Call center agents are often the first and only point of contact that your customers will have with your company. From our experience analyzing results from call center software users around the world, we know it only takes one negative call center experience for a customer to decide that they don’t want to do business with you.
In order to attract and keep customers, contact centers need to foster a culture of customer service, which starts with these 5 essential tips for excellent call center etiquette.
1. Body Language Counts – Even If Your Customers Can’t See You
Believe it or not, body language is an important part of proper call center etiquette. Even though your customer can’t see your expression or how you’re sitting, they can hear it.
If you’re working from home and sitting on the couch with your feet propped up, you’ll sound bored and uninterested. If you’re sitting up straight, you’ll sound like you’re ready and willing to assist with anything your customer needs.
2. Never Interrupt a Customer – Ever
If your call center is focused on customer support, chances are that you listen to countless complaints each day. As difficult as it might be, it is important to listen to the whole problem. Even if you end up passing the customer along to another agent or department that is better equipped to handle their particular issue, simply listening will help the customer feel valued.
3. Ask First, Then Act
Whether you need to transfer a customer or put them on hold, it is important that you remember to ask first.
Let’s say that you need to transfer a customer to another department, but you know you’ll need a few minutes to explain the situation to the next agent. All you have to say is: “It will take me a few minutes to make sure that John understands what you need, so is it okay if I put you on hold?” Most people will say yes, and your request will make them feel like they have a say in the situation.
4. Keep Your Customers Informed
One of the key performance indicators of customer support-focused call centers is first call resolution. But, sometimes, you can’t fix the problem right away.
If you know that you can’t resolve a customer’s problem during the call, it is important to be clear and specific about the next steps you're going to take on their behalf. Tell the customer exactly what you are going to do, and how long it will take for their issue to be taken care of.
And don’t forget—always give yourself or your team more time than you think will be necessary. If you fix the problem is less time than you initially quote, you’ll have a loyal and happy customer. If it takes longer, the problems begin.
5. Know How to Handle Frustrated Customers
One of the biggest tests of contact center etiquette is how you handle an angry customer. First, don’t tell the customer to calm down. In most cases, that’s only going to escalate the situation.
As a customer service representative, you should begin by speaking in a slightly louder voice. Your first words should be reassuring things like “How awful,” “I completely understand how you feel,” and “You’re right to be upset.” The customer will begin to feel understood, and they’ll know that you are their advocate.
Once you’ve diffused the situation, it is important to be as detailed and thorough as possible as you explain how you will resolve the customer’s concern.
Contact Center Etiquette Tips
These best practices for call center etiquette can help both managers and agents improve customer experience. If you're looking for additional resources on contact center etiquette, explore the articles below: