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”

These Are the Interview Questions You Need to be Asking Customer Service Representatives

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: The information contained on this site is meant as general information only. It should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice.  

There was a time when customer service departments/jobs were solely reactive. The job was to answer questions and resolve problems. But increased competition and higher expectations from customers have led companies to require customer service professionals to take on a more proactive role.

Customer service representatives are spokespeople and even sales people in addition to problem solvers. Customer service professionals have significant influence on customer loyalty and purchasing habits. Therefore, the hiring, selection and performance of customer service professionals are of extreme importance to the overall success of organizations. We have prepared a selection of interview questions to equip you to hire capable, right-fit employees for the critical customer service role.

The following questions are designed to elicit specific examples of the core competencies of successful consumer affairs professionals. All questions are open-ended and call for the candidate to offer an illustration of their performance in each of the core areas. You should take detailed notes on the responses during the interview so you can go back and review in greater detail.

I’m going to share with you 7 categories of great interview questions. Consider setting the meeting up like this: “I’m going to ask you some questions and what I’m looking for is specific examples that illustrate how you have responded to specific situations in the past. I’ll be taking notes as you talk, but you keep going. Feel free to take your time and think about responses before answering the questions.”

1. Customer Service 

Clearly, any candidate for a consumer affairs position must have a customer service mindset. This includes anticipating customers’ needs, thoroughly answering questions, having a positive attitude and understanding that the client is the reason you are in business.

  • What does giving “excellent service” mean to you?
  • Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty to serve a customer.
  • What do you like most about being in customer service?
  • What do you think is likely to be the difference between success and mediocrity in this position?

  Continue reading “These Are the Interview Questions You Need to be Asking Customer Service Representatives”

What Aikido Masters Know About Handling Difficult People That You Don’t

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I’m sitting at my desk reading feedback from my recent Verbal Aikido workshop. The workshop was: “What Aikido Master Know About Handling Difficult People That You Don’t” As you know, much of what I teach is focused on how to most effectively deal with difficult customers. So, for this special online training event I taught my clients how to deal with extremely difficult customers. I call these customers collectively The Consumer Vigilante. Here’s what one participant had to say about the training:

“We have seen versions of this before but I like that you are updating and refreshing these webinars. Sometimes seeing them refreshed or in a different format or something, it may help things click with some of the reps. I think with the climate we are in and more customers being stressed out than ever, we are having more and more challenging customers and our reps need the ammunition to help them and help themselves otherwise it makes the job so much harder. I can’t wait to get the recording of this to make this one a required webinar where we will sit down and talk about it afterwards as a team.”

Deb Riley, Former Consumer Affairs Supervisor, Ahold USA

In the training I explained that today’s consumers are impatient, savvy and relentless. Some customers, the consumer vigilantes, will stop at nothing. I walked my audience through the toll difficult customs are taking on employees and organizations:

  1. Extremely difficult customers are putting serious stress on employees. This stress is bringing down morale and inviting burnout.
  2. Difficult customers cost companies money! The time it takes to deal with unhappy and extremely difficult customers is taking time away from your best customers and resulting in a poor customer experience because staff can’t deliver the best service to the best customers.

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Screen shot from my Verbal Aikido rehearsal

I shared thoughts, stories, perspectives and research to inspire my audience to take a more focused approach toward handling difficult customers. And then I presented a powerful solution to handling difficult customers, the consumer vigilantes of the world: What Aikido Masters Know About Handing Difficult People That You Don’t 5 Aikido Principles for Creating Calm, Defusing Anger and Moving to Closure with Difficult Customers.

If you missed the big event, you can still purchase the training video. Your training includes: Unlimited viewing within your organization with no expiration Rights to download and save webinar video Rights to incorporate webinar within your Learning Management System (LMS) What Aikido Masters Know About Handing Difficult People That You Don’t 60-minute video on-demand video training $299 per organization Purchase

How to Forecast Call Volume In a Small Call Center Like A Pro….Without Spending a Dime On Software

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I’m working with a small call center in a large city-county library system. One of my main focuses for this library system is to improve the overall efficiency of the call center and to drastically improve the customer experience that is delivered through the call center. One of my recommendations for improvement in this contact center is for my client to begin using a tool to help the library forecast call volume and to use this projection data to better schedule for coverage.

Continue reading “How to Forecast Call Volume In a Small Call Center Like A Pro….Without Spending a Dime On Software”

What is a good target for call abandonment for a large call center?

 

Myra’s answer to What is a good target for call abandonment for a large call center?

Call abandonment is extremely tough to forecast and truly, there is no industry standard for acceptable levels of call abandonment. Some industry experts will tell you to aim at 6% or less, while others will tell you that 3% is unacceptable. 

Here’s some research you can benchmark against:

*According to the Help Desk Institute, the median call abandon rate among support call centers is 4%.

*Purdue Research Foundation’s benchmarking study found that participating call centers answered abandoned 5.85%

My advice is to determine what feels right for your business and to also realize that several factors affect caller tolerance.

Customer Service Q & A

Myra Answers YOUR Questions

Myra Golden

Myra looks forward to answering your questions about customer service, contact center management, and customer service training. Please e-mail Myra at info@myragolden.com or tweet her at @myragolden.

When calibrating for quality call monitoring, do you suggest calibrating scores only or also the coaching?

Q. My team meets weekly for a 60-minute calibration and we focus solely on the scores on the monitoring form. But it has occurred to us that we may not be consistent on the comments we individually share with our agents. Do you know if most call centers calibrate scores only or do they also calibrate the comments they share when coaching each attribute on the monitoring form? 

Myra’s answer to When calibrating for quality call monitoring, do you suggest calibrating scores only or also the coaching?

Great question! For optimum consistency I recommend calibrating BOTH the scores and the verbal comments about each dimension on your quality monitoring form. Warning…this gets complicated and very time consuming. But when you get consistent as a team on how you coach each dimension,  you’ll find that both quality of calls and consistency of coaching improves dramatically.

A few months ago I hosted a webinar entitled Call Monitoring and the recording is now available. This program has dozens of tips for more effective call monitoring, agent coaching, and it discusses call monitoring technology. I encourage you to take a look at this program, as it may give you great insight for your current challenges. View my call monitoring training outline.