Great customer service is a cornerstone of a successful business, and if you want to keep your clients happy, you need good customer service on the phone as well as the sales floor. Wondering how you can improve your business's customer service over the phone? Take a look at these tips:
1. Hire with customer service in mind.
When hiring employees who are going to be fielding calls from clients, you should look for exemplary customer service skills. Pay attention to the person's voice and demeanor -- if they sound upbeat, that attitude will be infectious to your clients.
Also forgo the traditional interview questions and inquire about qualities that lend themselves to great customer service. For example, ask job applicants to describe a previous work situation in which they exercised patience or had to adapt to a situation quickly. Both adaptability and patience are key if you are talking on the phone with an inquisitive or complaining client.
If possible, do at least one interview over the phone so you can get a sense of the individual's phone demeanor.
2. Lead your employees in breathing exercises before calls.
When your employees are answering the phone at your business, they have to rely on their voice to relay emotion to the clients on the other side of the phone, and they have no recourse to using body language. This means your employees have to pay special attention to their inflection, but their breathing can also impact how well the call goes.
Long, deep breaths make a speaker sound like he or she is calm. In contrast, short breaths make a person sound anxious and nervous. To achieve calm over the phone, consider leading your staff in breathing exercises before they dive into phone calls. Alternatively, offer yoga or guided meditation for your employees. These disciplines both help people move away from shallow breathing toward deep breathing.
3. Make information easy for your employees to access.
When fielding questions and complaints from clients, your employees need to be armed with information. If your employees cannot accurately answer questions and provide information, your clients will get frustrated and dissatisfied. Ideally, you should train your staff thoroughly on all of the relevant information they need, or you should have a system in place where they can easily access information as they talk on the phone.
4. Be unique.
Whether on the phone or anywhere else, customer service doesn't have to be staid and traditional. It can be fun, quirky and unique in a way that mirrors your brand's image. If you combine the tips above and sprinkle in some unique flavor, that can be a recipe for success. For example, Netflix recently had a customer service rep who made national headlines for fielding a customer's concerns while pretending to be a character from Star Trek.
Although this interaction happened over web chat, the approach can be modified to work over the phone. Reportedly, Netflix gives their customer service reps a lot of leeway, and some analysts believe that Netflix's casual approach to customer communications may help propel the company into greater success with more subscribers.
5. Answer all of your calls.
In addition to providing great customer service on the phone, you want to eliminate unanswered calls. Clients who call and reach an after-hours voicemail may just hang up and call another company. However, if they reach a live answering service, they can get the answers they need.
Live answering services allow you to have your business phone answered 24/7, and you can choose a range of services. For example, you can have the service simply take messages for you, or you can have them answer client questions or even take orders. For more information about incorporating live answering services in your business, you can visit sites like http://www.ssnwhq.com.
Following these tips will improve your customer service calls, which will, in turn, improve your company's overall success.