Your Employees Are Going to Have to Get Better at Asking Customers Questions

Operator woman talking on headset at work

Questions are a double-edged sword for customer service professionals. We have to ask questions to get to the root of the problem, completely log issues, and in general, to serve customers.

But often a series of questions can sound like an interview. If we’re not careful, a series of questions can come across as an interrogation.

Years ago, when I managed a small contact center, I realized that my team had to ask our customers 7 questions to completely log issues in our system. Seven questions is a lot.

Through call monitoring, I discovered that our customers were annoyed with our questioning. And it honestly sounded to me like we were interrogating our customers with our line of questioning!

So I began instructing my team to bridge to questioning and not just jump into our litany of questions. Here’s what I taught them.

1. Bridge Into Questioning

We can buffer the questions we must ask by simply bridging to questioning.  That is, make a statement to explain your series of questions before you launch the questions. Here are some good bridge statements:

  • “to determine what happened, I will need to ask you some questions.”
  • “Do you mind if I ask you some questions so we can figure out what has happened?”
  • “So I can assist you, may I ask you a few questions?”

These bridge statements make asking questions a little easier on your customer.

2. Be sure to use please and thank you in your questioning

For example:

  •  “May I have your zip code please?”
  • Thanks. I have one final question.”

You have to ask questions. Improve your overall customer experience by bridging to questioning and by using and please and thank you. When you do, your questioning won’t come across as an interview, or an interrogation and your customers will feel better about the interaction.

 

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Published by

myragolden

Myra Golden is an author, trainer and keynote speaker who has been helping companies for over twenty years to improve the customer experience through her customer service training workshops. Myra has a master’s degree in human relations and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, helping her to understand the challenges of developing the best customer experience as it relates to the psychology of the employees. Myra has helped Verizon Business, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Michelin Tires, Frito-Lay, Vera Bradley and many others improve the customer experience through her training. She was named one of the Top 10 Customer Service Bloggers by Huffington Post and she is the co-author of Beyond WOW!

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