How To Answer Customer Service Calls

Wondering how you can improve customer experience? Read on for the do's and don'ts of how to answer customer service calls

In today’s age of immediacy and automated customer service, speaking on the phone has nearly become a lost art. Despite this, companies are continuing to use this form of communication as one of their primary sources of customer service. 

Speaking over the phone brings a level of humanity to customer service calls. There are several factors that make or break a customer service phone conversation. 

Read on as we dive deeper into the do’s and don’ts of answering customer service calls. 

Dos of Answering Calls

When it comes to how to answer customer service calls, there are several key points that experienced agents tend to stick to when on the phone with customers to ensure they follow call center quality assurance standards. Here are some guidelines that we’ve rounded up to help you during your phone calls with clients.

Do Introduce Yourself

Right off the bat, introduce yourself and create a personal connection with the customer. Nothing makes a customer feel more at ease than a service agent who is friendly on the phone. 

Whether you’re just starting out as a customer service rep or want to brush up your skills, try out these tactics to open the conversation:

  • Introduce yourself immediately and ask the customer their name

  • Ask them how their day is going

  • Ask about the weather (yes, it’s an oldie but a goodie)

  • State your determination to help them solve their problem

Depending on who you’re talking with, it might take a minute or two for them to warm up to the conversation. Just make sure not to go overboard— you don’t want to end up speaking about dog breeds for the next half an hour. 

Do Keep the Conversation Warm and Friendly

When working with a customer in need of help, it can help to keep that human touch in mind. After all, they’re probably relieved to be speaking to a human and not a robot by the time they get to you. A little person-to-person friendliness can go a long way when having these kinds of conversations. 

Try these

  • Use the person’s name often in conversation to show you’re paying attention

  • Ask to double-check things so that they know you’re hearing their problems

  • Speak at a normal pace—you don’t want the customer to feel like you’re rushing them off the phone

Do Keep Things Positive

Warmth can do wonders when speaking with a customer on the phone. Try the following tips to keep the conversation positive and personable:

  • Use positive language and avoid negativity

  • Speak enthusiastically and encourage the customer to ask questions

  • Reiterate your interest in helping them

Do Stay Professional 

Although initiating the conversation with a personal touch can help the customer feel at ease, there is a line to walk between personal and professional when it comes to an answering service. 

If you feel yourself straying too far from the call script, pull back and focus on the issue at hand. After all, the customer is calling in regards to a product or service, so always lean towards professionalism instead of small talk. Plus, the customer will most likely trust you more if they know you are a highly trained professional. 

Do Actively Listen and Take Notes

One trait that all excellent customer service agents have is the ability to actively listen. Many people listen passively, only appearing to be listening until they have the opportunity to speak. 

Listening attentively to the customer, (and even taking notes), shows them that you respect their time. This attentiveness will be beneficial for you as well when it comes to resolving the issue at hand.

Do Answer Questions and Resolve Issues

Ask if the customer has any questions throughout the call. By going the extra mile and offering reassurance and continued support, you remind the customer that you care. 

Occasionally, customer service reps will run into the problem of conversation that lags. This might happen if a customer needs a bit of coaxing to come out of their shell. If this is the case, it won’t hurt to check in with the customer as the call progresses. Even just asking a question like the following:

  • “Does that make sense?”
  • “How are we doing so far?”
  • “Before I put you on a brief hold, can I answer any questions?”
  • “How am I doing so far?” 

These questions show that you’re invested in the customer experience.

Do Use Your Resources

Did we mention the importance of taking advantage of your resources? 

Living in a digital age, we have all the knowledge we could ever need at our fingertips. Because of this, it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the database of resources that your company maintains, or, at least know how to access it. 

The advantages to working with a customer service team are endless—at the end of the day, the goal of customer service is to help the customer, no matter how you resolve the customer issue. 

Don’ts of Answering Calls 

Picking up social cues and honing your listening skills come in handy when on a customer service call. Understanding how to navigate a conversation with a customer pays off in the long run, and that’s why it’s essential to understand what not to do while on a call.  

