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Top 16 Tips for Providing the Best Customer Care Service Over the Phone

Baishaly Roy

July 30, 2021 |

customer care

A company’s customer care service is the foremost opportunity to show great quality of service to customers by assisting, solving problems, and showing care.

It’s an important part of a company’s growth as good service stays on with the customer and brings them back. 

Companies lose $62 billion a year in the US alone due to poor customer care service. This goes ahead to prove the importance of good customer service delivery as far as business is concerned.

Even though texting is far more common than calls, customers instead contact customer support via phone calls. 

According to a report from Zendesk, 66% of respondents use their phones to contact customer support

This has motivated many organizations to provide their customers with phone support. 

According to the SalesForce 2019 study, 93% of companies use phones to channel customer care service. 

Seeing the importance of customer support, it’s necessary that the same amount of attention given to the marketing and sales team be given to the customer support team. Happy customers are your greatest marketers.

“Happy customers are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.” Lisa Masiello

In this article, you will learn what customer care service is, provide training for customer service reps who would handle calls, what qualities such agents should possess, and 16 guidelines on increasing customer experience on the phone.

Qualities of A Good Customer Care Service Call/Agent

According to Josefina Madrigal, a phone support guru and call centre advocate at True Link, a good customer care service call has these three basic components:

  1. The agent must first understand the customer’s problem. ”A good customer service call starts with understanding the problem.” This is possible by active listening and getting customer information handy.
  2. The agent should be able to resolve the customer’s problem quickly. According to Zendesk in their Customer Experience Trends Report, 60% of customers surveyed said speed was very important when contacting customer service for help. Madrigal says, “if a call is under 5 minutes, that’s a good indicator that you were able to help the customer quickly.”
  3. The customer has to be happy at the end of the call. A study by McKinsey shows that 70% of the customer journey is based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
  4. The agent needs to have complete product and service knowledge. “Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.” – Kevin Stirtz
  5. Communicating clearly and in simple terms is a quality that every call center agent must-have. “Body language and tone of voice – not words – are our most powerful assessment tools.” – Christopher Voss.
  6. A good customer service agent should be innovative and a quick problem solver.  “My definition of ‘innovative’ is providing value to the customer.” – Mary Barra.
  7. The customer service department is made up of different teams. And so any agent working there must be a team player for efficiency. “Sometimes one can become lost in a big company and lose sight of how what one does truly helps or impacts the end customer. If you are one of those, think of a fire brigade, a line of people passing buckets of water from one to the other from a water source to the site of the fire. An individual in the brigade may not be able to see the result, i.e., the water being thrown on the fire to put it out, but the contribution of the individual is indispensable to the outcome.” – Grant Bright, Former Project Lead IBM.
  8. The agent must have enthusiasm in him, which is a key factor to customer service success. Enthusiasm is a personality attribute that is heavily influenced by your personality. While it’s tough to turn an enthusiastic person against her nature, it’s quite simple to take away a natural enthusiast’s gift. ”An employee who conveys authentic enthusiasm does so in a unique way, perhaps even singular, and matches his style and personality. And while this may be animated or may be reserved, it will be real.”-Steve Curtin.
  9. No matter how many guidebooks or scripts you’ve given your agents, there will always be (many) unexpected situations that haven’t been handled in those guides. You know, situations where breaking from business policies is necessary. This is why customer care agents must be creative. They must be able to come up with ideas that are appropriate for the situation. If you will, consider it a custom-made solution to their customers’ problem.
  10. Every day, a customer care agent interacts with tens, if not hundreds, of users. Each support interaction takes place on a separate emotional frequency and wavelength. Agents with high emotional intelligence can quickly respond to various customer emotional states and fine-tune their replies as needed. Emotionally intelligent candidates are more empathic, attentive, thorough, and tactful, among other qualities. They’re also fantastic at active listening, which is another very desirable customer service skill.
  11. Charismatic people are attractive. People want to communicate with them, which is why having a charismatic agent is advantageous. If your customer service representative is pleasant to deal with, it will reflect positively on the company.-” Customers come to me with a sense of urgency and an honest desire to understand how to execute a program correctly and to see results. This only works if customers trust my expertise.”-Sarang Bhatt

16 Tips On Providing the Best Customer Care Service Over the Phone

  1. Choose a Good Call Service Provider

Investing in call services would help improve the quality of customer care service your customers get. LimeCall for instance makes it easy for your clients to reach customer service support. No downloads are needed, as all they need is to tap on the live support button. 

