Connect with Your Caller

People call your company for many reasons.

 

Sometimes they call because they saw an advertisement or they have questions and company websites don’t have the answers. People also call because they need help. Often people dial your number because they are ready to buy. Regardless of the reasons, as humans we are wired to interact with other humans. People call to connect with other people. When individuals call to connect, it’s your turn and opportunity to connect as well.

 

57% of People CALL a business because they want to talk with a real PERSON (Martech)

 

And phone calls are the best leads. Here’s why.

 

CSRs and company employees connect with callers is many different ways. The four crucial areas are:

GREETING AND POLITENESS

 

  • Answer the phone with a friendly greeting
  • Give your name and the company name
  • Use an enthusiastic tone
  • Say “thank you” and “please”
  • Be professional
  • Avoid slang language

 

This blog will help you understand why you need phone etiquette.

 

GATHER CONTACT DETAILS SUCH AS THE NAME

 

  • Ask for the caller’s name
  • Try “whom am I speaking with?”
  • Use the caller’s name periodically

 

ACQUIRE CALLERS’ PHONE NUMBER

 

  • Ask for the caller’s phone number
  • Say something like, “can I get your phone number?”

 

TAKE OWNERSHIP

 

 

 

74% of CONVERTED CALLS are answered by employees who take ownership

 

Recently, Listenforce developed its own Artificial Intelligence software. Listenforce

AI found that if you plan to have a successful call taking ownership is imperative. In fact, ownership language was used 74% more often in converted calls than non-converted calls.

 

Since implementing artificial intelligence, we have scored and statistically evaluated over a million phone calls. In many cases, the data confirmed our beliefs, and in some cases, we were blown away by the results. The culmination of experience and research has led to the development of the CLARC Skills.

 

In this blog, we talked only about ‘C’: Connect with Your Caller.

 

Our ebook: Guide to Better Calls talks about all the CLARC skills. To know more about CLARC skills, make sure you download the ebook today!

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You Had Me At Hello

Do you handle business calls? How many times during the day can you relate to this GIF?

 

via GIPHY

Well, Jill Konrath says that 97% of all business calls now go to voicemail. (Source)

 

Frankly, leaving a voicemail is the stodgiest routine work ever because people never get back, do they? Leaving a voicemail would be less a part of the day if you could reach the person or they called you back! A quick call back in acknowledgment of our time and efforts is all we ask for!

 

Here’s how you can get more and more customers to call you back and you can feel better about leaving voicemails:

 

How to encourage customers to call you back?

 

#1 Do Not Literally Follow a Script

 

Reading a script word for word sucks out the warmth from your words (and is a boring job!). In order to sound friendly and still stick to company protocol, follow a bulleted summary of your script instead of a detailed complete script. Here’s an example of a summarized list:

 

  • Your Name, Company Name

 

  • It is okay if you accidentally skip your name but do not ever skip your company’s name. The name will stick and help a lead easily find you on the internet.

 

  • Reason for calling

 

    • Your reason for calling must sound acceptable and not feel like a waste of time. A strong reason will persuade the customer to listen to the complete voice message and not press delete just half way through the voicemail.

 

via GIPHY

 

  • Customize proposal for a particular client

 

    • A customized proposal will push your prospect to call you back. Feel free to include a quick reference or question about something personal to the customer. For example, a quick inquiry about the issue you last solved for them, or a common interest. Avoid sounding cliche.

 

  • Your contact information

 

    • Be very clear when mentioning your contact details. Preferably, repeat the details twice and mention your available hours if you aren’t available 24/7.

 

  • Promise of a follow-up

 

    • A promise shows you care. But if you promise an email, send an email. If you promise to send a reminder, send it. Because the customer will depend on what you promise and use it as a reason to not call you back if you fail to deliver.

 

  • Ask the person to call back

 

    • This may sound ‘philosophical’ but you only get what you ask for. So do not hesitate to clearly ask for a call back. Let your customers know you are expecting them to call you back, that you’re waiting to hear from them.

 

These bullet points work like a speaker’s notes. They help you stay on track and not sound like a robot or a bored employee.

#2 Keep It 17 to 25 Seconds Long

 

What? Cover all the above bullets in 17 seconds? You must think I am crazy!

 

But, I’m not. Here’s a script that sticks to all the above-mentioned bullet points and ends in 17 seconds.

 

“Hello John. This is Sarah with Listenforce.

We’ve a customized pricing ready for you. Do call me back and we can make changes if you’re not happy with the details. Call me back on 123-456-7890.

I hope our revised reporting plan is working as expected. Have a great day John. Bye!”

 

The purpose of a voicemail is to get the customer to call you back. So, try to trigger interest and save your real pitch for an actual sales call. Make a voicemail short and simple.

 

#3 Study And Improve

 

Listen to your own voicemails as if you were the receiver and be honest about if you would call back. If the answer is no, find out why. 

 

  • Were you unenthusiastic?
  • Was your tone monotonous?
  • Did you not ask the lead to call back?
  • Were you too aggressive?
  • Did you not smile?
  • Are you following necessary phone etiquette?

