As more and more companies adopt a customer-centric focus, customer expectations for service have increased. As a result, customer support quality has quickly become a differentiating factor between a company’s success and failure. Companies must therefore optimize their phone support quality in order to increase customer satisfaction and long-term survival. This blog post will help teams do just that. It offers 10 tips for excellent phone support etiquette so that your team can meet – and exceed – your customers’ expectations for service.
1. Be courteous
The first step to optimizing phone support etiquette is to ensure that agents are courteous with all callers. Some tips to keep in mind are to speak with enthusiasm, smile while talking, remain friendly and use pleasantries. Agents should also ask the customer how they prefer to be addressed and make an effort to pronounce their name correctly. Finally, they should use respectful and considerate words and phrases. Being courteous on the phone with customers can go a long way to ensuring the interaction is as pleasant as possible.
2. Develop an interest
Providing top-notch support often requires developing a genuine interest in the customer’s question, concern or situation. Agents can accomplish this by building effective rapport, asking probing questions and having some empathy for the customer. They should also establish a shared goal with the customer and get in the trenches with them to meet this goal in a timely fashion. Developing an interest in the customer will show them that your company cares about them and will provide them with the service they crave.
3. Remain professional
In order to provide amazing phone support, agents should maintain a level of professionalism throughout the entire conversation. This includes avoiding the use of slang or casual language when it is not called for and making sure that their conversations are in line with company values and goals. Taking a professional approach to interacting with customers will ensure that your agents represent your company in a positive light.
4. Convey respect
All customers should be treated with respect at all times. To accomplish this, train agents to use their active listening skills and allow the customer to finish speaking before responding. They should also develop an understanding of the caller’s needs, make an effort to accommodate them and respond with compassion when necessary. Finally, they should answer the phone promptly, ask for the customer’s permission before placing them on hold and continuously inform the customer of their progress towards their goal. Treating the customer with respect should be one of the top priorities of all phone support agents.
5. Answer honestly
Providing amazing phone support requires that agents are honest with their customers, teammates and themselves. They should never lie, guess or make up an answer. If they do not know the answer to a customer’s question, they should politely explain that they will transfer the customer to an employee who can better meet their needs. Customer’s will appreciate the candid response and will be thankful that there is someone on your team who will resolve his or her issue.
6. Be trustworthy
Building trust is essential to ensuring that the phone interaction progresses smoothly. Trust requires truthfulness, honesty, reliability, loyalty and integrity. In order to ensure that your staff is trustworthy, monitor for their adherence to these traits and provide them with feedback to steer them in the right direction when necessary.
7. Interact with confidence
Interacting with the customer with confidence is critical for ensuring that the conversation is both productive and effective. In order to be confident, customer support agents must be well trained, well managed and properly equipped to handle difficult situations. So train and manage your team well and watch as support quality skyrockets.
8. Be competent
Agents must demonstrate a certain level of competence in order to adequately address the customer’s needs. To ensure that your team is competent enough to interact with customers effectively, they should undergo thorough training before they hit the phones. Once they start fielding live calls, their managers as well as more experienced colleagues should closely monitor them. Finally, when the customer’s demands are too high, they must transfer them to a teammate who can effectively address their issue or concern. Following these tips will help to make sure your phone support agents are well qualified to meet their customer’s needs.
9. Take a neutral stance
Top-notch support requires that agents never offer their own opinions or introduce their own biases into the conversation. They should always take a neutral stance on issues, but empathize with the caller when necessary. This will allow them to more effectively solve problems in an efficient manner.
10. Remain flexible
When handling the phones, agents should expect the unexpected and be prepared to change course when necessary. Sometimes pertinent information will come to light that will necessitate a change in how the agent addresses the issue or engages in problem solving with the customer. When this is the case, agents should remain flexible, welcome the change and keep the customer informed of the how they will proceed.
Providing amazing phone support to each customer should be a priority of every company – and it all starts with proper phone etiquette. To help optimize your team’s phone etiquette, define phone support etiquette guidelines, allocate sufficient funds for comprehensive training and monitor for adherence to the guidelines. When all agents are compliant with etiquette guidelines, companies will gain an image of trustworthiness, honesty and effectiveness. This positive brand awareness might just be enough to propel your company ahead of your competition and win over your customers’ hearts forever.