Fielding customer service phone calls is a part of most small business’s daily routine. While these calls are commonplace, a basic inquiry or complaint can quickly spiral out of control if not handled appropriately by you or your staff. These 5 mistakes can have a negative impact on your customers’ perception of your business. Are you or your employees making any of them? If so, now’s the time to make some positive changes to your approach.
Mistake #1: Long Wait Times
Not picking up the phone until the 15th ring, putting a caller on hold for 5 minutes, or asking someone to hold repeatedly during a call are all sure-fire ways to annoy a customer. When a support call comes in, take it promptly, and avoid putting the person on hold unless absolutely necessary.
Mistake #2: Unenthusiastic or Negative Tone
Tone has a huge impact on the outcome of a customer service call. If the customer senses a lack of enthusiasm, boredom, or hostility from the person on the other end of the line, they won’t feel valued—and they might be tempted to take their business elsewhere, even if their complaint is successfully resolved. If you bring energy and positivity to every call, you’ll be more likely to calm angry patrons and solve problems quickly.
Mistake #3: Multi-Tasking
Just as people can sense a lack of enthusiasm over the phone, they can also sense when you’re not giving them your full attention. It’s not worth the risk of angering a customer just to save a couple minutes by multi-tasking. Give the person on the phone your full attention—they deserve it!
Mistake #4: Not Mirroring the Customer
Unhappy customers can sometimes blow problems out of proportion. However, just because a problem might not seem like a big deal to you doesn’t mean that you should take the situation lightly. Mirroring the customer’s concern for the situation, and reflecting their words back to them so they know you’re hearing what they’re saying, is an important tactic. It reinforces that you’re on the same side and sympathize with their plight.
Mistake #5: Lack of Appreciation
Even if a customer is angry, aggressive, and generally ungrateful for your assistance, that doesn’t give you an excuse to treat them with the same lack of appreciation. Make sure the customer knows that you’re thankful for their business before the call ends.
The Bottom Line
Customers want what anyone would want on a phone call: a quick response time, a friendly person who listens closely and sympathizes with their concerns, and a thank you that makes them feel important. A thoughtful approach to phone customer service can help your team achieve all of these goals.