Call handling skills are essential for good customer service, but they don’t always enjoy the recognition they deserve. Effective call handling requires more than just technical knowledge. It requires superb communication skills and the ability to make each caller feel like a VIP. In this article, we’ll celebrate the remarkable work that top call centre agents do and highlight the call handling techniques that every customer service agent should put to work.
Tone of Voice and Call Handling Etiquette
When you’re answering the phone all day long, it can be hard to sound energetic and ready to help, but that’s just what you need to do. The first impression your customer has is of your tone of voice and initial greeting. Your company will usually have a policy on the latter, but the tone of voice in which the greeting is delivered is all yours.
Think about what you’d like to hear if you were the one calling for assistance. Practice your routine greeting using a voice recording. Listen back and decide whether your delivery fits the bill. Top tip! Smile when you speak. Yes, it’s invisible, but a smile really does influence the tone of voice and it can actually be heard!
Do maintain a positive attitude throughout the call. Never betray impatience, even if you feel it. Instead, work on an empathetic approach. On occasion, customer complaints can be downright silly, but it’s not your place to say so. In some instances, you are fully justified in refusing to assist, but you can always say “I understand how you feel,” and sometimes, that’s all your caller wants.
Listen and Understand
Have you ever spoken to a customer service worker who just doesn’t seem to listen to what you say? Instead, he or she zeroes in on a couple of keywords and gives you a generic answer that doesn’t solve your issue. Communication isn’t just the ability to speak well: listening is a vital component.
Keep an open mind. Don’t try to predict what your caller is going to say next. Never interrupt. Jot down a few notes if necessary. Once your client has explained his or her issue, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Ask Questions and Try Summing up the Problem
Now that you think you have grasped your customer’s enquiry, it can be tempting to jump right in with a possible solution. Be cautious. Ask questions to clarify any points you aren’t entirely sure of. Then try summing up the query briefly to see whether you are understanding the issue correctly. Once your caller confirms that you have grasped their questions, you’re ready to start looking at possible solutions.
Know Your Stuff
No matter how good your telephone call handling skills are, you won’t succeed as a customer care agent if you don’t know your stuff. After all, most callers need practical advice from you. That means an intimate knowledge of the technical aspects of your company’s products and services and a clear understanding of company policy.
Even with exhaustive knowledge, you might find yourself handling a new situation that you aren’t entirely sure of. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge any gaps, but since this means a delay in providing your customer with service, apologise and be ready to follow up so that your customer gets help as soon as possible. If you decide to leave your client on hold, be sure that the waiting time is reasonably short. If the waiting time is likely to be long, offer to call back, and be sure you do so.
Follow Up and Follow Through
Before you or your customer ends a call, confirm any next steps, and if there aren’t any, check that you’ve resolved the query to your client’s satisfaction. Once you’ve done that, ask your caller whether there’s anything else you can help with. Customers may have secondary concerns that they haven’t mentioned in the call so far. Encourage them to ask for any additional help they may need.
It’s also important to accurately record your contact and its results using your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. This information can help another call agent to handle calls from the same customer, picking up where you left off if necessary. It also helps your company to gather data regarding common customer questions or issues that will help them to improve their service offering in future.
It’s All About People Skills (Plus a Bit of Acting)
Effective call handling requires a range of skills that are not always valued as they should be. And although sincerity goes a long way, there’ll be times when you will even need to be something of an actor. After all, you may have to deal with recurrent, routine queries, and the last thing you should do is sound as bored as you might feel.
You may also find yourself in the uncomfortable position of having to deal with irate clients, not all of whom will express themselves with due moderation. Even if you’re furious, you need to sound calm, in control, and absolutely professional.
At RSVP, our agents have mastered best practices in telephone call handling techniques, and we appreciate the care and attention that they bring to every call they field. What are call handling skills? We’d sum it up as the many elements that turn a call into a positive customer experience.
It’s why so many top businesses outsource their inbound customer service and support to us. Their clients will receive the best in customer care, and no detail is overlooked. Would you like our team on your side? Our skilled agents are at your disposal! Building a team with top-notch communication skills has never been easier. All it takes is RSVP. Let’s get started! Call us today!