Excellent Customer Service on the Phone – Part III-C

We are back for yet another meaningful discussion about Excellent Customer Service on the Phone.

Today, we will talk about the third segment of the third part of our blog series that is, Call Control with Results.

Call Control is very imperative.  If an agent has none, he might have a very long handle time or the focus of the call might get lost somewhere.  So, how does one take full and effective sway of his call to effect FIRST CALL RESOLUTION?

STAGE VIII:  CALL CONTROL WITH RESULTS

How to Gain Good Call Control

  1. Number one would be ask the right questions.  What we ask our customers defines or dictates how the call progresses, what we think we have to do next, and the outcome of the call.  Customers just answer whatever they are asked as part of their cooperation so if they are asked the wrong questions, they may or may not provide the right answers but without doubt, the answers are not what is vital for the resolution of their purpose for calling because they were asked irrelevant questions.  Therefore, the call gets long or disorganized.  With this, agents should make sure they ask the right and the most intelligent and issue-based questions. 
  2. When dealing with a talker, use close-ended questions to reduce talk time.  Regardless if the talkative customer elaborates on things totally related to the subject matter at hand or not, agents should still deal with the person and his loquaciousness  accordingly.  Otherwise, if they tolerate it, the customer might end up taking over instead and stealing the limelight away from them.  There are times that after listening to the customer’s first explanation of his reason for calling, the agent can just take over and ask leading close-ended questions from there.  The danger of asking open-ended questions with chatty customers is they get the opportunity to tell very long stories and this protracts the call tremendously.  So, to avoid it, agents can just reword their own understanding themselves and just have the customer confirm by saying Yes or No.  Unless the situation demands asking a lot of open-ended questions, they are better off keeping them at a minimum.

  3. Agents should try to get as much information as they can.  When agents do not have to deal with or put up with a very talkative customer, then it is safe to get as much information as they can by asking all the needed questions.  Possessing all the information one needs is like having all the weapons that equip a soldier in a battle.  It becomes much easier to know where to go to, how to get there fast, and get back to the customer with an offered resolution.

  4. Keep the conversation focused on solutions.  Squeezing in small talk or friendly conversations makes every call better, personal, and interesting.  However, the main priority of any agent is to keep the conversation focused on what the customer desires to accomplish when he called.  After all, customers call the customer service or technical support hotline not to just chitchat but to get help with their issue, problem, concern, question, or whatnot.  Don’t they?  So, agents should make sure not to deviate from working on the solutions and arriving at them as fast as they can at any point of the call without setting aside building rapport and providing extraordinary customer care.

  5. Never disregard small talks initiated by customers and even personal questions, but answer them with short responses.  There is nothing wrong engaging in a small talk with the customers especially when they initiate it themselves.  It is actually already an opportunity to build rapport and develop a connection with them.  Agents know better that it is much easier to work with them when they have their sympathy or cooperation.  It is also their chance of a lifetime to take advantage of the moment to be able to get high customer satisfaction and first call resolution scores.  However, agents cannot be the cause of a long call themselves by settling too much or too long in a customer-initiated small talk.  They are still able to do that, yes, but they have to make it a point not to overdo it or fall into the trap of just ending up having a pep talk with the customer and forgetting everything else.  Watch out for that AHT as well, of course.

  6. Make sure to confirm everything.  A very efficient representative is one who confirms everything before he proceeds to the next steps or before he lets a customer hang up. From confirming if he understood the customer’s concern correctly and confirming if he has the right spelling of the information being provided to confirming what the customer really wants the company to do for him and confirming personal information, the agent should make sure that everything has been covered and the customer does not have to call back anymore.  This way, nobody misses out on anything.

  7. Wrap up as soon as everything is taken care of.  Simply put, this only means that there is no point or use in extending the call if everything has already been taken care of.  Unless the customer still wants to converse, agents should politely and masterfully say their closing spiel after confirming that there is nothing else the customer wants to be assisted with or everything has already been good.  In fact, even if the customer still wants to strike up an extended conversation, the agent should find a way to work around it without coming off dismissing the customer

Gaining good call control, just to reiterate, manages every call really well.  Agents do not have to suffer from long calls, customers calling back for the same issue, and regretting they let the customer dominate the entire call.  Apply these steps, and agents will definitely pass their AHT requirements and get high CSAT and FCR scores.

Another important skill that contributes to CALL CONTROL WITH RESULTS is being able to multitask smart.  Multitasking is very indispensable in call centers nowadays because agents get to accomplish more by being able to do several things simultaneously.

Below are some Tips on Multitasking that agents who get to read this article can bring back to work.

  • Agents may need to improve their typing skills or better yet master touch-typing.  Agents who are able to type fast are able to document their conversation with their customers or put their information into the database faster even while talking to them at the same time.  They just have to master typing, and fast at that, and interacting with the customer at the same time though.  This is because it is a skill they have to learn or have learned but just have to improve on and not just anything they can pick up from somewhere or in any given scenario without ample experience and training.  Better yet, they may want to enroll in courses teaching touch-typing or simply research about it on Google and practice doing it.  Touch-typing, by the way, is the skill of typing fast on the keyboard without even looking at the keys.  This is done by knowing which keys or letters to put a given finger on and hitting them at will.  It is very helpful because agents get to typewrite, read, navigate and talk to their customers at the same time. So, absolutely, that is multitasking at its best.
  • Agents should master small talk in cases when they are not encouraged to place the customer on hold or do not have to.  Agents should already know at this point that there is an alternative to putting customers on hold if they have to work on something with the computer on their end and that is to make a small talk with them instead.  Multitasking is involved here too because as the agent is talking to the customer, he grabs the chance to be able to go through a process on his end.  This is way much better than having the customer put up with the hold music or in some cases, total silence while waiting for the agent to get back on the line.

  • Agents should use templates.  This does not need an explanation that is too detailed because almost all agents are already doing this.  However, for those who are not doing this yet, then this is a working strategy they may want to refer to.  In a few words, it is as simple as creating different templates containing the usual information that they get from their customer based on several common issues they encounter.  Based on the type of the call or the customer’s issue, they find the best or the right template for it, they replace the information therein, and then they copy and paste it to their documentation database.  Indeed, this is very helpful when multitasking because agents are able to document, speak with their customers and listen to them at the same time.  Also, they do not have to rely on their After-Call Work/Wrap-up (the period within which they can finish documenting and other post-call tasks before the next call comes in) after all because even before that point, they had already finished documenting and all that.  

Just to summarize, these are the different techniques that agents can do to be able to multitask effectively.  It is up to the them whether they would like to refer to these or do it their own way with their own style.  The whole point of this article is to help them gain full control and management of their calls as they speak with their customers.  With better management, calls get better results.

Tomorrow, on our very last article about Excellent Customer Service on the Phone, we will have a discourse about CLOSING A CALL WITH IMPACT which is also the last phase/stage of any call flow.

Until then, BE EQUIPPED. 🙂

 

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One thought on “Excellent Customer Service on the Phone – Part III-C

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