Understand the Importance of Listening

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Understand the Importance of Listening

April 24, 2018 Blog by admin

It’s not just what you say that creates a great customer experience, it’s what you hear. Or, rather, it’s how you listen to your customers that determines what kind of experience you’ll both have on the telephone. Never underestimate the importance of listening, especially in the customer service industry.

Head-off problems before they get big

Listen to what your customers and employees are saying. Small, innocuous comments could be clues that a bigger problem is brewing. If your customers mention ‘small’ problems, work to resolve those before they escalate to bigger ones. If they seem unhappy, listening and asking questions can help you find out what the real issue is, even if they aren’t sure themselves.

Your employees may be telling you that they are stressed, overworked, feeling underchallenged, or even unappreciated, but they probably aren’t saying these things directly. Listen for comments that indicate unrest or discontent and work to find a way to bring the joy back to their jobs.

Good listening is active

If you simply listen to what someone says to, waiting for your turn to speak, you aren’t taking in the full message that they’re sending. You’re dismissing their opinions, feelings, and ideas, whether you realize it or not. Active listening, which involves true listening and asking questions to confirm ideas, is very important in customer service.

Sometimes, the customer isn’t actually telling you the real problem. Instead, they’re telling you what they think is wrong. The real problems could be due to something that they have no idea about, but you may. If a customer is angry that their bill is too high, the problem may not be the bill itself, but it could be that the customer isn’t paired up with the best product or service for their needs. Listen to what your customer tells you, ask questions to confirm that you understand the problem, and read between the lines as necessary to help find the ideal solution.

If you’d like to know more about the importance of listening in customer service, or if you’d like to discuss improving your customer service, visit Answer 365 today.

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Top Phone Management Tips for the Oil and Gas Industry

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Top Phone Management Tips for the Oil and Gas Industry

April 17, 2018 Blog by admin

In the oil and gas industry, communication is key to success. From customer calls to organizing employees, your telephone system is likely to become a lifeline for your business. Here are some top phone management tips for businesses in the oil and gas industry that will help you keep things flowing smoothly.

Give your customers easy access

Whether they’re having repair issues with their natural gas appliances or they need to discuss their bill, your customers may need to speak with someone at any time, day or night. While it’s not always practical to keep a full telephone staff on call around the clock, you can still use a live answering service during non-business hours so your customers have a real person to speak to.

An answering service can prioritize issues and delegate jobs to engineers and repair staff. They can also take messages for other departments such as billing and finance. By being available when your customers need you--and by calling them back as soon as you can during business hours--you provide better customer service and build customer loyalty.

Don’t make customers jump through hoops to speak to someone

Many customers hate spending ages typing in their account number, pressing buttons to respond to automated questions, and waiting forever to speak to a live person. Simplify the process as much as possible and get your callers to a live person as soon as possible. This reduces frustration and can actually save time for you and your customers.

Remember to appreciate your customers

Especially in the oil and gas industry, it seems that customers only call when there’s a problem or they have a complaint. Complacency in customer service can be a dangerous thing, especially when a business feels that they are irreplaceable in the eyes of their customers. They may rely on you, but that doesn’t mean they won’t complain to others if you don’t provide them with respectful and efficient customer service. Treat every customer as though they are your only customer and they’ll happily share their experience with others.

For more great telephone tips in any industry, visit Answer 365 today.

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Sharpen Your Phone Answering Skills with These Tips

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Sharpen Your Phone Answering Skills with These Tips

April 10, 2018 Blog by admin

Complacency can lead to less than stellar customer service, but how do you sharpen your telephone skills when you’re using them every day? It takes making a conscious effort to assess your performance and a willingness to try new things, but with these tips, you’ll keep those phone answering skills sharper than ever.

Practice active listening

Do you sometimes feel like you’re saying the same things over and over to every single caller? If so, then it’s time for a reality check. Listening only until it’s your turn to respond is the wrong way to handle your customers. Make sure you’re really hearing what it is they have to say. Ask questions to clarify anything you’re unsure of and make sure you’re not just telling them something they want to hear just to get them off the phone.

Admit your mistakes

Even if you’ve been answering telephone calls for years, you are going to make mistakes. Own up to them, correct them as necessary, then move on. Don’t get hung up over a mistake, but do make sure you learn from them. The sooner you admit you made a mistake, the likelier it is that you’ll learn from the experience and come out with a positive feeling towards the situation. Plus, your caller will respect you more for it.

