04 Sep 10 tips on customer communication by phone for Irish Financial Sector
Communicating with customers effectively helps in building a positive business relationship for customers. Dealing with customers over the phone is a large part of customer service, and a skill that must be developed over time.
Our tips below focus on delivering great customer service over the phone, even when dealing with difficult queries.
1. Be An Active Listener
Active listening means signalling that you are paying attention to what the other person is saying. You can do this is a number of ways – by agreeing with the customer, asking detailed questions on the information they have provided to you, or paraphrasing what they have said. This is an important practice with all conversations and demonstrates that you are paying close attention, which leads to building a positive relationship.
2. Never Interrupt
Interrupting a customer can make them feel like they are not being listened to resulting in a loss of trust in you and your company. Furthermore, interrupting a customer while they are detailing a complaint may cause you to miss an important aspect of the issue. Always wait until the customer is finished speaking until you ask any clarifying questions.
3. Understanding Emotions
Empathy is your friend when dealing with customer complaints. If they are having an issue with accessing finances, emotions can run high. You can expect anything from annoyance, panic and anger. Understanding that your customers may be in a pressurised environment, and empathising with them will help you get to the information you need to solve their problem.
4. Modulate Your Voice
Having a phone conversation with someone who doesn’t sound interested is always unpleasant. Be conscious that your voice is the only impression the customer has of you. So, try to ensure that your voice doesn’t sound monotone, and do smile while you speak – this affects your speaking voice to sound more alert and aware.
5. Beware Negative Questions
Avoid asking negative questions, for the sake of clarity – eg ‘You didn’t use an ATM at 19.15 yesterday?
Keep questions as simple as possible – eg ‘Did you use an ATM at 19.15 yesterday?’ This helps to avoid confusion and having to repeat questions.
6. Anticipate Questions
Use your experience when dealing with customer queries. Do customers tend to ask the same questions in relation to one issue? Or do they experience similar problems with a particular service? This information can help you in dealing with future customers and provide feedback for product and service developers.
7. Be Aware Of Customer’s Knowledge
It’s important to know what level of experience each customer has with the product or query they approach you about. If you can quickly establish the level of knowledge they have you can then avoid either giving them too much or not enough information.
8. Interpret Issues
While referring to tip 7, try to make explanations to your customers easy to understand. If you have to explain something complicated don’t be afraid to use an analogy to simplify it – this can help get your point across quickly and effectively.
9. Stay focused
Keep your attention on the conversation at all times. Avoid multitasking while speaking to a customer – it is easy to tell through tone of voice, or lapses in conversation whether the person at the other end is paying attention. This will also help avoid missing any key aspect of an issue.
10. Continue The Conversation
Following up with a customer is always a nice touch. Ensuring that their issue has been totally resolved shows that your company is invested in them. Depending on the original issue, and the customer, it can also be an opportunity to upsell, but use this option wisely.
If you would like to find out more from our eBook on Customer Service in the Irish Financial Sector
For more tips on customer service via phone, see these links:
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