For small business owners all over North America, it is vitally important for them and their employees to master the telephone conversation. With the absence of facial expressions, hand gestures and other forms of body language, a company representative must adhere to particular customer service practices that will help the brand he/she is representing to earn glowing reputations.
Here are three:
1. When it comes to hold time, ask, don’t demand.
In the past, we’ve been pretty clear about our position on how to conduct proper hold times. There are great customer-building opportunities present when hold time is necessary. Instead of making a demand such as “hold please”, simply ask for permission. “May I please place you on hold for a minute while I look into that for you?” is an example of the appropriate way to go.
Firstly, it shows a sign of respect. Secondly, it provides a time frame (one you must be sure to stick to). Thirdly, it conveys the reason for the hold. All of the above factors make hold time (something most people don’t enjoy) a lot less unsavoury. “Before you place a caller on hold, ask permission first,” agrees Tamiya King on CareerTrend.com, “Once you’ve pressed the hold button, quickly work to address the customer’s problem as quickly as possible.”
2. Show your expertise.
Most customers are quick to lose faith in a company when its telephone customer service representatives sound like they don’t know what they’re talking about. Insist that your reps be thorough with their explanations. That includes asking questions of the callers to ensure that they have understandings of what was discussed. When customers are confused, they become a lot more likely to receive help elsewhere.
“It’s very, very important to train your team on this,” insists Sara Angeles on BusinessNewsDaily.com, “They have to give the client a list of what they’re going to do, then a time frame that is longer than necessary. Why? Because when you fix the problem in less time than you stated, they know you went to bat for them. You’ll have a totally loyal customer at that point. Take longer than you said, and they’re steaming mad.”
3. Maintain your professionalism.
Sometimes, it’s easy to fall into a casual state of being while you’re at work. Hamming it up with co-workers helps the day to go by quicker and for the overall working experience to be more enjoyable. However, it’s important to not let the good-natured atmosphere of your office environment impact your phone calls in a negative way. Of course, it’s important to be upbeat. But “What’s up?” is certainly no way to answer the phone, when at work. Long story short: avoid the slang terms as best you can!
“Using slang or shortened words during phone conversation is inappropriate and unprofessional,” says King, “For instance, if you have to check on something for the customer, say ‘just a moment,’ not ‘hold on a sec’.”
Of course, it also pays to use a VoIP-based telephone service. Nothing beats it! For information about MeloTel’s cloud-hosted Commercial Phone Services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the Live Chat feature on our website!