Our modern digital era has made it easier than ever to connect with customers, offering them a mix of both human and automated assistance. However, the traditional voice channel is far from extinct—a recent Google study found that 61% of mobile users call businesses during the purchasing phase, with 59% seeking a quick answer and 57% wishing to speak to a real person. Indeed, the BIA/Kelsey marketing advisory firm cites that calls to businesses should exceed 169 billion per year by 2020. As voice offers the benefit of natural human contact, it remains a channel with high potential for great customer engagement. Here are six steps to building customer rapport on the voice channel.
Every call should begin with a natural greeting that puts the customer at ease. The agent should begin by introducing himself and thanking the customer for making contact. If the agent knows the customer’s name, he should address him directly. Otherwise, it’s essential to ask for the customer’s name before offering to assist him.
Customers want to be heard, and they may be frustrated when they contact customer service agents. For this reason, agents should always invite them to describe their issues in full. Listening closely shows customers that the agents care about their problems, and it can help appease any negative emotions.
Once the customer has finished explaining the problem, the agent should summarize it to make sure he understood the customer correctly. Taking the time to clarify the situation builds confidence in the customer and ensures a more efficient resolution.
One of the great advantages of the voice channel is its potential for natural human contact. Positive language is essential to building trust, but customers can also hear when agents are showing enthusiasm and empathy. When situations are tough, agents should make apologies on behalf of the company. When looking for a solution, agents should show a willingness to assist customers. Sincerity and a genuine desire to help can be felt over the phone.
To keep the conversation flowing naturally, agents should pace themselves carefully. They should avoid using long phrases, ask questions when necessary, and give customers a chance to answer before moving on to the next step. This ensures a dialogue and empowers customers to express their feelings and concerns during the process. In addition, agents should always inform customers whenever it’s necessary to place them on hold. Long pauses without any information can make customers feel uncomfortable or even fearful that the call has been disconnected.
Once the agent believes the case has been resolved and has communicated all necessary information to the customer, he should ask if there are any other issues that need to be resolved. If the customer is satisfied, the agent should thank him for his time and his trust in the company and close with a positive message. Building customer rapport on the voice channel requires a conversational approach and an ability to humanize the experience. When customers feel the attentiveness and empathy of agents, their confidence and loyalty are restored.
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