5 Mistakes Your Employees Cannot Make on the Phone

Bored Telephone Worker

I just finished reviewing calls for a client I’ll be working with in Chicago. Before all of my onsite customer service training workshops, I like to listen to a random sample of calls between employees and customers. This call review helps me to know exactly where to focus in my training.

In today’s call review I noted 5 communication mistakes customer service representatives tended to make repeatedly. These mistakes happened multiple times with the same employees and I heard these mistakes being made by several different employees.

Here’s what I summed up on my legal pad after my call review.

  1. Employees often don’t speak in complete sentences. I’d hear things like, “Name?” “Zip code?” and “Serial number?”
  2. There was a lot of over-talking and interrupting. Employees would literally cut customers off mid-sentence or just over-talk them to make sure their point was made. That made me cringe.
  3. Dead-air space wasn’t handled well. While employees were busy looking through notes or trying to find something on the computer, they just let the customer hang on. I could hear keys clicking, gum smacking and occasional sighs, but there was almost no verbal communication during the dead-air space.
  4. The worst part of the calls for me was that there was no personal connection. Customers would often go right into their issue and then the agent would say something like this: “What’s your serial number?” There was no acknowledgment of the customer’s frustration, no “I’m happy to help you with this,” They just went into probing.
  5. At times I felt like the customer was made to feel stupid. It was like the customer was asking “dumb” questions, though all of the questions seemed reasonable to me. Employees would come back harsh or condescending.

This customer service group is in urgent need of my “intervention” and in exactly 16 days they will get it. I can’t wait to land in Chicago and give these employees the human relations skills they need to talk to customers with care, concern and friendliness.

When you enroll your employees in the online version of my “customer service intervention” training right now, imagine the benefits you’ll receive. Employees who struggle with apathy, rudeness or harshness will get the empathy training, telephone skills, and human relations skills they need and they will soften and deliver a better customer experience.

You can get these benefits and more – without having to buy my plane ticket, foot my hotel bill and pay my full-day training fee. If you’re ready to take your customer experience to the next level, check out my eLearning. Let’s get to work on this together.

 

 

7 Things You Can Say to Demonstrate Empathy to Customers

How to Express Empathy

One of the skills we practice in my onsite customer service workshops is Empathy. Here are some of the exact phrases that I share in my training sessions for use in our role-plays – and in real life with customers.

Continue reading “7 Things You Can Say to Demonstrate Empathy to Customers”

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Heard For Getting Customer Service Reps to Convey Empathy

Smiling Telephone Operator

Two years ago I was working with a company to help their customer service representatives convey empathy to customers. The intended outcome of the training was for employees to speak to customers with care, concern and compassion.

Achieving empathy in the customer experience is a bit like walking a tightrope. Too much empathy can result in longer talk times and inappropriate sharing between customer service representatives and customers. Not enough empathy and reps can sound cold and uncaring.

You have to find the right balance in empathy. Or else you fall off the rope and the customer experience is negatively impacted.

I asked my client how she saw appropriate empathy in her company. And here’s what she said.

Continue reading “The Best Advice I’ve Ever Heard For Getting Customer Service Reps to Convey Empathy”

Myra Golden Keynote slides from Atlanta Consumers’ Choice Awards

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Last night I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker at the Atlanta Consumers’ Choice Awards event. I met some amazing people who are responsible for driving the customer experience for such companies as Mercedes-Benz, Atlanta Special Events, and so many more.

This night was so great for me, because I love sitting with smart business owners who are passionate about achieving growth based solely on their customer experience strategy. I could have networked all night at this event! Well, I did actually.

For the benefit of my wonderful audience and for you, my blog readers, I am posting my slide deck from my keynote for the Atlanta Consumers’ Choice Awards. Enjoy. Learn. Share.

View or download my slide deck from CCA, November 14, 2013.

Here are 3 of the Customer Service YouTube Videos I Show in My Empathy Workshops

I’m really excited about delivering my full day Empathy workshop to a wonderful client in Montreal on Monday. I have been preparing for this event for months and I cannot wait to share my insights and enthusiasm with a group of 70 new hires.

For the benefit of my audience and as a perk for you, I am sharing the videos I’ll be featuring in the empathy training. I use videos to both teach a specific message and to add extra engagement during the training.

During and after live customer service training workshops people always ask me for the links to my videos, so I’m being proactive and sharing them now. 🙂

 

“Put Yourself In Their Shoes” video

This is a powerful video that truly gets participants to feel for another person. After this video, I divide participants into small groups and they debrief the video by discussing 4 questions that I hand out. Powerful, powerful video learning experience.

 

 

Patients: “Afraid and Vulnerable” video

This video helps me to get employees to recognize the impact of their words, body language and attitude on customers – be they patients, guests, etc. After we watch this video, I facilitate a discussion on how vulnerable, afraid, or confused customers can be and how we can put them at ease by being patient, fully present, engaging, caring and compassionate. I really love this video as a training tool

 

“Sympathy versus Empathy” video

I use this short video to clarify the difference between sympathy and empathy and I emphasize that in customer service, we are focusing on empathy, not sympathy. This video always gets smiles and laughs, while quickly clarifying the difference between empathy and sympathy.

 

“United Broke My Guitar” video http://youtu.be/5YGc4zOqozo

A lot of the times when I am training on empathy, we also discuss problem handling.I open the complaint handling module with the famous United Broke My Guitar viral video. This video gets laughter and demonstrates the power of social media. I mostly show this video to get laughter and to engage participants after our lunch break. But we make it productive by talking about how our attitude in problem handling can make for a bad customer experience.

 

I hope you enjoy these videos and that you might even find a way to use them in your own training. Now, time for me to do a complete run-through of this training so I can be great for my client in Montreal. 🙂

Now you can give your representatives even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience and for handling difficult customer situations. Sign up for my email list and learn specific tips, approaches and phrases to help your employees help your customers.

 

 

Special Video Training for Customer Service Representatives – How to talk to customers: Empathy and Tone

How to Talk to Customers: Empathy, Tone and Making Personal Emotional Connections On Demand Webinar Training

This new video contains a step-by-step approach to speaking with customers with a friendly tone, empathy and concern.

Your people will lean the secrets for making personal emotional connection over the phone, personalizing email and chat, and how to convey empathy and concern.

How to Talk to Customers: Empathy, Tone and Making Personal Emotional 

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The biggest problem with the customer experience in most companies is how employees talk to customers. All too often, employees come across as indifferent, cold, uncaring, rushed or rude. This employee “attitude problem” can be the tipping point that sends customers to the competition. This attitude problem is what drives customers to tweet and blog about a poor customer experience. The great news is, with the right training, monitoring and coaching, employees can learn how to soften tones, truly convey empathy, make customers feel taken care of and even make memorable personal emotional connections with customers.

Watch 15-minutes of How to Talk to Customers

In this extended training event, Myra shows your employees, step-by-step, how to talk to your customers. $299.

Download How to Talk to Customers Now