Thursday, March 22, 2018

Are you Making the Most of Every Service Opportunity?

By Meghan Speer

I recently had to call into a company because the amount they charged me was incorrect. Working in the call center industry, I am always curious how these experiences will go, and often play the comparison game. How long do I have to wait? Do their agents sound better than ours?

If you’re reading this, I’m sure you know that game. In this instance, my call was answered fairly quickly, but when the person on the other side of the phone began speaking I wasn’t sure if I was speaking to a person or an automated attendant.

“ThankyouforcallingXYZCompany.ThisisJane.HowcanIhelpyou?” The line was a familiar greeting but it was delivered hurriedly and was devoid of any emotion or inflection. It was as bored sounding as I’d ever heard a person sound, and lacked any sort of caring. It takes a lot to surprise me on a customer service call any more, but I was actually taken aback by the unfeeling tone.

Once that agent realized she couldn’t help me, she transferred me to her supervisor. The change in tone couldn’t have been more dramatic. The supervisor got on, and in a very caring voice apologized for the wait, let me know the issue had been handled, and that my money had been refunded. Lastly, she asked if there was anything else she could do. Her tone was so genuine, that I actually ended the call with a smile on my face.

That call gave me three reminders that I think are important:

  1. Every interaction counts. One call can be the difference in making someone feel unimportant and frustrated in their day verses feeling cared for and going on their way with a smile. That’s a big responsibility but it also helps ensure customers stick around.
  2. Tone is key. A little bit of genuine caring goes a very long way in ensuring satisfaction. Tone has the power to keep or lose a customer altogether and needs to be an important value. Customers will appreciate the genuine sincerity and the overall experience when they feel truly cared for.
  3. Soft-skills training is a must. Every call center takes time to train its agents on the script, the goals, and the technology, but training for care, tone, and empathy are equally important. For us, my experience reminded us that those skills need to be consistently refreshed, retrained, and also evaluated as part of the quality assurance process. If we want the caring interaction, we must spend the time to build those skills. 
I have posted Shep Hyken’s quote on the wall in our office now: “Recognize that every interaction you have is an opportunity to make a positive impact on others.” It’s easy to just rush through a call, show attitude back to an angry caller, or just go through the motions, but people deserve more than that. We have the ability to impact someone’s day for the good and it’s time to take that opportunity!

As Vice President of Client Services for Marketing Support Network, Meghan helps clients grow their brand. She oversees the Inbound Call Center team, as well as the Digital Marketing Team.

Follow Meghan on Twitter!

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