Make the conversation personal

This doesn’t mean spilling your innermost secrets, but it does mean making a real connection with every caller. This can be tricky when you have scripted replies for many common questions. Instead of spouting off your usual reply every time, take a moment to tailor the conversation to your caller. Use their name, share commonalities like whether you are married, have children, or love your pets. Once you make a connection, your caller will remember you and your company as someone worth talking to.

Check yourself

Go home and compare the way you speak to your friends and family to the way you speak to your customers. You should treat those close to you with as much respect as you would your customers, and you should treat your customers with the same kind of kindness that you reserve for those you love.

For more tips on providing excellent customer service, visit the Answer 365 blog regularly.

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How Always Answering Your Phone Improves Business

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How Always Answering Your Phone Improves Business

April 03, 2018 Blog by admin

When it comes to your business, answering machines are not the answer. As tempting as it may be to ignore incoming calls outside of business hours, you’re risking a loss of customers when you do so. Here’s how always answering your phone improves your business and your relationship with your customers.

Customer convenience leads to customer loyalty

If you’ve never needed customer support after business hours, you’re one of very few. Problems don’t just happen during your work day. Customers may need assistance at odd times, or their schedules may mean calling for help only happens after hours. If you have an answering machine field these calls, you’re probably going to annoy these customers. However, if you have a live person answering the phone, you’ll gain reputation points from your customers for being there when they need you.

Even if you don’t offer full customer service after business hours, your customers will respect that they can at least speak to a live person instead of a soulless answering machine. As an added bonus, having an answering service can help eliminate the amount of callbacks you have to make since common problems can usually be answered by the answering service staff.

You don’t miss opportunities

If you answer your own phones, what happens when you’re busy and can’t take a call? Most of the time, having someone take a message is a fine option, but occasionally, you could be risking great opportunities that are time-sensitive. How do you know which call will be the ‘golden opportunity’? Honestly, you can’t tell, but if you answer every call, you can avoid missing out on great opportunities with poor timing.

An answering service can help you prioritize the calls you take so you don’t waste time. It can also help your customers when you aren’t available. In today’s constantly on the go world, your business and your customers can only benefit from having the phones answered at all times.

Whether you’re looking for a great answering service or you’re considering using a call centre to handle your incoming calls, Answer 365 can help. Visit today for help with your business communication needs.

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Use Call Centres to Manage Unexpected Employee Absences

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Use Call Centres to Manage Unexpected Employee Absences

March 27, 2018 Blog by admin

Unexpected employee absences can be a major inconvenience to your business. Not only can the absences impact productivity, but they can also affect your customer service, too. Fortunately, you have options for dealing with unexpected employee absences that won’t leave you, your employees, or your customers in a lurch. Here’s how to use call centres to manage unexpected employee absences.

Have a plan for unexpected absences

You may not need to use a call centre all the time, but it never hurts to have an arrangement in place for those unexpected times when you will need to use one. Select a backup call centre before you actually need it. This will be far less stressful for you when an unexpected bout of employee absences occur and it will allow the call centre to be better prepared to seamlessly assist your customers.

Consider your backup options

If you only have one person out of the office, you may be able to transfer the missing employee’s duties to another employee. However, if your staff is small or you have several employees out at the same time, you may want to evaluate how you do things when you’re fully staffed.

Call centres can easily be used to handle overflow calls on the average work day, plus they can pick up slack during those times when your employees must be absent from work. Don’t fall for the mistaken belief that keeping a skeleton staff will save you money--people get sick and emergencies happen all the time, and when they do, your loss of employees for the day (or longer) will mean a loss of money, too.

Be proactive

Rather than put your head in the sand and pretend like unexpected absences are a rarity, plan ahead and discuss the matter with your employees. Look at times when absences are likely to be higher (cold and flu season, summer holidays when the kids are out of school) and schedule your call centre backup accordingly. If you don’t need the service, you can always cancel or reduce the amount of support they provide. However, it’s very likely that you’ll appreciate the fact that you do have support whenever you need it and you may decide to incorporate a call centre into your day-to-day operations.

For more tips on using a call centre to support your business, speak to one of the knowledgeable representatives at Answer 365 today.