Once you’ve invested in good call service, the job is more promising from there. 

I was having a problem with my product that I recently purchased online; I called their customer service thinking that they would understand my situation and give me a solution. What happened was totally opposite. After wasting 10 minutes explaining my concern to an agent, he said his department doesn’t handle these things; he will transfer the call. After waiting for straight 5 minutes, I was finally connected to an agent. He, too, said he couldn’t do anything, and once again, my call was transferred to another agent. In the beginning, the third agent was so nice in talking with me; when I told him my concern, his behavior changed instantly. He was talking rudely with me, and instead of giving me a solution, he was blaming me for the whole thing. He hung up on me, saying, we couldn’t help you. This was my experience with customer service and the last time I purchased any product from them.

The above is an example of a bad call service that causes the business to lose a customer. 

  1. Always be Available

American Express is one of the top-rated credit card companies that has remained at the top. They do this by providing mouth-watering benefits to their customers such as insurance, complimentary travel flight credit, and of course their 24/7 customer care service support line available globally.

By being available in every location, customers can enjoy the benefit of such services wherever they go. The fact that customers can also get support irrespective of their location makes American Express very suitable for big clients.

Proud to be an Amex customer

I’ve only ever had an excellent customer service experience with American Express. They incorrectly charged me for interest payments and these were reversed. Regardless of what country I’m in, the service has been fantastic. Proud to be an Amex customer. – Antoine Commane

  1. Using the right tone and pitch

Tone of Voice in Customer Service | Understanding with Unbabel

When talking over the phone, all we can get and project are our voices. We shape our message and convey our feelings and attitude through it. By the way, we sound when talking to a customer, we can persuade, reassure, and give confidence to those in need of our help. The tone of our voice can also play us down as it can cause distrust, doubts and make the customer feel like we are attacking them.

When we speak, our voice’s intonation, rhythm, and articulation shape our message and allow us to transmit either positive or negative feelings and attitudes.

Positive language helps relieve the stress from your customer who has a problem. Use more positive verbs in a conversation. For instance, instead of saying “don’t click twice,” say “click once.” Use future tenses to carry the customer along and keep them on the same page as you. Phrases like “doing that would be a great option” can help improve your communication with the customer.

Note that you must remain calm and positive without being fake but your real self when talking to the customer. This is applicable even if the customer is angry and not being very cooperative.

  1. Active Listening

Listening to customers to try to get to the root of the problem is one of the most important call centre skills. I listen to the customer and what they need help with and then repeat what they said to confirm that I understand what they need help with” Madrigal.

Your customer calls because they need answers and solutions to their queries, and you need to make them feel understood and heard. When practising active listening, you need to focus on what the speaker is saying and learn something. Ask questions as they proceed to be sure you understand and follow the trend. Once they are done explaining, repeat what they told concisely to ensure you both are on the same page. For example, questions like “so you want us to build a website for you that’s similar to the old one but with a friendlier interface?“show active listening. 

With passive listening, the listener discourages conversation by showing a lack of interest. This comes in the form of sighs as the customer speaks and being silent as though you are not there.

  1. Smile While Talking

Have you ever wondered how you know when someone isn’t in the best mood to talk to you and how you know when someone is receptive to you over the phone? Smiling over the telephone can surprisingly be transmitted over the phone. A study conducted by the University of Portsmouth showed that a smile could be heard.

