth your time.
#3. Avoid Putting Customers on Hold
When a customer call is directed to a contact center, they want a fast, straightforward resolution. Nobody likes waiting. This is why placing them on hold is less than ideal. Sometimes, however, it is necessary. In that case, give them a chance to either call back or stay on the line. If they choose to stay, check back every few minutes to reassure them you’re working on the issue and will have an answer shortly.
Customers can hear a smile. As a call center agent, you want to be sure you sound happy when you’re on the phone. There’s nothing worse than being helped by someone who sounds like they don’t want to speak to you. Your customers can’t see your body language, but your words and interactions are just as important as a face-to-face encounter.
#5. Answer the Phone Quickly
When customers call into your company, they expect your undivided attention. The last thing they want to do is wait on the line for someone to answer. Proper phone etiquette recommends answering the phone in 2-3 rings. This reassures callers their call is important and that the agent is ready to help.
#6. Be Honest
Always tell customers the truth. Under no circumstance should an agent lie, guess or make up an answer. If you’re not sure how to answer a customer’s question, politely explain you’ll either put them on hold or transfer them to someone who can help. Letting the customer know you’re not completely sure of the answer but will do what it takes to find it will make them respect you.
#7. Be Confident
Confidence is critical to positive interactions. Customers are much more likely to appreciate an agent and feel like they’re in good hands when talking to someone that knows what they’re doing. A confident employee reflects the overall image of the company and shows the customer that you and your business are more than able to get them the answer or resolution they seek.
These tips may seem simple, but for a call center agent, every word matters. How you say things and handle situations can have a significant impact on your customers and your business. Paying attention to just a few of these tips will help build better customer relationships and overall better business.