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Tips for Delivering Great Customer Service Over the Phone

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Tips for Delivering Great Customer Service Over the Phone

March 20, 2018 Blog by admin

You may think that only ‘in person’ customer service can make an impact on your customers, but in reality telephone customer service is more likely to offer you a chance to truly connect with your customers. When you connect with your customers over the telephone, you strengthen the relationships that matter most to your business, but only if you provide excellent customer service. If you want to deliver great customer service over the phone, these tips will help.

Use your customer’s name

Small details make the difference between okay customer service and awesome service. You may not think that using your customer’s name is a big deal, but it lets your customer know that you care enough to remember their name while you’re trying to help them. By treating each customer as an individual and not just another voice in a sea of voices, you’ll gain your customer’s trust and confidence.

Listen to learn

Active listening is an acquired skill. Not everyone is good at it, but everyone can be taught the basics. Make sure you learn how to practice active listening. Don’t just listen to respond; listen carefully to your customer’s tone of voice and the words they’re saying. You may need to help them figure out exactly why they’re calling, or you could just be the supportive ear they need to bend to vent their frustrations. If you listen actively, you’ll be more likely to connect to your customer and better meet their needs.

Go above and beyond

Whenever possible, exceed your customer’s expectations. If their problem is easily solved, look for other ways to add value to their call. By creating value for your customer, you are also building loyalty to your business. If the problem is more complicated, make it your priority to resolve the issue personally or see that it is resolved. Follow up with the customer afterwards to make sure the problem is fully resolved. By showing your dedication to your customer, you’re also showing them why they should do business with you.

For more tips on delivering excellent telephone customer service, visit the Answer 365 blog regularly.

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Telephone Tips for Dealing with Angry Callers

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Telephone Tips for Dealing with Angry Callers

March 13, 2018 Blog by admin

Dealing with irate customers on the telephone can be stressful. Telephone customer service is not for the faint of heart, but thankfully there are some things you can do to help make these calls less stressful. Here are some telephone tips for dealing with angry callers that will help keep you calm.

Keep your cool

You may want to get defensive or apologize profusely, but ignore any strong emotionally-based urges. Instead, focus on keeping an even, calm tone and listen to what your caller is saying. Keep your emotions out of the call--the caller isn’t angry at you, specifically--and look for a logical solution to the problem. Channel your inner Vulcan and keep emotions out of the resolution process as much as possible.

Let them rant

Your caller is angry and they need someone to understand their anger. It’s important that you let them air their frustrations completely before you even try to respond. Let them talk, take notes to help you identify the main problem, and then you can respond once they’ve had their say.

You may not even have to do anything by the end of the call, since sometimes the customer just wants to have their complaint heard. However, if they become threatening, you may have to end the call. Check with your company’s policy on harassing telephone calls before you make any decisions about ending the call.

Ignore the hold button

The last thing you want to do to an angry caller is to put them on hold. This will make your caller feel unimportant and can make them even angrier. Remember, they want to be understood, not ignored. If you absolutely have to place the call on hold, do so only after obtaining the caller’s permission and make the hold as brief as possible.

Give options

Give your caller options when it comes to a resolution. This may mean offering to replace or refund a product, or even both. Or you may offer to provide a different or extra product or service. You may have to go above and beyond your normal levels of customer service, but it could mean the difference between one angry customer and a bad reputation when that angry customer tells twenty of his friends and family about your poor service.

For more tips on providing excellent customer service, visit Answer 365 today.

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HVAC Industry Telephone Management Tips

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HVAC Industry Telephone Management Tips

March 06, 2018 Blog by admin

You may offer your HVAC customers multiple ways to reach you, but in a pinch, many are still likely to pick up a telephone and give you a call. While telephone customer service for HVAC businesses may have changed somewhat over the last decade, there are still some tried and true telephone management tips that still ring true today. Here are some HVAC industry telephone management tips to keep your customers smiling.

Be available around the clock

HVAC problems don’t just occur during business hours. Unless you and your employees love to take HVAC calls at home during all hours, you need to have someone in place specifically to handle those middle of the night calls. An answering machine won’t cut it, either. Worried customers want the reassurance of a live human voice at the end of the phone line when they have a problem in the wee hours. If you don’t have the staff to take these calls, consider hiring an answering service to filter the calls and prioritize them for you.