According to a new study, smiling affects how we speak, to the point that listeners can identify the type of smile based on sound alone. The research, which also suggested that some people have “smilier” voices than others, adds to the growing body of evidence that smiling and other expressions pack a strong informational punch and may even impact us on a subliminal level. It’s believed that some 50 different types of smiles exist, ranging from triumphant ones to those that convey bitterness.

While smiling is essential, be careful not to smile at a customer who is angry and needs a solution or explanation.

  1. Have Patience

Being patient with your customer comes in various ways. When asking them for some data required to help them, you need to be patient as they find it. You also need to be patient with your customer as they explain their problem to you. Cutting them short while they are expressing themselves would only make the situation worse. You may be tempted to cut them while they are still speaking because you understand the situation. Don’t!

  1. Show Empathy

In a survey carried out by Genesys, over 9,000 customers were asked what mattered to them most concerning their interactions with companies. 40% of respondents choose better human services. 

Another study by J D Power showed that 80% of customers who received good human service were willing to talk about the brand to their friends and family. This goes a long way to show the importance of empathy in business. 

By being empathetic, you show that you understand how your customer feels and the problem they have at hand. This is a skill that makes your customers trust you with their problems as they feel you understand them and would be in the best position to give them a lasting solution.

You can show empathy by looking at your customers’ problems from their point of view.

  1. Be Good with The Required Technical Skills

Knowing how to type fast and implement a service ticket are skills that would come in handy when attending to a customer. Not being able to do the above quickly would lead to a waste of customer time, thereby reducing their experience. In some cases, you may have to transfer the call to a higher authority for clarity and a solution. Being able to do this swiftly as well is a skill you need.

According to a survey, 46% of customers expect their complaints to be responded to and solved within 1 hour. ‘’I ordered a case of dessert wine for a party. Unfortunately, the wine never came to me but charged my money. I called customer service to get an explanation of this situation. At first, they were not picking, but when an agent picked the call, he said they would try to resolve my matter quickly. It quickly was almost one week for me; after calling them repeatedly and reminding them about my complaint, they took another ten days to process my refund.’’

  1. Know All There Is to Know About Your Products and Services

You can’t give what you don’t have, and so if you must provide good customer care service over the phone, you must have good knowledge about all your company has to offer. As part of the training of a customer service agent, it’s right that they spend time with a product specialist so they can be abreast with all they need about the products and services. By this, they would have tips and tricks to solve problems at their fingertips and provide better services to their clients.

  1. Always Measure and Analyze Customer Feedback Given at The End of Phone Calls

To get first-hand knowledge of your service, you need to take customer feedback at the end of every call. Analyze these surveys from your customers so they can point you to directions that need improvement in your team. Those improvements are necessary because your customer satisfaction is your greatest marketing strategy. 

“52% of people around the globe believe that companies need to take action on feedback provided by their customers” Microsoft

  1. Your Attitude

Attitudes can be transmitted over the phone call as the disposition with which you place a call can be sensed by the other party. By your voice and language, you can make the caller feel comfortable or uneasy. And so, since your aim as a customer care agent is to bring relief, always take up a call with a positive attitude.

This attitude should be unchanged despite the stress you have faced due to the workload throughout the day. You should also maintain this attitude despite the type of customer you face. This means you must control your emotions and keep your feelings in check all through the call.

  1. Silence

When explaining a situation or giving a guide on how your client can solve their problem, occasional pauses can go a long way. These pauses help emphasize the important words and give room for the other party to show that they follow. Speak slowly and clearly, pausing after every few sentences for the best effects.

  1. Allow Customer Agents to Use Other Channels

Many times agents are required to toggle between a phone conversation and sending an email to the customer or an SMS. Being able to do this on the go reduces customer waiting time and improves customer experience over the phone. The company should provide the seamless delivery of this service to the customer service agent, so they can be properly armed for whatever comes their way.

