In the Philippines there are hundreds of BPO Companies opened since year 2010-2017 and it gave a lot of employment opportunities for Filipinos to have a decent office job and earning enough to sustain life’s expenses and demands. However since the rising of the industry some thinks that it’s a stagnant work environment and they judge agents as lower class professionals. I wonder why… Maybe because there’s no educational degree needed to be hired and the job description seems to be very simple and easy?? (They think & They’re Wrong)….
Before I ventured in the BPO Industry, I was an SEO Specialist so I’ve the back ground on handling clients and projects. Along side the knowledge of technology and internet. However, there’s a big difference when it comes to customer handling. As an SEO it’s just normal communication / conversation just enough to be able to understand the business objectives and meeting the goal. Pretty much straight forward type of conversation, but when I started to observe my team mates and coworkers they follow a different approach in handling customers.
So I kinda adjusted the way I talk to foreign customers, there are rules that needs to be practice and follow for call flow and there are SOP that we need to tell each customers that we appreciate their business with us and also standardised introduction & ending of the call to be able to pass the quality stats for call handling.
So what I’m going to share in this post is mainly on elements that I struggled to get use to and practice during my first two months of taking calls. This might also help out others that having the same struggles as I did.
What’s The Best Approach for an Effective Conversation To Obtain Customer Satisfaction?
- Courtesy is a must – make sure to handle all customers with courtesy no matter if they’re rude, inconsiderate, irritated & frustrated with the service that they’re paying for. Be nice, positive and handle all customers in a professional manner.
- Honesty & Trustworthy – best approach for this is to be straight forward and transparent throughout all your calls. Even it will give a negative effect for the customer it’s still better to be honest tell them what’s going on and follow it up with a solution to gain the customer’s trust and make sure you’ll setting the right expectation. Don’t give false info/hope. Don’t worry in getting escalated take whatever reaction or result you’ll get as long as you’re being honest & trustworthy. Trust me it’s going to pay off in the long run as you constantly practice this approach.
- Confidence & Competence – Sounding confident is okay but it’s not effective if you’re troubleshooting solutions are mostly unresolved because of lack of product knowledge and incorrect procedures of troubleshooting. BE CONFIDENT because you’re an expert that knows the overall product solutions & technology that you’re supporting. Don’t be intimidated with the customer if you notice that he’s a tech-oriented person, he’s / she’s not calling you and ask for help if he knows what he’s doing right? So beard in mind you’re the expert not the customer. – Competence is all about how you address the customer’s needs and how you’ve dealt with the problem. Don’t hesitate to refer them to someone with more experience who can effectively handle their issue or concern if it’s out of your scope of support. However it’s good to do extra mile if you know how to troubleshooting the problem even though it’s out of your support. That’s really targeting customer satisfaction and providing great customer experience.
- Ownership & Interests – make sure you take ownership of the customers problem or concern, making them feel that you’re going to take care of it and provide resolution. Make them feel in the beginning of the call that they’re talking to someone that’s going to resolved & help them out with whatever concerns they are calling about. You should give them an impression that you’re really interested to help them, educate them, give them tips or at least show the customer your interests and undivided attention through the tone of your voice and the way you communicate with them.
4 Elements to Focus For Call Handling
- You Drive – Controlling the situation, be straight forward and confident.
- Apologise or Empathise – validate the concern or problem and show that you feel the need, urgency or you understand their situation.
- Redirection – Turn or refocus the conversation by you helping them out the best that you can instead of them having a problem with their service. Taking off the heat from the issue/complaint and focusing on you’re troubleshooting.
- Problem-solve – Resolve the problem with your knowledge and capabilities give some extra mile of patience and time to walk through your customer on how to solve their current issue or at least provide the best resolution to the problem so the customer leaves happy.
Language & Comprehension Skills to Practice
English is a universal language which we filipinos have studied and mastered to speak fluently. However in the customer service realm fluency is not enough, it’s easy to converse using basic english and simple words and sentence structures and still be able to communicate. However as agent it’s crucial that you practice using the best words to show confidence, competence and empathy/sympathy.
Personally I do an on-going experiment / development strategy to randomly use different words and approach to scaling the reaction, response of the customer with the overall call results until you’ll have the most effective approach that most likely to get a positive result. Like a trial and error tactic but doing it on real customers and calls.
- “Hi this is YOUR NAME I’m with BRAND NAME tech support/specialist how can I help?”
- “Thanks for call BRAND NAME my name is YOUR NAME how can I help you today?”
- “Hi there I’m YOUR NAME I’m here to assist you with any technical concern you have, how can I help?”
- “thank you for choosing BRAND NAME we appreciate your business with us – good bye for now”
- “It’s been a pleasure helping you out NAME OF CUSTOMER we do value your business with us – hope you’ll have a nice day/evening/ (have a happy holiday good bye).”
- “Thanks for calling us here it’s nice to have the opportunity to assist you, we truly value your business with us. Have a great day sir/maam”
Apology & Empathy:
- “I totally understand where you’re coming from and I do apologise for the inconvenience NAME OF CUSTOMER” No worries, I’m here help I’ll do my best to get that problem resolved.
- “Ohh I’m sorry to hear that NAME OF CUSTOMER, I’ll do what I can to get that issue fixed”
- “My sincere apology for not having your service working (properly) NAME OF CUSTOMER, I’ll do my best to resolve that problem for you or provide you with the best resolution.”
So I’m trying to determine what’s the most positive and effective choice of words and sentence structure to practice with the objective that it would generate a good outcome and provide great customer experience and conversation. I don’t have a speech guide I’m just outline these sentences in my mind then I observe the flow of the call and the feedback I get from the customer.
PAY ATTENTION ON WHATS WORKING AND WHAT’S NOT
Before I really didn’t pay attention on these stuff since my goal is to meet the business objectives as an SEO Specialist. It’s my personal struggle to develop my call handling skills and to standardise certain elements of my calls to get positive feedback from the customer and also to generate good results for the company that I’m working on.
After 6months of constant learning, observation and development to push on improving how I handle customer and provide great customer experience. I would say to those who think being a customer representative is an easy job and low type of profession or career; I would like to see them try and perform effectively without any struggles and to be competitive to be a better agent or the best that stands out from the rest of the team. If they can pull it off easy I would really ask them for tips & coaching myself.
THE MAIN INGREDIENT FOR DEVELOPMENT TARGETING PERSONAL IMPROVEMENTS
The key trigger of developing your call handling skills as a customer service representative is very simple and built in within each person. It’s your eagerness/willingness to improve and to be competitive to perform well in and out of the office. Reading this blog post is a good sign that you’re interested to learn to be a better call center agent or not the best. Without the enthusiasm to change and improve no matter how long you’re going to work as an agent you’ll never move forward.
Don’t close your self to improve and don’t give critics a reason to be right by looking at call center agents as low type of professional and give them the impression that it’s a stagnant industry. Keep pushing on improvements by setting effective call handling strategies for your self development and career. Hope this post will give a positive impact to readers, if you have questions or feedback please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Thanks for reading =)