What’s not covered in customer service training.
The most frustrating thing I see as coach of staff that handle inbound calls is an all too common, insatiable focus on the system and internal process at the expense of the customer. This focus locks staff into boring, repetitive, transactional experiences at the critical point in a conversation when engaging customers to build trust and confidence is the aim.
Staff who are clearly focused on the system who seek to gain personal details for ID purposes BEFORE engaging in conversation, need to chuck this approach away!
The critical thing that your customer is seeking at a subconscious level at the start of any interaction is a feeling of relief. A clear sense that ‘I’ve got someone good’, or ‘I’ve got someone that’s going to really help make this easy.’ Beginning the call in a transactional way, with a focus on the system and NOT the customer, makes it almost impossible to satisfy this innate need we all have when we ring companies for help.
The key to natural, conversational and engaging call openings is to stand up, look away from your screen, listen to what your customer is saying, ask good questions and engage in true conversation. If you’re staring at your screen, the system is going to get in the way and stop this from happening.
After assessing thousands upon thousands of calls over my career, I hear it far too often. Within that first 10-20 seconds, you can always tell a consultant who is system and process focused. They find it very, very difficult to engage with callers as they are clearly locked into an addictive, ingrained habit formed with constant repetition. Such staff wrongly believe that you can’t converse before you have all the customer information displayed on the screen in front of them.
So here’s the solution if this sounds all too familiar. No screen for you! Get rid of it. Turn away. LISTEN and engage in conversation and connect with the person and not with your system. What happens next might surprise you.
Consumers the world over crave real conversations with REAL people. So avoid sucking the life out of your customer interactions at the point you can least afford to do so and connect with those that need your help.