Every company aims to achieve the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Only a few aspects of taking inbound calls are as important to customer satisfaction as maintaining a positive interaction.
Service representatives can ensure callers have a good experience in a few different ways. Here are some of the things all businesses should know about what individual agents and call centers should be doing to maintain positivity in their inbound calls with customers.
5 Ways Agents Can Create a Positive Experience
1) Use a friendly greeting right away.
The very first component of creating a positive inbound caller experience is encouraging agents to answer the phone with a friendly greeting. It should clearly identify the name of your company to help callers know who they reached. This greeting will not only eliminate any confusion on the customer’s part but also set a positive and professional tone for the remainder of the call.
2) Provide accurate information.
It’s important for call center staff to provide detailed and accurate information at every stage of the interaction. When callers are fully informed this makes the overall interaction more positive. If that caller has to deal with a delay or inconvenience make sure they understand why.
Offering inaccurate information only increases the caller’s level of frustration. It leads them to develop a negative view of your business. It’s always important to handle calls efficiently. Still, agents should take extra time to find the specific information a caller needs.
3) Maintain an upbeat tone of voice.
In addition to answering calls properly and providing accurate information, call center staff need to use an upbeat tone of voice over the phone. An agent’s positivity will keep callers happy, even when they don’t get exactly what they want.
One of the best tricks to achieve this positive tone is for agents to smile as they speak. Even though the customer won’t be able to see it, the physical act of smiling will help a representative sound more upbeat and cheerful.
4) Avoid using negative words.
Likewise, call center staff should try to avoid strongly negative words, especially “can’t.” It’s much better to frame the conversation in terms of what the company can do for them. Offer your customers helpful alternatives instead of telling them what can’t be done.
Avoiding negative words and phrases keeps customers in a positive mindset as agents present solutions. This maintains a more pleasant and productive interaction for everyone involved.
5) When all else fails, remain calm and understanding.
Of course, there will always be some angry and upset customers who will take a toll on even the best call center agents. In these situations, it’s important for the agent to remain calm and remember that the customer is not lashing out at him or her personally.
Agents should remain empathetic, maintain a positive, helpful tone and do all they can to quickly resolve the problem. This might help them turn an angry caller into a satisfied one. Even if the interaction doesn’t go well, though, it’s important for agents to take a deep breath. They must regain their composure and move on to the next call as if it’s the first one of the day.
The Call Center’s Role and Responsibilities
Provide Effective Training
Much of the responsibility for how an inbound call goes rests with the individual agent who takes it. There is also a substantial supporting role for the call center as an organization. To begin with, the center should train its staff in the procedures and techniques listed above. Without good training, agents will have a difficult time resolving inbound customer calls satisfactorily.
Properly Equip Your Agents
A well-run call center should also provide its agents with a transfer button that allows them to easily escalate calls to the next level of customer service when necessary. This button should give agents a user-friendly way to quickly transfer calls to different supervisors or departments.
This directs the customer to the proper party and provides a better overall experience. While agents ultimately hold the responsibility of explaining why the call is being transferred and handling it in a professional manner, they cannot do this well unless the call center itself provides the right tools.
Maintain a Manageable Call Volume
Finally, the call center has a responsibility to manage its call volume efficiently. This keeps customers from long, frustrating wait times that set the mood before even speaking to an agent. Most customers are willing to spend a reasonable amount of time in the call queue. Remember that satisfaction begins to drop substantially once a caller has been waiting for more than four minutes.
This means it’s important for call centers to connect inbound calls before they reach that critical time threshold. Call centers should also maintain an up-to-date CRM system that will give agents immediate access to a caller’s previous information. With this information, agents can avoid repetitive questions, resolve issues more quickly and create a smoother overall experience for the customer.
When both call centers and the representatives who work in them make a concerted effort to provide callers with a positive experience, the result can be a much higher level of customer satisfaction. For businesses that are looking to build their reputations, gain repeat buyers and generally improve their customer service experience, a push for positivity in the call center is an investment that can pay dividends for years to come.