Being a mediocre call center representative simply won’t reap very satisfied customers on the other end of the line. The tricky thing is, the tips and tricks utilized in years past won’t work nearly as well today. Customers have changed, and so have their expectations.
The article “State of the Connected Customer” reports in 2016 surveyed over 7,000 customers illustrated some sobering facts for businesses of all types, across all platforms:
- 50% of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs.
- 66% of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if they are treated like a number rather than an individual.
- 76% of consumers say it’s absolutely critical or very important to work with a representative who focuses on achieving customer needs instead of making a quick sale.
- 71% of consumers say that customer service provided on any day, at any time influences their loyalty.
With the age of technology in every hand and instant gratification beckoning, it’s easier and easier for customers to go elsewhere to have their needs satisfied. Call center representatives can keep up with this evolving reality by being prepared to give every customer an excellent experience.
Follow these six tips to raise your performance and you’ll find yourself becoming a master of customer service, keeping not only your callers happy but your clients as well!
1- Continue Your Training Indefinitely
The employee training you receive when you first get hired for the job is necessary and can go a long way to preparing you for taking calls. However, don’t think that there will never be anything new to learn. Whether in a formal workshop or during a casual meeting, take any opportunity available for further training. Ask questions, read case studies, talk to other reps, and share different scenarios. Soak up any chance to learn more about the art of customer service.
2- Design Custom Solutions
Every situation is different and each deserves a customized, personalized solution. One-size-fits-all approaches simply don’t give your customers any feel-good emotions. After you gather all the facts, take a moment and think through various options that can solve the problem rather than just offering canned responses. Remember, there is always more than one way to make a customer happy. Just be sure you are actually addressing the problem, not ignoring it.
3- Surpass the Expectation
Give extra attention, provide a quicker solution, follow up, or give a complimentary service. Whenever possible, try to surpass whatever expectation your customer has of you. This works well for every customer, but especially for the customers who are difficult or highly emotional. By catching them off guard with your above-and-beyond act, you’ll put them in a place of acceptance and gratitude instead of frustration and resignation.
4- Take Moments to Recharge
Constantly being on the other end of questions, concerns, and complaints can be taxing on call center reps. To be fully present and engaged on each call may, every now and then, require a few moments of recharging and resetting.
There is no one right way to do this. Some agents prefer to vent vocally to their understanding co-workers. Some prefer to take a hasty walk around the office to get some negative energy out and positive energy in. Others still may prefer a minute of meditation. Taking care of yourself will help you take better care of others.
5- Properly End the Call
Don’t just tell your customers “Thanks for calling” and hang up at the end of a call. This type of abrupt ending leaves customers wondering if their issue was actually resolved. Instead, offer reassurance and confidence by ending doing the following key actions before disconnecting:
- Reiterate the action steps you have taken during the call.
- State the action steps you will take as soon as possible after the call.
- Give the customer a chance to address other concerns or to request any further actions.
- Thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention and allowing you to help resolve it.
- Immediately after the call, make additional useful notes in case the customer calls again.
6- Above All, Be Kind
To go along with the above statistic, customers don’t want to be treated like a number. They don’t want to feel like the only reason you are talking to them is to make a sale. People deserve to be listened to openly and talked to honestly and kindly. Make them feel engaged, important, and valued. In return, you’ll be rewarded with loyalty.