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How to deliver exceptional customer interactions over the phone

According to customer service statistics, 91% of unhappy customers aren’t willing to do repeat business with a company.

However, if you can resolve complaints in their favour, 70% of customers are willing to continuing doing business with you again.

Stats like these show just how important good customer support is to your bottom line.

One of the most critical areas to address is customer interactions over the phone.

Being able to pick up the phone and speak directly to one of your representatives can be reassuring for customers. It can also be a speedy way for them to get their issue resolved.

However, if customers are met with long hold times or unhelpful service, this can add insult to injury and make for a highly negative customer experience.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can ensure this doesn’t happen. Ready to optimise your telephonic customer support? Keep reading for the essential tips to implement for exceptional customer interactions over the phone.

Fast customer support response times

To start things off on the right foot, keep a close eye on your customer support response times. This is important for all customer contact solutions and channels.

However, it is critical for telephonic client communications.

Because callers are actively waiting in the line, holding periods can feel a lot longer than they indeed are. According to research, consumer’s perception of hold times is often far longer than the actual duration.

What’s more, customers are tied to the phone during this time, waiting for a response. Customers are unable to do anything else until they are attended to.

Minimising hold time is vital because it will reduce hang-up rates. It will also lay the ground for more positive interactions.

Besides this, it helps to show you respect customers’ time, business, and issues.

Warm greetings

You should also ensure that agents answer incoming calls with a warm greeting with a fast response time.

It’s easy for busy agents to fall into the habit of lukewarm greetings. If you’re saying, “Welcome to XYZ business, how can I help you?” a hundred times a day, there’s a good chance you’re going to start repeating it like a robot.

Therefore, make it a point to remind agents to display genuine warmth and friendliness. A great trick that many good agents use is to smile while picking up. This translates into the vocal intonations, rendering them friendly and welcoming.

Active listening

If you’ve ever called a company with an issue before, then you know how frustrating it can feel if it seems like the representative isn’t listening to you.

Effectively solutions start with active listening. Not only does this give agents the information they need to resolve the issue, but it also assures the customer that they’re being heard.

Practising empathy in all customer interactions

Besides practising active listening, representatives should also show empathy in all situations.

The last thing you want your customers to feel is that your business doesn’t care about them or their issues.

Therefore, even if they are unreasonable or impatient, agents mustn’t respond in kind. Instead, they should express sympathy and empathise with the customer.

Besides verbally expressing empathy, representatives should also provide audible queues. These should show that they are listening and are in sympathy with the customer.

Avoid placing blame

Agents should also avoid placing blame during customer interactions over the phone.

Even if the issue is partially a result of an action on the customer’s part, they don’t want to hear this. Having it pointed out to them will only make them more frustrated.

Instead, customer support representatives should steer clear of allocating blame. Instead, they should focus on resolving the problem.

Validating customers

Another tip for exceptional customer interactions over the phone (and via all customer contact solutions) is validation.

Clients who aren’t having a good customer experience need to feel heard. Validating the way an unhappy customer is feeling can go a long way to reversing their experience.

If a customer voices frustration, an appropriate response might be: “It’s completely understandable you feel this way. I am going to do my best to see how we can resolve this for you.”

Keeping customers informed

Keeping customers informed is another way to optimise your telephonic customer interactions.

Things like long pauses and unexpected transfers are highly offputting. Instead of understanding what’s happening, the customer is left hanging on the end of the line.

To prevent this from happening, customer support agents should tell customers what they are busy doing if there is a pause. Saying something like “Just give me one moment while I check your order status” reassures callers that they haven’t been cut off and are still being attended to.

In transfers, agents should always inform customers that they are about to transfer them and to whom.

Conveying a sense of urgency

Conveying a sense of urgency is another effective method for re-establishing customer trust.

If a customer is having an issue and the representative they speak to doesn’t seem to hurry to resolve it—this can give a strong impression that your business doesn’t care.

To avoid this, representatives should convey a sense of urgency. While speaking with customers, they should do on-the-spot actions such as quickly typing off a short email to another department.

Multitasking is one of the customer support skills representatives need, so vet for this when hiring.

Unifying communications

Besides ensuring agents are handling customer interactions correctly, you must also equip them with the right tools.

One of the most important is unified communications.

When call centres operate in silos, it can create a very inconvenient customer experience. Without unified communications solutions, customers often have to repeat themselves.

Unified communications streamline customer interactions. It ensures that agents have the information they need at all times. It also facilitates seamless communication with customers across multiple channels.

This provides clients with expedited customer support and an excellent omnichannel experience.

Are You ready to upgrade Your organisation’s customer interactions over the phone?

Optimising customer interactions is essential, not only for customer loyalty but also for your bottom line. Don’t let small mistakes in telephonic customer support rob you of repeat business and good reviews.

Instead, get to work laying the ground for exceptional customer interactions today.

One of the first places to begin is with your infrastructure. If your organisation is yet to implement unified communications, now is the time.

Head over to our services page to get started.