Try These 2 Things To Foster Rapport Over the Phone with Customers

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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.

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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. Continue reading “Try These 2 Things To Foster Rapport Over the Phone with Customers”

Handling Dead-Air Space On a Customer Service Call

 

Women with headsets working at a call center

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. Continue reading “Handling Dead-Air Space On a Customer Service Call”

Join My Telephone Skills Online Training. Now in progress.

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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.

Imagine 2018…. Continue reading “Join My Telephone Skills Online Training. Now in progress.”

This is How to Move Calls to Closure

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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: Continue reading “This is How to Move Calls to Closure”

Here’s a Great Energizer for Telephone Techniques Training Classes

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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. Continue reading “Here’s a Great Energizer for Telephone Techniques Training Classes”

This Grocery Store Opens at 8:56am and Closes at 8:04pm. Here’s Why.

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 I wanted to surprise and delight our early bird customers and I wanted to offer relief to upset customers who just couldn’t call before quitting time.

An excellent service experience from top to bottom has always been a fierce focus of mine. Today I discovered a grocery store that shares my idea of opening up just a little earlier for customers and staying open later. I’ll get to that in a minute. First, let me tell you about a service fail.

My daughter and I walked into a drug store 15 minutes before closing one night. The lights were already dimmed, and the closing announcement blasted over the PA system at least 3 times during our short trip to the store. Employees were busy shutting down registers and scurrying around to get things locked down by 9 pm. My daughter and I felt like unwelcome guests at a party, and we felt compelled to rush our shopping so that the workers could get out of the building no later than 9:01 pm.

This morning I visited Natural Grocers, a wonderful natural and organic grocery store.

I noticed their odd store hours posted on the door.

Monday- Saturday:  8:56 am – 8:04pm

Sunday: 9:56am – 7:06pm

Natural Grocers Great Customer Service and Odd Hours

Intrigued by the unusual hours, I went to the company’s website and found this:

We have a real pet peeve about those loud announcements that you often hear in stores, like this one:

“ATTENTION SHOPPERS! THE STORE WILL BE

CLOSING IN FIFTEEN MINUTES! PLEASE MAKE

YOUR SELECTIONS NOW AND GET TO THE

CHECK OUT SO WE CAN GO HOME!  NOW!”

Instead, we think if you have come to shop with us we should be happy you are here.  If you come a little early, we will open the doors with a smile to get you inside.  If you show up right at closing, you are still welcome to come in and shop at your leisure.  Those odd hours we list on the door are just a reminder to our staff and to you that we promise to welcome you and we will stand by that pledge.

My service experience at the drug store wasn’t horrible, yet it was far from remarkable. The friendly hours of Natural Grocers were refreshing, and they matched the service I got in the store.

Align your processes, policies, and people to deliver an amazing experience at the top of the day, throughout the day and at the very end of the day. 

If your contact center hours are 8 am – 7 pm and someone calls at 6:59 pm, they deserve your full attention and a complete and enthusiastic service experience. Do a little extra, and you’ll be sure to give your customers a memorable and refreshing customer experience that they’ll rave about.

If you’re into organic and natural food, you might want to check out Natural Grocers. Great selection and really great prices. Not to mention, wicked-cool store hours.

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Imagine sitting in a local coffee shop that’s nestled in a bookstore, and talking over a latte with Myra about ways to help your employees deliver the best possible customer experience and ways to help reduce stress on your employees as they deal with difficult customers.

Every week, often literally from a coffee shop, Myra gives you ideas that in one way or another are actionable towards improving your customer experience.

Sign up and join Myra over coffee every week.