Many times agents are required to toggle between a phone conversation and sending an email to the customer or an SMS. Doing this on the go reduces customer waiting time and improves customer experience over the phone. The company should provide the seamless delivery of this service to the customer service agent, so they can be properly armed for whatever comes their way.

Using LimeCall‘s Two way SMS feature, you can send and receive SMS from your customers on the same number. This results in saving time and building effective communication with your customers. You can also integrate Two way SMS with your calendar app to know who is calling you and who you want to call in the future. By holding a 1-1 conversation on SMS with the customer, you build your brand reputation. 

  1. Always Communicate Hold Time If You Have to Put Them On Hold

Depending on the query your customer has, but sometimes you may have to place the call on hold to make some confirmations or cross-check some details. Placing the call on hold is okay, but doing so without prior information to the customer is rude. Always let the customer know that the call is about to be placed on hold and confirm that they are okay with it before you proceed.

They may feel you have forgotten about them if they are put on hold for too long, so check back after every 2 minutes so they know you are still there. If you feel the call would be on hold for too long, offer to call them back once you have the solution they need. You could also help them create a ticket to continue the conversation on chat to be more convenient for them.

  1. Reflect and Validate

Depending on your customer’s query, sometimes you may have to place the call on hold to make some confirmations or cross-check some details. Placing the call on hold is okay, but doing so without prior information to the customer is rude. Always let the customer know that the buzz is about to be placed on hold, and get the confirmation that they are okay with it before you proceed.

They may feel you have forgotten about them if they are put on hold for too long, so check back after every 2 minutes so they know you are still there. If you feel the call would be on hold for too long, offer to call them back once you have the solution they need. You could also help them create a ticket to continue the conversation on chat to be more convenient for them.

  1. Take Notes

Taking notes of a client’s problem is very important as sometimes you can’t remember the whole conversation between you and your customers. This results in the customer not being fully satisfied because you did not hear all his complaints. To avoid this, use LimeCall’s in-build CRM, which lets you take notes while talking to your customers. Another advantage of taking notes is that these can be shared with other agents easily while you try to provide a solution to your client’s query. 

33% of customers feel frustrated repeating themselves of information to different support representatives” Hubspot research

Dos and Don’ts of Customer Care Service Delivery Over the Phone

In summary, what is expected from you to ensure optimum customer care service delivery over the phone includes:

  • Active listening
  • Patience when listening to the customer and when they are trying to provide the information you need
  • Show empathy
  • Validate the customer’s feelings
  • Have good knowledge of your products and services
  • Try to solve customer issues promptly using the shortest time possible
  • To avoid longer wait time, ask if the customer can reschedule for convenience 
  • Take breaks if you feel stressed and tired, don’t compromise on providing high-level customer service.

What you should avoid while attending to customers over the phone includes:

  • Don’t make it difficult for your customers to reach an agent
  • Don’t take what your customers say personally
  • Don’t be in a hurry to end the call at the expense of providing good quality service and the best solution
  • Don’t chime in on the customer when they are still talking
  • Don’t make the customer repeat their ordeal to multiple agents before they get an answer. It shows incompetence
  • Don’t make your agents act unnaturally by giving them a script to follow
  • Avoid burning out as this would result in low-quality service delivery 

Conclusion

Getting new customers is one thing, but keeping them is another ball game entirely. One of your business’s perks that would keep your customers loyal to the brand is to have an efficient customer service department. Since many people prefer to call over the phone and have their problems and queries resolved, investing in a good call service with voice clarity such as LimeCall is important. Providing proper training to agents and ensuring they all have the necessary qualities of a good customer service agent are all critical in ensuring that your clients have the best experience at all times.

  • If you find the above 14 tips useful and helpful for your customer service, be sure to follow them.
  • These tips will help you provide excellent customer service over the phone. As a resul, you will see an increase in your conversation rate.
  • Share the article with your partners, marketers, and colleagues to let them know about these tips. 

Baishaly Roy

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