Bad customer service ruins your brand,” says communications expert Elaine Allison. “Everyone knows that customers will tell more people when they’ve had a bad experience, whereas they will forgive a business if it tries.” Here, the customer service guru shares her tips for optimal communication over the phone.
1. Be calm
If a customer is angry, it’s hard not to respond in kind—but expert customer service representatives know how to put on a shield and let people vent, Allison says. One tactic she suggests is the “broken record” technique: staff should repeat what they will do for the caller and, wherever possible, offer options.
2. Be courteous
Basic manners are the foundation of good customer service. This includes answering the phone with the company’s and staff member’s name, and utilizing polite language: please, thank you, and have a good evening. Tone is especially important over the phone, when you can’t rely on body language. Callers should feel that they’re being listened to, and that the person they’re talking to cares. Always end calls by asking if there is anything else the customer need.