 

Asking yourself the real questions will help you be better, one step at a time.

 

via GIPHY

 

Additionally, analyze the voicemails you do receive a call back from. Find out what worked and implement it in your next voicemail.

 

Rehearse a voice message in your head before you dial. This will boost your confidence and speak with authority.

 

#4 Other ideas to incorporate…

 

  • Use the prospects name often
  • Use strategic pauses. Be aware of the modulation and inflection of your voice.
  • Avoid sales speak. “Lowest price guaranteed!” is a big no-no.
  • Smile. The customers and leads can hear it!
  • Do your research to add a personalized touch.
  • Provide context if the lead is at an early stage of your marketing or sales funnel.
  • If you’re repeating you contact information, say the same thing but in a different way.

 

How to encourage customers to leave a voice message?

 

You do not want to lose leads who contact you after business hours, so you need a voicemail system.

 

  • Avoid Cliche

    • Phrases like “Your call is very important to us…” are overused and have lost meaning. Be creative and straightforward.

 

via GIPHY

 

  • Let the customer know he/she reached YOUR voicemail

 

    • Mention what business, department, or person are they leaving a message for? This will help you lower the amount of wrong numbers.

 

  • Apologize for not being available

  • This shows you care and what the customer or the lead has to say is valuable to you.

 

  • Ask them to leave a message

    • Again, you only get what you ask for.

 

  • Mention when they can expect a callback

    • Make sure you stick to your words and do call back with a solution. Nobody wants to repeat the same issue over a call.

 

  • List any additional options

    • If there’s a way the customer or lead can get their question answered immediately, mention that option. It could be contacting on Facebook Messenger or visiting your website’s “Help” page.

In Closing

 

If done right, your voicemails will strengthen your relationships and add value to your company’s public image. So, have fun with them,  experiment to find the right fit, and keep hitting those phones.

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Train the Trainer: Managers Role in Customer Service Training

Simply put, customer success or customer service is the lifeblood of your business. Period. And customer success goes beyond one team and encompasses an entire company culture. Research shows that customer service is paramount with company success:

 

When asking consumers what impacts their level of trust with a company, offering excellent customer service ranked number one. (Dimensional Research)
89% of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.  (Harris Interactive)

 

In addition to these stats, customer satisfaction directly affects your bottom line over time:

 

The average customer spends 67 percent more money during his or her third year as a customer than during the first year as a customer. (Source)

 

Every responsible manager must know these customer service stats if s/he wishes to deliver outstanding customer experience. Plus, s/he must be open to being trained.

 

In past blogs, we addressed the role of a sales manager in coaching, but today we will be talking about the role of training in enhancing management skills.

 

train the trainer

 

Why Train the Trainer?

 

Politeness, proactiveness, a helping nature, and a smiling face are the basic makings of a customer service representative. Plus, the main factors in ensuring that employees maintain this approach at all times are the attitudes and behaviors of the management itself.

 

It’s easier for most people to follow a live, breathing person than to follow training manuals and presentations. The presence and responses of a manager leave a deeper and more prolonged impact on the team when compared to the teachings and instructions of any coaching programs.

 

If a manager exhibits a positive customer service attitude the team will follow suit, and their focus will be the customers’ needs. If the manager often fails to be a good example, then the team will lose motivation to endorse the current business trends. If the manager himself fails to model the company principles, the team will work to either complete work hours or work just for money, which brings the company down!

 

It is crucial that managers first understand the impact of their behaviors and then make efforts to bring about a change. An easy way to get managers on board is with customer service training. If you have managers resistant to training, this might help you convince them:

 

  • The team’s success depends on the one who manages them. A manager can build a roadmap to success only if s/he masters customer service values and hence, leads by example.
  • Customer success trends change. Therefore, the customer success team’s approach must also change. When adapting to these changes, the team members will expect directions and answers from no one else but the manager. Keeping yourself up to date with trends is easy but understanding it enough to be implemented within a team requires training.
  • Other than qualities to achieve customer service excellence, a manager can develop many soft skills like confidence, flexibility, creative thinking, listening well, effective communication, and many others.
  • A program focused on developing managerial skills can act as a platform to discuss employee-specific issues that might require special or different treatment.

 

train the trainer

Before We Meet Again

 

Training a trainer holds them responsible for their actions. It helps them understand their role and most importantly their impact on the fellow team members. It ensures the reinforcement of company values and customer service attitude at every level of the business.

 

Quick Tip: In a training program for managers, do not forget to include content and particular perspectives that will help managers to fulfill their roles as both supervisors and mentors.

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Customer Success Trends That Leave an Impact

Sometimes, customer success can feel like a complicated task.

 

So many things to think about. Support Tickets. Cases. Live chats. Rapid responses. Reviews. Phone etiquettes. Growth rate. Churn rate. Customer service training. Sales Coaching. Quality assurance. Etc. Etc. Etc.

 

It can feel a bit overwhelming. Let’s go back to the basics today and dig into what do your customers expect from you. After all, customer satisfaction is nothing but surpassing customer expectations, right?

