How to Connect With Customers Over the Phone: 10 Methods
Why is customer service over the phone so important? Because despite the rise of emails, texts, and social media, customers mostly communicate through phone calls—especially when they want a problem solved or a question answered. As a business owner, you want to help customers quickly move on with the rest of their day, feeling satisfied. Therefore, attentive phone reps must personally connect with customers. This leads to happier customers and also higher morale at work.
How to Connect With Customers Over the Phone:
1. Answer their calls quickly
Make sure your live rep, or virtual receptionist, picks up each call before the fourth ring. This makes your customers feel important.
2. Limit wait times
No one wants to languish on hold waiting for someone to help them. Create a company policy where wait times are shorter, and your reps feel a sense of urgency. Offer online or call-back solutions rather than keeping customers waiting. Shorter wait times decrease frustration for both your customers and your phone reps. It may mean more employees or third-party contracts with call centers, but positive reviews and repeat customers are worth it.
3. Get it right the first time
One of the more aggravating experiences when calling customer service is having to explain things over and over again. Getting rerouted because the phone rep wasn’t listening or made an easy-to-avoid error is frustrating. Well-trained reps should listen, take notes, and make sure they explain the situation themselves to other departments when transferring customers.
Customers can hear your phone rep’s smile or frown. A smile translates into a friendlier tone that’s easy to pick up on. A friendlier vibe makes customers feel like they’re truly being helped.
5. Make it personal
Effective small talk can often mean the difference between an angry or satisfied customer. Encourage your reps to cultivate personal relationships with everyone they talk to.
Customer: “I’d like to get this solved before I leave for my trip.”
Rep: “I completely understand and am happy to work on this. Are you going someplace fun?”
Customer: “I’m calling from Chicago.”
Rep: “Oh, Chicago is so pretty in the summertime.”
Customer: “I’d love for you to look into this and help.”
Rep: “Absolutely. I’m looking it up right now. While the computer is loading, this may take a moment . . . how is the rest of your day going?”
Friendly reps who show empathy or match their customer’s enthusiasm will always do better when connecting over the phone.
Reps should be fully present when talking with customers. Provide a professional atmosphere where your reps give full attention to every caller. This includes asking clarifying questions, taking notes, and using the customer’s name throughout the conversation.
7. Stay positive
If your reps have a great attitude, that energy can be contagious. Using affirmative language is a giant step in that direction.
- “Thanks for waiting” rather than “Sorry for the wait.”
- “Your patience is appreciated” instead of “I know this is frustrating.”
- “Here’s a solution that might help” works better than “I’m sorry there’s nothing we can do.”
8. Focus on solutions
Make it a priority as a business owner to find ways to help every customer. Your company won’t be the right fit for everyone, but every customer can hang up feeling like your phone rep gave it their all. This helps further a positive reputation for your brand.
9. Underpromise and overdeliver
If your reps need to research an issue and can’t provide a solution right away, make sure they explain that to the customer. Telling callers what to expect while they’re waiting for a call back is essential. They want to know what is being done and when to expect an answer. If your reps tell them to expect a return call by close of business, make it a company practice to do just that. A few hours before close is even better. Communicating every step of the way helps customers feel like a priority. It also builds trust.
10. Follow up every time
No matter what, be sure to send an email or text to each customer after every call. Ask for their feedback on how the call went. Or just remind them that it was a pleasure to provide assistance. This lets them know their satisfaction is your goal. Your customer will feel appreciated.
Every Call Is a Learning Opportunity
As a business owner, you can learn something from every customer interaction. That’s another reason why follow-up is so important. Take active steps to reinforce what your phone reps do right and correct where they’ve gone wrong. This should be a part of onboarding and training new employees.
Remember that many callers start unhappy. They’re confused or dissatisfied. That’s why they’re calling in the first place. A well-trained phone rep can connect with customers over the phone and turn that bad mood around. This change benefits your whole team.
At ROI Call Center Solutions, we help business owners learn how to connect with customers over the phone and so much more. Let us help you today!