Tips for Delivering the Best Customer Service on the Phone
Why is Great Customer Service Important?
Customer service professionals know too well that the customer is always right—even when they’re wrong. In today’s business world, the customer’s experience should always be the number one priority, no matter what industry you’re in. Customer loyalty comes as a direct result of feeling valued and appreciated, so it’s important to show your customers that you’re willing to go the extra mile to keep them happy.
Proactively following these tips for delivering the best customer service is the key to building long-lasting relationships with your customers. When done right, it can turn a one-time customer into a lifelong advocate for your business. Not only that, but happy customers are also more likely to spend more money and refer your products and services to others.
You can spend thousands of dollars on marketing but if your customer interactions leave a lot to be desired, all of that effort (and money) will go to waste. On the other hand, if you deliver outstanding customer service, you’ll create a domino effect that will do wonders for your business.
How to Improve Customer Service Skills for Yourself and Your Team?
Whether you are a jack of all trades or a certified customer service professional, there’s always room to improve customer service skills. After all, the customer service landscape is constantly changing and evolving, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.
Here are some useful tips for delivering the best customer service that will help you and your team can use to deliver world-class service that will set your business apart from the competition:
Active listening is one of the most powerful techniques to make sure each customer is satisfied. Be attentive, ask relevant questions to determine what the customer needs, and learn from the customer. Developing listening skills takes time and has a high payoff in improving customer satisfaction. Pay attention to the caller’s emotional state, issues, desires and concerns and repeat key information back to them so that they understand that they have been heard.
2. Project Empathy and Ability
A confident and caring manner in call answering goes a long way toward instilling customer confidence. Once you assure the customer that you understand the issue, proceed to resolve it. If it’s necessary to consult with someone else, let the customer know how long it will take and offer to call the customer back or allow the customer to hold.
3. Be Pleasant
Top customer service agents understand the importance of answering the phone with a smile and keeping a positive tone of voice. The only connection to the customer is through the voice, and a genuine smile comes through in the communication.
4. Employ Good Phone Manners
Treat your customers as valuable and value their time. It’s imperative to ask customers if they mind before transferring them or placing them on hold. Answer calls as soon as possible and keep wait times short. When the telephone experience shows customers that you respect them, they are much more likely to keep coming back.
5. Employ the 5 C’s
Keep communication in customer service clear, complete, concise, concrete, and correct. Make simple statements in basic language. Give complete information in compact form. Be specific and give accurate facts. Allow the customer to ask questions and take the time to offer clarification. The communication is only successful if the customer understands the facts and has been given full information.
AnswerHero consistently employs these five points of call answering communication. Our live call answering services will help you meet your customer service goals.
6. Keep It Positive
Your customer service representatives should always use positive reinforcements to encourage your customers. After all, no one wants to be berated or made to feel like they’re not important. Using positive language is a simple but effective way to show your customers that you appreciate their business and value their feedback.
If you want to improve customer service, you need to make sure that everyone on your team is on the same page. Having a customer service policy in place will ensure that everyone is providing the same level of service and following the same guidelines.
A well-written customer service policy should outline your company’s commitment to providing excellent customer service, as well as the expectations you have for your customer support team. It should also provide clear guidelines on how your team should handle customer complaints and feedback.
7. Keep Your Word
Everything we mentioned above means nothing if you can’t deliver on your promises. If you tell your customer that their issue will be resolved in 24 hours, make sure it is. If you say you’ll call them back, do it. And if you say you’re sorry, mean it.
Your customers need to know that they can trust you to keep your word and follow through on your promises. Keeping your word shows that you’re reliable and trustworthy, which are two essential qualities that customers look for in a business.
Keeping your word and seeing to it that the problem is resolved promptly is key to ensuring maximum customer satisfaction. At the same time, do not spend too much time handling a request while other customers are waiting. Know how to prioritize your tasks to use your time more efficiently.
8. No Weak Links
If you are managing multiple customer service teams, customer service training is essential to ensure that everyone is on the same page and providing the same level of service. It’s important to remember that each customer service interaction reflects on your business as a whole, so even one weak link can jeopardize your entire operation.
One way to identify any loopholes in your customer service process is to conduct regular customer service audits. This involves secretly calling or emailing your team posing as a customer with an issue. This will help you identify any weak points in your process and take the necessary steps to correct them.
You can also measure customer satisfaction by gathering customer feedback through surveys and using customer relationship management software that tracks customer interactions. You need to take a data-driven approach and improve customer service to consistently deliver a superior customer experience to your clients and stay ahead of the competition.
9. Make Sure You’re Always Available
One of the hardest things about providing great customer service is making sure that a customer service agent is always available to assist your customers. After all, they can’t get in touch with you if you’re not there. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done, especially for small businesses.
The best way to get around this problem is to hire a trusted and reliable phone answering service like AnswerHero. Having a customer service team that is available 24/7/365 will ensure that your customers can always get in touch with someone who can help them, even if you’re not available.
Customer service interactions happen even after regular business hours, so it’s important to have a plan in place for how you will handle them. Taking the time to set up an after-hours customer service system will show your customers that you’re always available to help, no matter what time it is.
10. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it
Callers you speak with on the phone are only able to hear you. Any facial expressions or body language are hidden from their view. For these reasons, receptionists must take time to speak slowly, carefully, clearly, and professionally every time you answer a call.
11. Modulate! Modulate! Modulate!
Always remember to use a normal voice volume when answering calls. If you are aware of your tendency to speak loudly or even shout, make sure you avoid doing so while you are on the telephone. Avoid eating and drinking while taking calls. These activities should be reserved for your lunch or coffee breaks.
12. Patience is a Virtue
Always practice patience and help the clients. Should the caller be angry or upset, listen and find out why so you can refer him or her to the right resource. Avoid acting rude toward the caller, as this will only escalate the tension on the telephone. Should a co-worker interrupt you while you are speaking with a client on the phone, let them know you will get back with him or her after you finish your current call.
13. Be Honest
Before placing a caller on hold, always ask for his or her permission. If the situation requires you handle more than one call at a time, politely ask the caller if he or she will hold. The caller may have been placed on hold one or more times, or has already been on hold for an extended length of time. Therefore, please ask for his or her permission politely with the assurance you will answer his or her call as quickly as possible. Remember to never leave a client on hold for too long of a time, as he or she could choose to disconnect the call. Also, if the call volume increases beyond what was originally anticipated by the business, the owner and/or manager may wish to hire a virtual receptionist to assist his or her on-site staff member.
Get One Step Ahead of the Competition
By following these tips for delivering the best customer service, you’re already one step ahead of most businesses. But if you want to really stand out from the crowd, you need to go above and beyond to deliver an exceptional experience and improve customer service.
If you are looking for the most effective and cost-efficient way to provide world-class customer service, consider outsourcing your phone answering needs to a trusted partner like AnswerHero. We can help you take your customer service to the next level, so you can focus on running and growing your business.