 

Here’s a list of customer success trends or simply, customer expectations, you should be aware of in 2019.

 

Expectation #1:

Customers are willing to solve their own issues

 

Customers do not want to wait for answers. They want to find solutions on their own and in real-time.

 

72% of US online consumers prefer to use a company’s Web site to get answers to their questions. (Source)

 

With this data, companies need to think beyond the basic live chat and support tickets.

How can you help customers solve their own issues?

 

Solution:

Create a knowledge base on your website

 

This knowledge base on your website also needs to be easily accessible. A knowledge base can save your precious time spent over and over again answering the same basic questions over phone calls and live chats.

 

Publishing user manuals, how-to-guides, walkthroughs, knowledge base articles, self-serve documentations etc. can help you enrich your product information. When designing this content, keep your purpose at the center, you want to help customers find answers to their questions.

 

Expectation #2:

Customers don’t want to wait for office hours to find a solution

 

Let’s just agree, with every new generation, being patient is becoming a rare quality. Here’s a simple proof:

 

A 1-second delay in load speed will cost you 7% in conversions (Source)

 

With that being said, a delay in response to a problem that’s disturbing enough to be reported is definitely a big no-no!

 

What do you do? Make sure customer service and technical support are live 24 x 7? Umm… That’s expensive. Here’s a cheaper solution.

 

Solution:

Implement a ChatBot

 

This trend looks at involving AI-driven chatbots on your website and messaging platforms.

 

Chatbots can answer questions even in the middle of the night. If programmed properly, with chatbots your customers just have to click through a few buttons to find what they’re looking for. They don’t have to sit and explain their problem or wait for a person to find a solution. With chatbots, they decide how the conversation goes ahead.

 

Remember, chatbots aren’t here to replace human agents but to aid them to work smarter and more efficiently.

 

You can add links, videos, PDFs, documents, GIFs, etc. to the conversation flows of your bot to make it fun and help increase the time visitors spend on your website. Giving your bot a real personality can also positively affect customer happiness.

 

Easy-to-use knowledge base + AI-driven chatbot = Decreased number of support tickets and irate customers!

 

Expectation #3:

Customers want you to be ubiquitous

 

And by ubiquitous I mean present and active on all social media and messaging platforms.

 

Whether a customer tweets about their issue or explains it over Messenger, they expect a quick response. Your customers are using messaging platforms like Whatsapp (1 Billion daily active users and 55 Billion messages sent per day) and Messenger (1.3 Billion active users) on a daily basis. It is their means of communication and you need to be there.

 

Solution:

Merge customer support and social media response team

 

48% of consumers expect a response to social media questions and complaints within 24 hours. (statista)

 

So, if either your customer support team isn’t present on social media or your social media response team cannot answer basic customer support questions, then you need to act quick! Customers can ask you questions anywhere, anytime and you need to be there. Here are some more statistics that explain the role of digital media in customer support.

 

Supporting this trend further, Apple launched Apple Business Chat back in 2018 that empowers companies to connect with customers on a much more personal level.

Plus, WhatsApp for Business is a dedicated version for SMBs that allows you to manage customer interactions on a smaller scale.

 

Expectation #4:

Customers prefer video content over text

 

A video is worth 1.8 million words/min. Here’s how:

customer success

(Source: Convirza)

 

It’s no secret that the value of video in content marketing is on the rise. And, it’s not to be taken casually. Hence, more companies are shifting from text content to small interactive videos.

 

Solution:

Obviously, create more videos!

 

Creating videos can be an intimidating task but remember, your video content doesn’t need to be perfect, it needs to be unique and insightful. You can choose from a variety of marketing video types: here’s a list.

 

And if you don’t have a budget for creating videos, here’s a free option: Live streaming! It doesn’t require a specific platform or any skilled resources. And video streaming makes up 58% of internet usage worldwide. Here are some benefits of live streaming that will encourage you to pick up your phone and go live the next time something exciting is happening around you!

 

Ending Thoughts

 

Customer service today is way more than just reading scripted responses and being polite over the phone. There’s a reason customer service teams today are more commonly being called “customer success” or “customer happiness” teams.

Customer success trends are nothing but customer expectations that are satisfied beyond expectations! Your company’s customer success story will be an anecdote of how you found solutions to your customer expectations. We tried to help by providing some easy and not-so-heavy-on-the-pockets solutions. We would love to hear how you dedicate time and resources to keep your customers happy. Best of luck!