Be professional

You may be up to your elbows in unpleasant repairs, but if your phone rings, you’d better be prepared to answer it in the most professional manner possible. If you find this difficult (and who wouldn’t during a busy work day), consider having your calls routed to a customer service person at your business or at a call centre. Your customers and potential customers deserve undivided attention and a professional, prompt greeting. Using a call centre or answering service shows your clients that you respect them enough to be available whenever they need you.

If you don’t take each call yourself, make sure that you at least call each customer back before you show up at their home to do any work. This helps establish a personal relationship and will help build trust.

Prioritize calls

If you have a limited number of repair staff, you need to make sure that the most important tasks are assigned quickly. A good central customer service hub is crucial if you want to make sure that the urgent tasks are assigned first. Also, don’t forget to allow for less urgent, but no less important, sales and maintenance tasks. Maintaining a great relationship with your customers only starts with a phone call, but it ultimately ends with how you handle those incoming calls as a business.

For more great tips on providing excellent customer service to your HVAC customers, visit Answer 365 today.

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Set Your Team Up for Customer Service Success

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Set Your Team Up for Customer Service Success

February 27, 2018 Blog by admin

Whether you’re building your new customer service team from scratch or ramping up your efforts to provide the very best customer service possible, you need to plan for success. Here are some ways you can set your team up for customer service success.

Set your expectations early and clearly

Your team cannot provide excellent customer service if they don’t know what you consider to be excellent. Create a list of standards and post them for your team to review. Make sure that you explain every aspect of excellent customer service and offer training if there are areas that your team needs to improve.

Hire people who are passionate about customer service

It may sound like a cliche, but some people simply are not cut out for customer service. In order to be successful, your employees need to be persistent, problem solvers, and have empathy as well as adaptability. Some skills can be taught, but personality and perseverance are innate traits that you should look for in potential customer service employees.

Give your employees room to succeed

Give your employees the power to make decisions that will best meet the needs of your customers. By giving your employees the freedom to make these decisions, you not only speed up the resolution process, but you also boost the morale of your employees.

Offer challenges to help your employees continue to grow in their professional development. Whether this is in the form of training or friendly service goals and competitions, anything that allows your team to spread its wings and offer better service is a great thing for your business.

Use multiple channels for customer service

Successful service teams provide multiple channels for their customers to use. Whether you opt for email, telephone, live chat, or social media as your main method of customer service, make sure you try to offer many ways for your customers to reach you. Customers expect to have options in the methods in which they can contact you. Don’t let them down by limiting their choices.

If you want to know how to improve your company’s customer service, visit Answer 365 today.

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Phone Management Tips for Property Managers

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Phone Management Tips for Property Managers

February 20, 2018 Blog by admin

Property management requires a lot of focus, plenty of patience, and tonnes of time. If you want to be a great landlord, you need to be available to your tenants around the clock. If you can do these without the use of a call centre, you’re a property management superhero. However, if you’re simply a regular guy or gal, these tips will help make your job a lot easier.

Use a call centre

This is probably the biggest and best tip for property managers. Not only can you get your tenants’ calls answered around the clock, you can also have emergency issues dealt with immediately. Using a call centre also makes it easier to organize your messages so you can prioritize them. This can actually help make you more productive and save you time during your busy day.

Utilize the call centre for scheduling

Scheduling appointments for property viewings doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Let the call centre manage your scheduling for these and other appointments such as scheduled property maintenance or meetings with contractors. You can advise the call centre of your availability and then leave the rest up to them, allowing you to get on with other business matters.

Give your tenants the service they deserve

By making yourself more available to your tenants, you provide a higher level of customer service. Instead of relying on a handful of staff to field calls, offer assistance, and answer questions, you can have an entire call centre’s staff that’s trained to provide excellent assistance every time. Not only does this allow you to meet your tenants’ needs, it also allows you to exceed their expectations when it comes to the service the receive.

Let your tenants know they can call any time

Sure, your tenants will call in the middle of the night for a burst water pipe, but if they put off non-emergency issues indefinitely, small problems can get worse fast. Remind your tenants that they can call and speak with a friendly voice any time, day or night, to get those little problems dealt with before they become larger nightmares.

For more tips on using a call centre with your business, visit Answer 365 today.

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