Usman Ghani (January 11, 2017)
Companies spend a substantial amount of their budget designing customer experience journeys and focusing on making memorable interactions for customers. However, the touchpoint that needs the most focus and can make or break a relationship is often not given its due importance. Frontline staff is the best representation of a brand, and how it treats its customers.
The frontline staff has the power of winning hearts through skillful conversation and keenness to offer solutions. Let’s look at some important points to include when training the frontline staff to ensure meaningful and impactful interactions.
The tone used by a Customer Service Representative (CSR) should reflect keenness to help and genuine concern in finding a fix to problems. The customer shouldn’t feel like the CSR is getting irritated by the questions and complaints of the customer, but instead feel like he or she is interested in knowing everything so maximum help can be offered.
The tone shouldn’t reflect the CSR playing blame games, such as “it is YOUR” fault that the product isn’t functioning properly, or “YOU are late in your service subscription and I don’t know how I can help you now”. The tone should be accommodating and the customer should feel like the CSR is willing to offer help no matter what and his or her intention is to get the service rolling and offering a smooth customer service experience.
Being attentive about the comments of the customer, doesn’t just relate to listening to what they are saying, but instead focusing and paying attention to important parts of their feedback to handle the case more efficiently. Listening with attention, leads to picking up points that can be used to deal with the case more strategically. Customers might also not know how to express their problem in a technical term, or clearly describe the problem they are facing, so it is essential to be attentive and gather the important information from the conversation.
Attentive listening can also lead to collecting feedback from customers which can be utilized for improving service experience in the future and enhancing service quality.
The use of negative words in sentences can damage relations with customers, who can be sensitive when receiving service and can get easily offended. Make sure you structure your responses smartly by using positive words in place of negative ones.
Firstly, clear and structured sentences will not lead to any confusions on part of the customer, who may not completely understand what the CSR is promising or saying when talking about service. This problem occurs when the CSR lacks adequate product knowledge and gives vague information to the customer to start with, which raises more problems in the future.
Secondly, negative remarks can make the customer angry and agitated. For example, “I can’t do this for you anymore, you should have contacted us earlier”, or, “I can’t offer you this deal at the moment, check back with us later”. These are comments which might not be out rightly rude, but are still in a negative context which can upset the customer. These can be replaced by positive words and language, such as, “We are sorry to inform you that the time for this deal was limited, but we will get back to you as soon as it is renewed”. Taking responsibility and comforting the customer can help retain more customers and build stronger bonds.
Emotional intelligence, also referred to as EQ should be incorporated in the training of the frontline staff when focusing on improving communication skills. Trained for making emotionally intelligent decisions, result in a more controlled and thought out reaction and response from the CSR’s side. This leads to better equipped staff and when they are faced with surprise situations, they can strategically deal with the problem at hand.
Some customers can overreact to a situation or be rude with the staff at the frontline, this requires an emotionally intelligent service rep who can disengage from the behavior of the customer and not take it personally, by not letting it impact service quality and hinder him or her from offering quality experiences.
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