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The Ultimate List of Customer Service Statistics for 2019

Excellent customer service reigns supreme in the world of business. Consumers demand it and businesses flourish when they embody good customer service skills and standards. We have compiled an extensive list of statistics that prove the importance of customer service for every company.  After all, “Customers do not care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” — Damon Richards, Customer Service Expert. (Forbes)

Why Good Customer Service Matters

  • In 2017, 64% of Americans contacted some form of customer service. (Statista)
  • Globally, 54% of all consumers say that they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago. (Microsoft)
  • Across the globe, 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand. (Microsoft)
  • When asking consumers what impacts their level of trust with a company, offering excellent customer service ranked number one. (Dimensional Research)
  • 48% of consumers expect specialized treatment for being a good customer. (Accenture)
  • 72% of consumers say that when contacting customer service they expect the agent to “know who they are, what they have purchased and have insights into their previous engagements.” (Microsoft)
  • Brands are viewed more favorably by 77% of consumers if they proactively invite and accept customer feedback. (Microsoft)
  • 68% of customers believe the key to great customer service is a polite customer service representative. (American Express)
  • Americans will pay 17% more to do business with firms with great reputations when it comes to customer service.(American Express)
  • 70% of consumers say they have already made a choice to support a company that delivers great customer service. (American Express)
  • 52% of consumers say they have made an additional purchase from a company after a positive customer service experience. (Dimensional Research)
  • About one in three people (30%) say the most important aspect of customer service is speaking with a knowledgeable and friendly agent. (Microsoft)
  • A 5% increase in customer retention can produce 25% to 95% more profit. (Bain and Company)
  • Friendly employees or customer service representatives are what make a memorable experience that causes consumers to stick with a brand, for 73% of customers. (Harris Interactive)
  • Companies that excel at the customer experience drive revenues 4% to 8% higher than those of their market. (Bain and Company)
  • 67% of customer churn is preventable if firms resolve issues the first time they occur. (Ameyo)
  • Millennials will pay 21% more to do business with companies who excel at customer service.(American Express)
  • By 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the main differentiator between competitors. (Walker)
  • A $1billion company can generate an average $823 million revenue increase in three years with only a moderate enhancement in customer experience. (Temkin)
  • Companies which deploy a thoughtfully crafted customer service program enjoy a 92% customer retention rate. (Business Intelligence Group)
  • 70% of unhappy customers are willing to forgive and shop with a business again if their problem is resolved. (Glance)

 

How Bad Customer Service Hurts

  • 52% of people around the globe believe that companies need to take action on feedback provided by their customers. (Microsoft)
  • 33% of customers who abandoned a business relationship last year did so because personalization was lacking. (Accenture)
  • 89% of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.  (Harris Interactive)
  • Attracting a new customer is 6-7times more expensive than retaining a current one. (Huffpost)
  • 90% of customers are influenced by positive reviews when buying a product. (Dimensional Research)
  • One-third of consumers say they would consider switching companies after just one instance of bad customer service. (American Express)
  • The majority of Americans have decided to not go through with a purchase because of a poor customer service experience. (American Express)
  • The average American tells 15 people when they’ve had a poor customer service experience. (American Express)
  • 27% of Americans report “lack of effectiveness” as their number one frustration with customer service. (statista)
  • 12% of Americans rate their number one frustration with customer service as “lack of speed.” (statista)
  • 79% of consumers who shared complaints about poor customer experience online had their complaints ignored. (Harris Interactive)
  • Only 1 out 26 unhappy customers will make a complaint to the company about their experience. The other 25 churn and look for another vendor. (Huffpost)
  • 56% of people around the world have stopped doing business with a company because of a poor customer service experience. (Microsoft)
  • 72% of consumers see having to explain their problem to multiple people as poor customer service. (Dimensional Research)
  • After a bad customer service experience, 39% of customers will avoid a company for two years.(Dimensional Research)
  • Companies lost $75 billion in 2017 from customers switching to competitors due to bad customer service. (NewVoiceMedia)
  • It takes 12 positive experiences to counteract just 1 negative experience with a company. (Business Insider)

 

What Role Does Digital Media Play

  • 88% of consumers are influenced by online customer service reviews when making a buying decision. (Dimensional Research)
  • 86% of millennials say they are influenced by negative reviews when purchasing a product or service.(Dimensional Research)
  • 48% of consumers expect a response to social media questions and complaints within 24 hours. (statista)
  • 74% of millennials report that their perception of a brand improves when it is clear the company responds to customers’ social media inquiries. (Microsoft)
  • 31% of customers report reaching out to a company via Twitter. (Forrester)
  • 57% of customers would rather contact companies via digital media such as email or social media rather than use voice-based customer support. (Ameyo)
  • For more complicated interactions, such as payment disputes, 40% of customers prefer talking to a real person over the phone. (American Express)
  • Of the Americans who have sent customer service requests over social media, 84% report receiving a response from the company. (Microsoft)
  • Answering a social media complaint increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%. (Convince and Convert)
  • 42% of consumers say that they respond to a negative customer service experience by submitting a negative online review or venting on social media. (NewVoiceMedia)
  • 23% of consumers seek out a face to face interaction for complicated customer service issues like troubleshooting. (American Express)
  • 79% of millennials are more inclined to buy from brands that have a mobile-responsive customer support portal. (Microsoft)

 

A Human Touch Can Make All the Difference

  • The #1 reason customers say they dislike calling companies is not being able to talk to a real person immediately. (NewVoiceMedia)
  • 67% of customers get frustrated and hang up the phone when they can’t reach a customer service representative. (Glance)
  • 68% of customers say that a pleasant customer service representative was fundamental to a positive experience. 62% said that a customer service representative’s knowledge or resourcefulness was the most important factor. (American Express)

