How to put your caller at ease? 8 tips and tools to excel at customer support
How do you talk to a stranger when they call you for help, or to complain? Customer care agents are expected win over hundreds of customers who call in to their centers, everyday. Here are some practical tips and tools to help you deliver the kind of stellar customer support that creates high customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
We decided to ask experts who have excelled at handling these calls themselves before rising to senior management positions in the industry: Sundeep Gursahani, Senior Manager, PISPL and Nikhil Pandurangi, Senior Manager, Maple Digital Technology International Pvt Ltd. Both have over 12 years’ experience in the contact center industry. We’ve enlisted their advice on how you put a stranger at ease, while our tech guru, Sudhamay explains how your contact center software can ensure it happens:
EXPERT TIP #1 DON’T INTERRUPT.
Sandeep advices that contact center agents should be good listeners and patient speakers. “Never speak over the customer or interrupt. That’s a rule.”
SUPPORT TOOL: Speech Analytics. Do your agents regularly interrupt or speak over callers? Can you make this a metric to measure? You can. Learn how your speech analytics tools can measure and identify interruptions here.
EXPERT TIP #2 PERSONALISE
Says Sundeep, “Try and personalise as far as possible, that is, take the caller’s name. This helps focus attention.” Nikhil agrees,” Try to personalise the call using customers name and be compassionate with the customer as if it’s your issue.”
SUPPORT TOOL: CRM Integrations. Identify customers by name when they call into your contact center. With screenpop integrations agents get all customer information on their dashboard. Learn how it works here.
EXPERT TIP #3 CONTROL THE CONVERSATION
Steer the conversation. “Contact center agents need to keep in mind that they are being measured on certain parameters. One of the parameters is average handling time. By having a controlled conversation. He/she will be able to steer the conversation in such a way where they reach a conclusive end, and save on time.” Suggests Sundeep.
SUPPORT TOOL: REPORTS. Use reports to measure Average Handle Time for for each agent on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
EXPERT TIP #4: YOU ARE RIGHT
Nikhils favourite phrase, to put the customer at ease is “You are right”. According to him these are the three magic words that can make a caller feel that you are with him/her
SUPPORT TOOL: SPEECH ANALYTICS. Want to train your agents to say “you are right” or any other phrase that you think works best? Train them, and easily test who and how often they put the phrase into use –using speech analytics.
EXPERT TIP# 5: You can sell too.
Customer support can help win sales too. Nikhil states” today we are looking for agents who are multi skilled. We train people with good communication to learn to manage some amount of revenue generation too.”
SUPPORT TOOL: CRM INTEGRATION. CRM integration can give agents access to customer history, past purchases and other clues that can help them cross sell and up sell products.
EXPERT TIP #6. GIVE VISUAL CUES
“Can I place you on hold? No. Don’t place me on hold, Don’t put me on mute!” Sundeep gives some great advice on how to signpost instead of placing customers on hold, “There are limitations to a phone conversations. I tell my agents that it is important to create a visual for the caller. Never say ‘let me place you on hold’. Callers dread that moment. It creates a visual that there is a desk, there is a computer, and the person has gone off somewhere. The seat is empty. If it will take less than a minute, we signpost instead. Explain to the caller, “So, I am looking at your account right now, I can see that the last call you made was etc. Now, the caller will visualise a monitor with your account details. It really works. They haven’t called to listen to music, they’ve called to speak to you.”
SUPPORT TOOL: CRM INTEGRATION. Customers like it if you are looking into their problem on your monitor without them having to repeat details. Give your agents the power to do this with CRM integration.
EXPERT TIP#7. GREET WARMLY.
Finally, Sundeep says,” Open each and every call with a smile. When you are smiling to a caller, the caller can actually figure out.”
SUPPORT TOOL: We’re out of ideas here. But, something tells us, you can manage this yourself 🙂 Keep smiling.