When it comes to improving your service, customers want some important things from your Customer Service Representatives.
A commonly quoted statistic says that only 7% of what people attend to or note when someone is talking to them is based on the actual words used. The other 93% comes from tone of voice and body language.
There are a number of ways a CSR shows that they care. Tone of voice and listening are the most important.
Consider for a moment someone saying something complementary to you but his or her body and eyes are facing away from you.
Would you feel complimented? Not very likely. Or if the words are complimentary but the tone of voice is sarcastic and cold, would you feel complimented? Again, not likely!
If the tone of voice or body language ‘says’ something different from the words we are hearing, we normally don’t believe the words. Tone and body language trump the words.
Our ears don’t close. So technically we can hear anything that is said within hearing distance. But of course, we are not always paying attention and ‘listening’.
To make a customer feel listened to, the CSR must do more than little vocal acknowledgments. After all, I’ll bet you have done your share of head nodding while someone was talking only to find that your mind was somewhere else and you didn’t pay enough attention. You may have been forced to say, “Could you repeat that?”
You have to want to really hear. You can do that by maintaining eye contact as much as possible (and appropriate for the culture) and making sure you understand what is being said so that you can paraphrase afterwards. Paraphrasing does not mean repeating what was said. Paraphrasing is summarizing and putting it into your own words, followed by, “Did I get that right?”
This process affords the customer the opportunity to correct any misunderstanding and feel extraordinarily listened to.
Offer options. The second thing a customer with a problem wants is to be offered options so they can choose. A customer feels in more control of a situation when the CSR is able to say, “I can do this or that, which would work out best for you?”
Too often the CSR says something about company policy or rules. Why does that rile customers? It is because no one wants to feel like they are just like everyone else. They want to feel special. They want to know that the problem and its resolution is important and especially that they are important to your company.
Company policies in their mind are for the average customers, for everyone else, not them. Make them feel special and important. Give them a choice between two or three solutions and ask what would work best for them.
Sometimes you might even do a bit of brainstorming to come up with more than one possible solution. If you do this with the customer he will feel more commitment to the chosen solution, and is much more likely to rate your company’s customer service at the top of the scale. Better yet, he will tell his friends that your company’s product or service is exceptional and recommend that they choose your offerings.
About the Author
Hazel Wagner, PhD, MBA, CMC is an author, speaker, consultant and entrepreneur. Hazel is certified in DISC, HBDI, Mindex and MBTI Myers-Briggs.