 

The Value of Time

  • 66% of adults say that the most important thing a company can do to offer a good online customer experience is to value their time. (Forrester)
  • 64% of consumers would rather buy from companies which can meet their needs in real time. (Salesforce)
  • 59% of customers expect resolution within 30 minutes when contacting customer services by phone, 75% expect resolution within a day via email, and 52% expect resolution within a day via social media. (Zendesk)
  • Customers will hold for an average of 11 minutes before hanging up but 41% say they hate calling companies because of being kept on hold. (NewVoiceMedia)

 

“You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.” — Jerry Fritz, Author of Breakthrough Customer Service.

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What Is Call Scoring?

How good are you at giving feedback?

Do your customer support reps accept their mistakes straight away?

Are they always tolerant?

Are they ready to adapt and change their methods?

 

Let’s be honest, feedback is tricky and can be risky. Personal biases are hard to recognize and control. Managers need backup and data to substantiate feedback. Evaluations can turn out dry and uninspiring. In the end, our sales reps are not motivated, and we fail to achieve that coveted successful customer service and sales experience.

 

So, what tools do you have to support feedback? Call scoring!

 

What Is Call Scoring?

 

A call scoring system essentially evaluates inbound phone calls. One of the key things a call score produces is a close rate. A ‘close’ can be anything depending on the purpose of the call. If it is an inquiry call, setting up a demo can be accounted as a close. If it is a demo call, presenting a quotation can be a close. Or if it is a follow-up call, a sales can be a ‘close.’ For certain industries, getting an appointment can be a close.

 

Simply put, if the number of successfully closed calls is high, you have a good close rate. And logically, if your close rate is high, your revenue is higher since your sales reps can convert a higher number of leads for a high close rate.

 

4 Steps for Effective Call Scoring

 

The following four simple steps will help you understand the entire process of effective call scoring, and it’s importance.

 

#1 Establish the Criteria of a Successful Customer Service

 

We’ve already established that a ‘close’ can look differently for every type of call, every industry or even every customer requirement. A good close rate is different for different industries. So, to start the call scoring procedure, you must first define your close.

 

Here are some things to consider when establishing a successful customer service:

  • What are the most common requirements or questions your customers and leads raise?
  • What according to you is an ideal way to handle these queries?
  • Set a list of criteria that usually achieve a ‘close’.
  • Remember, your definition of ‘close’ is the standard to which your call scoring system will compare your sales agents’ or customer service reps’ performances.
  • Be thorough and specific about your expectations.

 

#2 Record Your Inbound Calls

 

The next step in the call scoring process is recording the calls you intend to score. Ideally, you should document every call that comes in. A call recording will help you monitor and evaluate each of your phone calls.

 

#3 Listen to the Call Recordings

 

Now that you have call recordings, you need to start analyzing the conversations by listening to these phone calls.

 

Here are things to look for:

  • Observe if your agents are following the script.
  • Are they following basic phone etiquettes?
  • Are they using the right words and the right tone?
  • Do they ask for the business?

 

An efficient call scoring system can quickly answer all of the above questions.

 

Listening to calls from a sales training mindset helps you get deep insights into your team’s performance. The call recordings can pinpoint even the smallest flaw in your sales and customer support reps’ performances.

 

#4 Evaluate and Score the Calls

 

The final step is where you compare the actual call performance to your set standard of criteria. The comparisons help you evaluate skills, score the calls and determine close rates. Use the outcomes when you give feedback and conduct training programs.

 

It can take thousands of scored calls to draw a valid conclusion about an employee’s performance. But the feedback will be based on data and not just gut feeling, instinct or a biased judgment. This is a much better game plan!

 

Reality is probably settling in, and you’re wondering how you can tackle the last two steps: listen to calls and evaluate them. Depending on how many calls you receive these steps can be colossal and not feasible to do in-house. Listening to every call requires significant human resources and budget. Plus, don’t ignore the factor of human error.

 

This is where Listenforce is so valuable! Our speech-recognition software and set of algorithms automate the call scoring process. We monitor each of your calls, find and fix problems by analyzing and pinpointing areas for improvement. We do this in minutes and give you continual feedback and data. And we consistently follow-through to keep you on your A game!

 

Give Listenforce call scoring a try and see how easily listening to calls can be.

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How Customer Service Training Benefits Your Company

In the last blog, it was Tony who was unhappy about being a customer service representative. Today it’s his boss who is feeling downtrodden.

 

A reminder about what Shep Hyken has been preaching for years might give him the necessary push:

Customer service training cannot be accomplished in a day or two. It is an on-going process. The market keeps changing, new trends arise every day, your product develops, your customer needs shift and in some cases even your customers change. All these factors are a solid reasons to repeat and add to your customer service training on a regular basis. According to a Gartner survey, 89% of businesses expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus 36% of companies a few years ago. Hence, it is safe to conclude that remarkable customer service is a competitive advantage. And the best way to achieve this advantage is through customer service training.