Here are some general rules of thumb to follow when speaking with a customer: 

Don’t Interrupt

Although seemingly obvious, a lot of people interrupt without even realizing it. When it comes to customer service, interrupting your customer is a big no-no. Not only does it frustrate people to no end, but it also prevents you, the agent, from hearing what the customer has to say.

If you’re constantly breaking the customer’s train of thought, you probably won’t be able to resolve their issue or answer their questions. Make active listening your new practice— you will save time and energy.

Don’t Rush

Despite efficiency being a prime concern of completing a successful customer service call, the most important part of an agent’s job is to make sure to resolve the customer’s issue.

By trying to speed through the conversation, you’ll undeniably create a sense of urgency and stress. This will, in turn, deter the customer from doing business with your company in the future. Instead, take the time to listen to what the client says— hop onto your calls with the sole motivation being to help the person on the other end of the line. 

By taking your time to work through the problem and explain next steps, you will demonstrate your attentiveness to the customer’s situation. As a result, the customer will feel like their individual problem matters and that they’re being listened to. 

Don’t Misinform

Knowing your company’s products and services inside-out is essential to being a successful call center representative. That’s why productive customer service agents study the various solutions and call scripts in order to better understand how to help their customers.

But if you don’t know something, don’t pretend you do.

 It’s better to direct the customer to someone who has the resources or knowledge they need instead of misinforming them. Or, try saying something like this:

  • “[Name of customer], that’s a great question and a little bit outside of my expertise. I’m going to connect you with someone who can give you answers with confidence.”

  • “[Name of customer], I’m so glad you asked that. I want to make sure I’m giving you 100% of the information you need so let me check with some experts before answering. Do you mind if I put you on a brief hold/transfer you to a department better equipped to help you?”

  • “[Name of customer], let me check with my supervisors so I can give you the most up-to-date information on that subject. Would you mind holding for just a moment so I can get that question thoroughly answered for you?”

Don’t Disrespect the Customer

Customer service can be a tough business. Customers may come across as impolite, unreasonable, or even just unkind. Even though it’s frustrating, remember that your job is to help the customer, and part of that includes staying calm and not taking what they might say personally. 

If a customer offends you, communicate calmly and remember that they’re speaking out of frustration. Or it might be that they are just having a bad day. 

Even though it can be difficult to be patient with someone disagreeable, try to stay professional. If this happens and the customer becomes more upset, it might be beneficial to remind them that you understand their frustration and are there as support. 

After all, we’re only human.

Avoid Putting the Customer On Hold

As a call center agent, it’s essential to manage your average handle time for call centers wisely. Avoid putting your customers on hold—it can deter them from further interactions with your company. 

If putting the customer on hold is unavoidable, make sure they know that you value their time and will get back to them in a timely fashion. If by chance the call is disconnected, make sure you have a way to reconnect with the customer. This shows initiative and willingness to go the extra mile. 

Outsourcing to Improve Customer Service Calls

Want to improve your customer service experience for your customers? Outsourcing calls can be a wonderful way to improve your customer’s experience and boost your business. 

Here are some of the benefits of outsourcing:

  • Can cut costs and save time. 
  • Creates a more streamlined workflow. 
  • Helps your business stay organized.
  • Brings structure to your business’  call center or answering service
  • Can bring more leads and revenue to your business.
  • Can increase productivity.

Nexa: We’re Here To Help 

With Nexa, you’ll never miss another customer service call. With our around-the-clock customer service team, you’ll rest easy knowing we’ve got your back. From answering calls to converting leads,  Nexa will be there. 

Lean back and reap the benefits as our team of highly trained specialists handle all of your business needs. Gone are the days of worrying about call scripts and managing your customer service agent team—our goal is to help your business grow through efficiency.

We’ve got you covered. 

Sources: 

HubSpot. The 11 Essential Rules of Phone Etiquette.  https://blog.hubspot.com/service/phone-etiquette

Wix Answers. How To Answer Customer Service Calls: The Dos and Don’ts.  https://www.wixanswers.com/post/how-to-answer-customer-service-calls

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