You’d be hard pressed to find a small business owner who doesn’t agree that customer service is the main ingredient to marketing business success. And because a customer’s first and sometimes only – interaction with your business takes place over the telephone, it’s essential to help your employees be the best they can be on calls.
So, here are nine tips from Valpak Direct Marketing for helping your employees make every phone experience with your customers a great one.
- Treat your receptionist like business royalty. If you have a receptionist, he or she probably answers most of the calls. That makes the receptionist the front door to your business. Small acts of kindness and tokens of appreciation go a long way to making your receptionist happy and motivated, so use them. If your receptionist is treated like royalty, chances are she’ll treat the customers on the other end of the line like royalty, too. Here are 51 ways to reward your receptionist without spending a dime.
- Listen in to recorded calls at random and award good examples of customer service as well as make suggestions for improvement. If your phone systems don’t record calls, there are still ways to capture customer service calls on a recording. We offer a service that lets you listen to calls coming in from your ads.
- Sit up straight and smile. Something as simple as your body posture actually affects your tone of voice. Try doing this and encourage your employees to do the same.
- Give your employees the power to please the customer. As the boss, you have the power to “right a wrong ” when a customer is upset. But you can’t handle every call and situation. So, give your employees the freedom to use their good judgment and resolve customer complaints. Requiring employees to seek approval on every special request only frustrates the customer. In our recent post, “How to Find & Keep Rock Star Employees” we shared some tactics that can pay long-term dividends to customer retention.
- Don’t talk and drive. Any time calls are made from the road, require hands-free talking with headsets or Bluetooth. Or, ask employees to pull over to take calls. A distracted employee isn’t going to be focused on the call OR on the road. What’s worse, distracted driving can also endanger the employee.
- Use happy vocabulary such as “I’d be glad to…” and “certainly”. This sets a positive tone for the customer, letting him or her know that their happiness comes first. Try it with your employees and they’ll follow suit.
- Hire people who love people. They’re predisposed to putting the customer first, using happy language and delivering good customer service.
- Always find resolution. Make sure employees understand if they aren’t able to help a customer because he or she simply doesn’t know how, it’s okay to tell the customer “I don’t know, let me check and I’ll get back to you.” But let your employees also know it’s never okay to not get back to a customer without an answer or solution.
- Communicate terms that are no-no’s. Remind your employees frequently of your expectations on what is and is not okay to tell a customer. “That’s not my job.” “That’s not our policy.” “That’s a different department.” “I am not authorized.” “Can I call you back? We’re real busy right now.” Uttering any of these phrases could be the kiss of death for good customer service.
In any company, good customer service starts at the top. As the leader of your business, your team looks to you; watching you for clues and replicating your examples. What other techniques do you practice to win over your customers on the phone?