 

We have already seen the top 5 benefits of customer service skills. Today, we will get even more granular about customer service training.

 

#1 Shift Focus from Money to Customer Experience

 

It is only human to feel that making money is a priority. Plus, there is a fine line between being ambitious and falling prey to corporate greed. With the growing competition, it is highly possible that your sales reps have started looking for ways to extract more money from your customers.

 

But you probably already know taking advantage of your customers is a harmful practice. It delivers short-lived profits and long-term damages to your company as a brand.

 

Customer service training sessions can act as a reminder that customers need to be treated like family. This is a customer-first world!

#2 Reinforces the Company Culture

 

Traditions Training at Disney is the very first experience for a Disney employee regardless of what they’re hired to do. Disney is well known for their customer-friendly company culture and it all begins with Traditions Training. At training that they learn about the basics of a genuinely customer-focused Disney philosophy. Corporate traditions designed by Walt himself are passed on to the newest hires. These traditions include even basics like picking up stray pieces of trash on the ground. It is an essential skill that goes all the way back to Walt. The man behind the mouse was known to pick up litter in the streets of Disneyland to keep up the flawless appearance of his park. Naturally, employees are expected to follow suit.

 

If you, your boss or your boss’s boss did something exceptional for the business, a customer service training program is a great way to pass on this wisdom. Sharing each other’s experiences and challenges will highly boost your team’s morale and motivate them to do better. This is a benefit no company with a long-term vision can ignore.

#3 Builds Inter-Departmental Bonds

 

For a unified customer experience, it is necessary that all the departments are on the same page. It is also important that every department is up-to-date with customer statistics and data.

 

Customer service is the department that constantly communicates with customers, and learns about their problems, interests, and needs. While training your representatives pay close attention to a customer’s needs and feedback, also train them to effectively communicate these points to other departments. The feedback from customers can provide new content ideas, help sales focus on the pain-points, and the dev team to enhance the product.

 

In short, training one department to care can benefit all the departments to grow.

Happy, delighted customers are your very best bet for generating new business. Word-of-mouth advertising is the best kind of advertising money cannot buy. So, customer service teams need to deliver beyond your customers’ already high expectations. Exceeding expectations is rarely an accident. It requires training and effort. Albert Einstein said:

Keep learning! And continue providing opportunities for your team to learn more.

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When Customer Service Skills are a Game Changer

Tony thought he loved his job.

 

He used to think there would be no other job as fulfilling as making people’s lives easier. But now, he couldn’t remember why he chose to be a customer service representative and solve problems all day.

 

We’ve all been there.  Life can be mundane. If you work in the industry and you have ever questioned why customer satisfaction matters, here are some benefits of excelling in customer service skills and why it’s worth it. Hope these benefits boost up your spirits on a dull day!

 

#1 Happy Customers Are Loyal Customers

 

When you satisfy a customer’s every need, go out of the way to help them, become dependable, and treat them as family, you win their loyalty. They keep coming back for more. Their brand loyalty can translate into brand advocacy. Your customers recommend you to their family and friends and everyone wins, you provide great service and the customers provide more business.

 

92% of consumers trust suggestions from friends and family more than advertising. And 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. (Source)

 

Plus, bad news travels fast. And with the internet, it can go viral. Only short-sighted employees and companies dare to leave a customer dissatisfied.

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#2 You Spend Less Time Handling Complaints

 

A good customer service representative builds a healthy relationship with customers and clients. The agent lends an ear, understands and stays till the end. Good behavioral patterns build a sense of trust and reliability, making it less likely customers will retaliate when faced with problems. Customers appreciate when they are treated as a friend and not just a customer. A little can do a lot.

customer service skills

 

#3 Contributes to a Positive Public Persona

 

When your customers advocate your brand or leave positive reviews, it boosts your public appearance as a reliable company. Second, only to the opinion of friends and family, 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. (Source) This helps you get leads directly from Google search results.

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#4 Customer Retention is Cheaper than Customer Acquisition

 

Retaining a customer is definitely easier than acquiring or even locating a new customer. It costs 5x more to attract a customer than to keep an existing one. (Source) Also, 70% of companies say it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire one. (Source) Retaining a customer not only saves money but also your time and efforts. The longer a customer stays with you, the stronger your connection will be. Central to retaining customers is being kind, available, and solving problems.

 

#5 You Know What Your Customers Think About You

 

Handling feedback is one of the most important customer service skills. If the feedback is positive, maintain those practices. And if it’s negative, leverage it to improve your product and services. Simple, right? Here’s what’s imperative: Appropriately handling negative feedbacks and irate customers. An apology gives you a second chance to retain a customer for a longer period of time. The same is true about handling negative comments online. Do it with respect and empathy. Handle with care and it will highlight you honor the customer during the good and the bad.

customer service skills

 

Last But Definitely Not The Least

 

A genuine thank you from a happy customer can make your day! There really is no greater satisfaction than in knowing that you helped a customer.

