CSR Best Practices
Does a simple question on total project costs cause your call agents to freeze up? What is the reason behind the big freeze? Is it that they don’t have the answer? Have you told them not to give out pricing over the phone? Whatever the reason, managing the situation calmly and professionally is a skill.
Do your customer care agents get tongue-tied when speaking with irate customers? Do they struggle to handle situations where a customer is complaining? Whatever the situation may be, your agents do need to be able to control the call and guide it in the right direction.
As with any job or position, preparation is the key to success. Every call your CSR takes is effectively a meeting and they should handle it in that manner.
Preparation refers to your body, mind, and spirit. Every part of you needs to be ready to take on the challenge that lies ahead. To prepare your body you need to eat healthily, exercise and get enough sleep. Although the clients don’t see your agent, how they feel is reflected in their attitude and responses to the client. A tired person, for instance, tends to be snappy and irritable. Feeling healthy, good about yourself and well-rested brings with it a level of confidence that is immeasurable.
Your mind is a tool that also requires rest to perform. Being in the right state of mind to handle the incoming calls makes all the difference. Using affirmations to build up your confidence and self-esteem will prepare you for whatever comes your way.
The space you work in is a reflection of your mind. Free your space of clutter and unnecessary items lying around. Clear your space and give your mind a clean place to work.
Takes Toll on Emotions
Your CSR agents are effectively the point of contact with customers and as such they require certain skills. They need to be able to deal with people, show common courtesy and a level of professionalism. Emotionally they need to be able to handle any situation that arises. Tone reveals so much about the emotional state of the CSR. It is important to be able to ask yourself certain questions to gauge your emotional state at any given time:
- Is your demeanor calm?
- Are you treating your customer with poise and patience?
- Are you actually listening or interrupting?
Interrupting anyone during a conversation shows lack of emotional control and is downright rude to say the least. Not the image you want your CSR’s to put on display to your customers.
It is important to understand that there are things you can control and things that you can’t. Own what is within your control and don’t allow yourself to get upset over what you can’t
You can control:
- Your response
You can’t control:
- Company pricing
- Company behavior
Practice Makes Perfect
As with anything in life, practice really does make perfect. The more calls you take, the better you will get at it.
Cost? The dreaded question.
Why do customers actually ask the price? The question that strikes fear in CSR’s. Is it because they really are shopping around for the best price? Are they looking for more information? Do they simply not know how else to strike up the conversation?
In only around 10% of cases does the customer actually want a price, however, if all your CSR is doing is giving the costing without offering valuable information and advice, you will officially have a price shopper on your hands. You CSR needs to be able to create a sale with how they respond to the customer on the other end of the line.
The CSR must be able to ask questions and evoke answers. Customers want to be asked questions and given a solution to their issues at hand.
Your agent should never outright say they don’t give prices over the phone. This is like putting the phone down in the ear of your customer. Remember the more your CSR speaks with a client, the more information they can collect, the longer they stay on the call with the valuable conversation, the more trust the customer builds in the CSR. At the end of the day, regardless of the price factor, your invaluable knowledge and advice will stand steadfast in the mind of the customer when it comes time to purchase. Asking questions and listening are the secret weapons to booking more calls.
Resolve Complaints Before They Escalate
Every company experiences a customer complaint at some point. These calls may make your CSR feel uncomfortable and unable to respond appropriately. Educate your agents on how to evaluate and handle these situations as a professional.
- · Determine the issues
- · Repeat the issue or problem back to the customer for validation
- · Acknowledge and apologize
- · Give the customer assurance that you will speak with someone above you to resolve the issue and call them back
- · Call the customer within 30 mins to follow-up
As a CSR you need to do whatever you have to do to maintain your customer relations. Don’t take every opportunity to point the finger of blame elsewhere. Own the situation and take responsibility. At the end of the day that is all a customer really wants. Every complaint is a learning opportunity for CSRs to better handle the situation should it arise in the future.
It isn’t easy being a CSR but with the right training, guidance, and enough practice your CSR team can be closing deals left, right and center.