Call center agents can be the first and only contact point for customers and are therefore often the face of a company. Every positive interaction a customer has with a company can turn them into a loyal customer and evangelist. Thus, positive interactions with well-trained agents will increase customer lifetime value and brand awareness.
Below are six suggestions from TalkDesk.com related to call center etiquette that agents and managers should always be aware of when interacting with customers.
- Be courteous. Agents should always treat each caller with courtesy. Ask how they prefer to be addressed, make every attempt to pronounce their name correctly and use this name consistently. Talk with a smile, remain calm and speak clearly. Wait for the person to finish speaking before speaking. These simple tips will go a long way in interacting with the caller in a positive and professional manner.
- Be honest. Agents should always be honest with their customers, never guessing or making up an answer. If the customer’s problem is beyond their competence level, the agent should politely explain that they will transfer the customer to an employee who can better address their needs or take time to find a solution.
- Be confident. Confidence is critical for any productive interaction. Ensure that your agents are well trained, well managed and properly equipped to handle difficult situations. This will instill confidence and interactions will be more effective and the image of the company will be more positive.
- Be interested. Agents must take a genuine interest in the customer’s question or concerns. This will make the process more enjoyable for both the agent and the caller. Call center work can be very monotonous. Agents should keep it fresh by taking a genuine interest in each caller’s unique situation, asking personal questions and attempting to make a quick connection. Throughout each interaction, agents should treat each caller as if that caller were the most valued customer of the day.
- Be neutral. Agents should not offer opinions or introduce their own biases into the conversation. They should always take a neutral stance on issues, but empathize with the caller’s needs. Taking a neutral stance will allow agents to more effectively solve problems in an efficient manner.
- Be flexible. Agents should anticipate the unexpected and be prepared to change course when necessary. Sometimes pertinent information will be obtained that can change the course of the problem solving efforts. Agents should always be flexible, welcome the change and keep the customer informed of the reasons for the change.
Providing quality service to each customer should be a priority of every call center. Managers and decision makers should define call center etiquette guidelines and allocate sufficient funds for proper training and monitor for adherence to the guidelines. When all agents adhere to etiquette guidelines, companies will gain an image of trustworthiness, honesty and effectiveness. This positive brand awareness is critical to any company’s success.