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How Sales Coaching Benefits Your Company

John was a procrastination champion when it came to sales coaching. As a sales manager, John knew his job wasn’t just managing his team. He needed to play a proactive role in building their selling skills, but the task was almost always allowed put-off for other more pressing tasks.

 

Well, John isn’t alone. 73% of sales managers spend less than 5% of their time coaching sales representatives. (Source) Even though it’s not something many people do, it’s invaluable. Sales coaching is more than just performance appraisals or product training. It takes time and patience. It builds a culture. It builds leaders. While coaching is about the individual, it’s also a partnership between a team member and his/her manager or sales coach.

Here’s a list of benefits that will reiterate the prominence of sales coaching for any company.

 

#1 Improves Selling Skills

 

A research found that implementing a formal or dynamic coaching process can help more salespeople achieve quota by up to 10%. The same research found that informal or ad hoc coaching didn’t achieve the same results. (Source)

 

Internal statistics give insight into a team’s or an individual’s overall performance, but the stats won’t indicate the root cause of performance issues. To get to the roots and discover what impedes a team member from closing more sales, you need a sales coach who will observe, analyze and ask questions to identify issues that impact performance.

 

Unlike a one-size-fits-all sales training program, sales coaching can be highly personalized. Managers or sales coaches can target improving specific selling skills for each member of the team. Individual roadblocks can be discussed and dealt with. Each member can be provided with a focused growth plan. Achievement of individual goals can be applauded.

 

Plus, trying to work on too many things at the same time can be overwhelming. Sales coaching can draw a path sales reps have to follow.

 

Truly, your employees want to be coached and be given guidelines to be better at their jobs. This improves not only performance but also provides job satisfaction.

 

#2 Boosts Revenue

 

If your sales reps are closing more leads, then your company revenue increases. This is a no-brainer. What will help your sales reps close more leads? A customized sales coaching program! Here are a few stats:

 

A recent study found that firms with well-implemented sales coaching strategies grew revenue nearly 17% faster than those without. (Source)

 

Also, sales representatives who receive effective coaching can increase their win rate by 54% within a year and a half of starting a coaching program. (Source)

 

Sales managers at high-impact organizations (sales organizations where over 75% of sales reps achieve quota) spend significantly more time coaching than sales managers at average (25% – 75% achieve quota) and low (less than 25% achieve quota) performing organizations. (Source)

 

In short, sales coaching equals more sales, and more sales equal more revenue. To build better, you need a sales coaching program.

 

#3 Sales Managers Can Focus on Strategic Initiatives

 

If sales coaching isn’t provided, sales reps run to their managers for answers. If a manager has 5 to 10 members reporting to her, chances are she’s spent a lot of time answering questions. No one wants wasted time in their organization, planning and training help avoid this one.

 

Rather than just answering questions, during the sales coaching sessions, a manager can be open, conversational, and consultative. She can focus on pending deals and next steps.

 

A sales rep doesn’t grow by being spoon-fed answers. Sales coaching can train sales reps to be independent. This improves the rep’s skills and saves the manager valuable time and energy that can be invested in strategic initiatives for the company. Who doesn’t want more time to address pending issues and to fulfilling and tracking the company’s sales vision?

 

Out of the 73% of sales managers who spend less than 5% of their time coaching sales representatives, 47% of sales managers say the reason is that they don’t know how to coach. (Source) Are you one of those 47% sales managers? Here’s how you can undo the situation.

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Why Call Recording is Essential for Your Business

Have you tried to find general needs and requests from your calls? Or maybe you’ve attempted to collect appropriate data and examples from calls? Keeping track of hundreds of calls your company receives daily is impossible without help. That’s where call recording comes to the rescue.

A call recording can help you better understand customer need, response, and feedback, and analyze the performance of your agents. In this article, we’ll talk about why call recording is essential for your business.

#1 Benefits for Customer Service, Product Development, and Sales

 

Customer call dialog provides a front row seat to how a customer feels your products and services. Listening to support calls exposes pain-points, ever-changing demands, recurring issues and the other important issues your company needs to know about. Identifying these issues is the first step toward solutions to the problems.

 

Customer service isn’t the only department that can benefit from call recordings. A product development team can adjust and enhance products according customer expectations expressed on the calls. A marketing team can build content and campaigns around how to deal with the pain-points or make the most of your product. And if you can change the whole approach of how your sales team will pitch a prospect.

#2 Train Better and Assure Quality with Call Recording

 

Call recordings can help you understand how your agents are dealing with your customers. Plus, you can hold them accountable for how they’re dealing with customers.

 

Managers can listen to call recordings of agents in their team to ensure that each agent is delivering the best customer experience. If an agent lacks in certain areas, a manager can give the exact feedback and training the agent requires to perform better. The manager can use the agent’s call recordings while training. Listening to how one practically sounds on the phone can make a huge impact on how the agent deals with the calls the next time.

 

Call recordings can help you identify common mistakes that agents might be committing, and call recordings can also help you appreciate a good agent. If an agent is consistently doing good, you can listen to call recordings, identify their secret sauce and share it with everybody in your organization as an example to train and motivate others.

