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Give Customers a Reason NOT to Hang-up

040106_038lr_2 I was call coaching in a client's call center the other day. The Customer Service Representative (CSR) and I listened to a call that was technically proficient, but when it came time to close the customer hung up the phone before the CSR had a chance to say "You're welcome" or "Have a nice day."

"That happens to me all the time," the CSR said. "Customers just hang up before I can respond to their thanks."

As we dissected the call and the CSR's quality scores, it began to dawn on him that he wasn't giving the customer anything to stick around for. His tone was flat, he never used the customer's name, he didn't personalize the call in any way and he never said more than what was technically necessary. He came to realize that customers were hanging up on him because he didn't give them any reason not to do so.

Most customers want a courteous, friendly, personal service experience. Like the driver of the airport shuttle who remembered me from the previous week and welcomed me back with a smile, or the manager of the gas station in Clear Lake where I regularly stop for gas who remembers me by name and makes me feel like I'm dropping in on a friend - customers like to feel that they are more than just another "call", another  "transaction", or a number.

Together, the CSR and I devised a plan to improve his service delivery and make it more personable including, but not limited to (goodness, that last phrase made me sound like a lawyer - Rush and Brett will be proud):

  • Use your voice tone as a tool to communicate to the customer that you're happy to hear from them and enthusiastic about serving them.
  • Use the customer's name conversationally. Don't use it repeatedly with every sentence so that it sounds awkward or forced. Comfortably lace the conversation with it.
  • Tell the customer you're happy to help ("Sure, I can help you with that.")
  • Be courteous. When asking for information, turn what sounds like a demand ("Account number?") into a friendly request ("Could I have your account number, please, Mr. Fritterbottom?").

When you deliver a friendly, personable experience, customers are more likely to pick up on it, appreciate it, and respond in a friendly, personable way.


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Just say no to talking like a lawyer. It's a curse. Great post by the way.


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