Expert says: Kinga Edwards – Customer Experience Over The Phone: Delight Your Audience
Reading time: 8 min 51 sec
If you run a business, then you probably already know the importance of customer experience. For every company, having satisfied customers is half the battle to success. Meeting their needs both in terms of the products or services offered and customer experience will be very beneficial for business. Providing a high level of after-sales service and maintaining high-quality communication can really help with that. Did you know that, depending on the item, customers are able to pay even a 16% premium on the price if they have a high-level customer experience?
Most customer relationships are handled over the phone. Customer service for many businesses means call centers, and they are handling it this way. And that’s totally fine, although conversations over the phones can sometimes be tricky. It’s difficult to know exactly where you stand if you can’t see someone when they are talking, let alone provide them with a high-quality customer experience.
But we have some tips regarding this topic, with which your customers can be made to feel more than happy with your phone customer service. Are you interested?
1. Software is half the battle
Choosing the right tool is very important, as it can improve customer service and communication within the team. IVR, or Interactive Voice Response, is very useful in a call center. It’s an intuitive guide for your client, thanks to which they will ultimately reach the right agent.
IVR provides the customer with various options, so they can be proactive rather than reactive in terms of their problems and requests. This reduces waiting times and increases the probability of solving problems.
One tool that offers IVR is CloudTalk. It is a very intuitive software solution that offers countless useful features aimed at making customers feel more satisfied. Thanks to such functionalities, agents can operate faster and more efficiently. This tool also gives you a review of each agents’ performance.
Another helpful feature is caller ID, which provides agents with a comprehensive overview of clients’ data. This allows an agent to check a real-time card containing information like the history of a client’s calls, orders, chats, and more. Thanks to this, the agent can personalize the conversation from the very beginning, making the service quicker and more efficient.
It is also essential for your tool to integrate easily with your current platforms, software, and programs. CloudTalk’s API allows editing, adding, and removing agents, contacts, notes, and phone numbers, and more. You can also import existing contacts and download call recordings, among other features.
2. Active listening makes a change
Active listening is a very helpful skill, especially when working with clients. What is active listening all about? Its purpose is to show a caller that the agent they are speaking to is focused on what is being said. It consists of asking helpful questions, clarifying the content, and summarizing what has been said. What’s more, it is worth adding phrases like “OK, I understand” and “Yes, of course” into the conversation just to ensure that the caller knows the agent is following.
With active listening, what’s important is not only what’s being said but also the agent says it. The tone of their voice can tell the client a lot about the agent’s attitude, which is why they should be as cheerful as possible and speak calmly. It should also be remembered that when a customer calls with a given problem, they may be upset or angry about the situation. The agent should therefore show empathy and great interest in the client’s issue as to reduce negative emotions.
3. Keeping in touch with customers matters
Customer service via telephone is very often associated with a call center. However, there are other ways to handle it, and one of them is by SMS. About 60% of customers say that text messages are the fastest way for companies to reach them, so this is a great opportunity to reach clients that you should make use of.
SMS marketing is performing really well, and the pandemic has convinced even more companies to take this step. Nowadays, social life is concentrated on phones, so it is worth taking advantage of their power. Many of us check our mobiles after every single *beep* just to be aware of what is going on, and this means there is a good chance that a client will read your text.
Bulk SMS is an excellent way of keeping your customers in the loop, but an even better solution is to allow them to write back. SMSAPI provides this opportunity. You can send messages to your customers, e.g., to ask for feedback, and give them a chance to respond. This really improves the image of the company, as clients feel important, listened to, and have a feeling of real influence over what the company does.
Content is essential with SMS communication, especially considering it has to fit within 160 characters. A perfect solution is to send shortened links. Imagine you are organizing a contest, then you do not need to provide details about the rules as you can direct clients to a website for that. This allows room for the message to include a better incentive to participate, meaning don’t forget a clear CTA at the end.
With SMSAPI you can add a shortened link to every text you send, and don’t this can be done directly from the platform without the need for a separate tool. Thanks to adding such links, it is also easier to track performance. It will be clear as day how many people clicked on your link and seem to be interested in your competition. There are so many pros.
4. Honesty is always in demand
Sincerity is at the heart of any good relationship, including ones with clients. That is why it is so crucial for agents to always be truthful and open with clients. Nobody likes dishonesty, especially when money is involved.
Suppose a given customer calls with a request to solve their problem in a specific way that goes beyond the company’s services. In that case, the agent should immediately inform the caller about the situation and propose an alternative solution.
There is no point in promising to talk to a supervisor or ask someone else, for example, if it is evident from the beginning that doing so will change nothing in this case. Wasting a customer’s time is the worst possible mistake.
Another such situation is when an agent does not know the answer to a question or is simply unable to solve the problem. The agent should clearly explain that they cannot be of assistance. In this case, switching quickly to another agent who can help is the best option. It will save the client’s time and agent’s stress.
It is important not to promise unattainable things regardless of the problem a customer reports, as it would simply be counterproductive to do so. The client will feel deceived and having wasted their time. And what is even worse, they still will not have received the requested help. This is the worst possible scenario when it comes to customer experience, so be sure that your agents avoid such situations.
5. Being available round the clock is important
If you manage a global business, different time zones have probably made themselves known at least once. When you go to bed, many of your customers may just be turning on their computers to make purchases on your website.
Moreover, even if your business’s reach is limited to one time zone, it would be good if customers could contact support for more than 8 hours a day. Problems can occur at any time, so support should be available 24/7. How to provide it?
Of course, you could hire agents for shifts, which would be the best solution from the customer’s point of view. However, it is not so easy to find people who are willing to work at night. So how can you make your clients feel taken care of regardless of the time at which they call?
Setting up an auto-receptionist or automated voicemails are your best options. They are not replacements for a conversation with an agent, but the client won’t feel too ignored or abandoned either. Thanks to the recording of messages, they can leave their information and wait to be contacted back when your staff come to work. By doing this, customers will feel that they have voiced their complaints and that they will be solved soon.
6. Focusing on one task should be the priority
Customer service is all about helping customers, and that’s what agents should be focusing on. It can be frustrating when a customer calls with a specific problem and the agent tries to sell them a different product or service. That’s the job of a sales representative.
Naturally, if the given product was damaged or the subject of a complaint, then a replacement item must be offered. However, proposing a substitute product and persuading the client to buy another alternative one are totally different stories.
The customer’s experience is an important issue, and if they sense that an agent has a demanding attitude then they may resign from co-operation completely. In the end, customers contact support to get help, without being persuaded to buy.
In summary, the only job of a customer service rep is to provide assistance. They must ensure that the client is satisfied with the offered solution, and the agents themselves must answer any further questions that the client may have.
To sum up
Providing customer experience at a high level is important for the overall performance of your business. It can be challenging to maintain such standards, especially if you mostly communicate with customers by phone, but we hope these tips will help you keep your customers happy.
To recap, customer service agents should deliver the highest quality service. They should be available, honest, and focused on their main task, which is to help.
The use of tools that allow you to take this service to another level is also a must for every company owner. Take advantage of the capabilities of mobile phones by engaging your recipients in SMS communication or helping agents serve them faster and more efficiently. The right software can really be a godsend for your customer service team, so think about implementing a useful tool.
Hopefully, after reading these tips, you will know how to manage your customer service team in order to make your customers more delighted than ever before.