 

#3 Capture Missed Information

 

Nobody’s perfect. Even great agents miss a particular request or jumble between which customer asked for what. But don’t ignore the chances of human error.

 

Maybe a customer speaks too fast. Maybe an agent fails to understand a heavy accent, or is just shy or timid to ask twice. If you use call recording services, agents can rely on the call recordings to make sure they’re providing a customer with everything they asked for.

 

#4 Avoid Potential Disputes

 

Call recordings can act as a secret weapon to resolve disputes between the company and the client. And in extreme cases, it can avoid a dispute from turning into a lengthy and costly legal battle.

 

Managers can go back and listen to the interaction to see what happened and use that information to best resolve the dispute.

 

#5 Revamp Buyer Personas

 

The more you listen to call recordings, the better you understand your customers. With call recordings, you can practically step into their shoes and experience their problems. This can help you revamp buyer personas. It is possible that your customer base turns out to be completely different than what you had first imagined. If that is the case, you need to go back and change your buyer persons.

 

Having a realistic understanding of buyer personas can make your sales and marketing efforts much more efficient and impactful. If your company does not have a buyer persona, call recordings can help you nail it the first time!

 

With all the above-mentioned benefits, call recordings play an important role in improving conversion rates. Capture call details and draw results by making changes because to improve a business.

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Phone Etiquette… and Why You Need Some

Will your work contribution make history? Well, the work Emma Nutt accomplished did! She became the world’s first female telephone operator in 1878. Even a century after Nutt first connected a call; switchboards were still almost entirely staffed by women.

Before Graham Bell hired Nutt for a Telephone Dispatch Company in Boston, they were hiring boys as telephone operators. However, many boys lacked patience, played pranks and even cursed at the customers. Their attitude was impermissible.

The general customer response to Nutt’s refined behavior was immensely positive. Her example became the prototype all telephone companies began to mirror. Hiring Emma Nutt was not only beneficial for the company but it also altered how telephone industries run. Emma Nutt made history by being patient, savvy and by maintaining a cultured and soothing voice. Her work is the best reminder of why phone etiquette is an essential skill.

Implementing three essential categories of phone etiquette can help you answer the phone professionally and maintain telephone courtesy.

Category #1: Before Answering the Phone

Answering professional calls is nothing like answering personal calls. Your family and friends may forgive poor behavior but if you offend a customer you might lose them forever. Develop a script that will help you summarize your telephone ethics. Use the script only as a reference, don’t robotically recite from a telephone etiquette script.

Next, make sure you have a notepad and pen ready to take notes from customers. Taking notes will help you easily jump to problem-solving rather than asking customers to repeat their issues.

Do not use a speakerphone. Though speakerphones keep your hands free, talking to a speakerphone is irritating for a customer. Instead, use headphones. Remember to test the headphones before you start answering business phone calls professionally.

Category #2: During the Phone Call

Answer a call within three rings. Often calling customer service is the last thing a customer wants to do. If he has to wait for somebody to answer the phone, he might lose patience. Customers may think you’re not focused, don’t have the time or don’t care. Often, talking to a customer support agent is the customer’s first interaction with your company. Let them know you want the business, answer the call quickly.

Immediately introduce yourself and the company with a smile. This expresses warmth and encourages a positive start. Make it a habit to answer the call saying “Hi, this is [Your first name] from [Your company]. How can I help you?” A smile will add the necessary polite tone to your voice. All the efforts you put in to use elegant words will be futile if your tone doesn’t exhibit warmth and positivism. To better understand the importance of your tone, click here. This is a vital piece of telephone answering procedures.

Actively listen to what the customer has to say. Instead of mechanically replying to a customer’s question, base your response on their comments. Restate their question, project, or concern to make sure you got it right.

Ask permission from the customer before placing him/her on hold. That’s the most frustrating thing you can do over a business call other than not keeping your calm when dealing with irate customers. Here’s how you can handle angry customers.  Also, when putting a caller on hold, give them a rough estimate of when you will be back. If it takes you longer than that to get back, make sure you inform the caller.

Be aware of your volume. You want to be clear and perfectly audible. Do not raise your volume to a level that you may sound agitated.

Category #3: After the Phone Call

If you took notes during the phone call, it is easier to fulfill any commitments made during the call, including a follow-up call to the customer. This polite gesture will go a long way in winning the customer’s heart.

Make it a habit to check your voicemails. It is easy to miss a voicemail, but the customer will remember if you did not respond. When leaving a voicemail, make sure to tell the customer all the details why you made the call. Vague voicemails are easily ignored by the customer.

Being polite, attentive, and responsible are phone etiquette skills that are as important as providing a solution. If you need a reminder, pin a picture of Emma Nutt next to your phone! Be positive and cheerful always and win the customer over with your etiquette.

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Why Does Call Performance Matter

Why Does Call Performance Matter Marketing and advertising is a significant chunk of most business budgets. Companies typically spend 5-15% […]

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