This is the 7-point call strategy I use when my work is to improve the telephone customer experience in a call center. The lead-in, step 1, gets calls started on a positive note. Steps 2-6 […]
When I listen to phone calls ahead of training for contact centers, medical practices, and customer service departments, I spot five glaring problems in almost every company I work with. The Big Five Are: 1) Blunt, slang-like approach to asking questions, 2) Overtalking customers in an attempt to move the interaction forward, 3) No acknowledgment of the customer’s pain point, 4) Not listening, and 5) Missed rapport opportunities by not pacing.
Today I’m giving you quick fixes for the significant five issues I always see with my clients. You can use these solutions for a short 15-minute team training or in your coaching meetings.
1. Speak In Complete Sentences
Merely going from “Last name?” to “May I have your last name, please?” instantly makes interactions sound friendlier.
There are pretty much three voice tones you can use with customers.
This is the tone you’d use when disciplining a child or if you’re a police officer working to assert your authority. Rarely, if ever, would you use this tone with a customer. Having said this, you might have to speak authoritatively if a customer crosses the line and is profane or disrespectful.
The Authoritative Tone Can Come Across:
Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But, people will never forget how you made them feel.” That point right there – people will never forget how you made them feel – is why we created this course.
This training is about never having your customers hang up with negative feelings about how you talked to them. Here are 10 Takeaways Your Employees Get From My Telephone Skills Training.
- Three keys for how to make the most of the first six seconds of a phone call
- How to bridge into questions, so you sound friendly and helpful
- The art of yielding, so you don’t accidentally over-talk your customers
- Discover why speaking in complete sentences improves the perception of friendliness and helps you build rapport
- Exactly how to gracefully handle dead airspace, so you avoid that awkward uncomfortableness on the phone
For all of my customer service workshops, I like to arrive at least 45 minutes before we start so I can meet and talk to the people who’ll be spending several hours with me.
In the past, I’d just hang out in the back of the room, and I’d approach the front only after I was introduced.
But I’ve found that talking to workshop participants before the training starts helps me to connect with my audience before I speak my first word. It makes me more real to the audience, and more likable, and the training goes so much better after this rapport-building.
Just as taking the time to build rapport before my workshops makes a big difference, when you establish rapport with customers, the perception of the interaction is so much more positive.
We have a short video in my customer service eLearning suite that shows you how to use two super-easy techniques to build rapport over the phone. If you, or someone you know, can use a little help with rapport over the phone, watch this short movie now.
If you’re on a call with a customer, and more than three, or four seconds go by, and you haven’t said a word, that’s called dead air space. You’re working… you know that. But for the customer, dead air space feels awkward. So we need to learn the best way to fill the silent seconds.
Today, I’ll show you five ways to avoid the uncomfortable dead air space.
How did 2017 go for you? Employees still struggling with how to control calls with unreasonable customers? Your customer experience still not where you know it needs to be? Still trying to get your people to convey empathy? I know. The struggle is real.
The real question is: how will you gear up to make 2018 better?
Let me give your people the tactics, skills, and inspiration they need so they can deliver experiences that make you feel proud.
I try to make my training easy – for you, your employees, and even for me, by offering it online. I still do onsite training, of course, but online training saves time and money. And it keeps me off of planes.
There’s no sense stressing over 2017’s results. Let me help your workgroup thrive in 2018.
In a series of events, people remember the first thing, and the last thing, more than anything else. That’s why the way you open a call, and the way you end a call, is so meaningful.
Your call closing must do two things.
You need to share any next steps with your customer; and then, you need to end with a fond farewell. In this article, you’ll learn how to assertively bring calls to closure, and end with a fond farewell.
1. Start the call closure process by giving the customer any next steps.
Sharing next steps lets the customer know the call is almost over, and, this helps you to close the call quickly.
If you have next steps, just, share them. “Alright, Deon. I have processed your return. We’ll go ahead and ship the blue Nike Elite socks, and you should have those within 4-7 business days. You can check the status of your return by logging into our website.”
2. And, then you need to end with a fond farewell.
After you’ve shared any next steps, you move right into the final closure. End with the same energy and friendliness you had when you started the call. Nice farewells include:
In March I facilitated a 2-day Soft Skills training for more than a hundred people for a client in South Dakota. Do you know how hard one must work to keep 100 people fully engaged for 2 full days?
Hard. You have to work hard. And creatively. Of course, one must have endless energy too.
Fortunately I am anointed to engage audiences with boundless energy and stories. But it takes more than that. You have to engage audiences and keep them nearly spellbound. Or else you’ll lose them to their smart phones or thoughts.
I was going into the final inning of this 2-day training in South Dakota. Participants had just returned from lunch. If you’re a seasoned trainer, you know that the hardest part of training is right after lunch. That’s when you are at the greatest risk of losing your audience.
So, here’s what I did. Immediately after lunch I instructed my audience, already clustered in small groups of 8 at round tables, to think of a company. Any company. Small groups thought of all sorts of companies: Wal-Mart, Zappos, a taco restaurant, and pretty much any business you might imagine.
When I managed a contact center, I actually had our phones set to come on 5 minutes before our posted hours and to stay on 5 minutes past our posted hours. I did this because […]