Tips to Improve Phone Skills

Date Posted: 2012-08-12

Customer service in the call center industry is primarily imparted through the phone. Hence, customer agents should first and foremost possess the right phone skills as part of their customer service. Hereunder are some tips to improve an agent’s phone skills.

Greet. A call starts and ends with a greeting. Unlike in ordinary phone calls when a "hello" is traditionally used to start the call at the receiving end, customer phone calls should be given better greeting like "good morning". This is then followed by a brief introduction of the agent and the company one represents.

Respect. Customers are important to us and should be given utmost respect and courtesy at all time during the duration of the call. This can be demonstrated by addressing the customer sir or madam (mam), frequently using polite words and phrases like "please" or "may I" in asking customers to do something. Agents must not sound commanding but must always sound requesting.

Speak clearly and slowly. One of the common misconceptions and mistakes of Filipinos is that being proficient in English entails communicating or talking fast in English. Some people exaggerate this to the extent that native English speaking foreigners themselves cannot understand them, which essentially undercut the principal objective of communication. Instead, agents should learn how to articulate words slowly and clearly with the right diction, tone and modulation, notwithstanding if imitating foreign accents are not emphasized. What is most important in any conversation is that both parties are able to understand each other.

Listen carefully. Communication is a two way process. It involves speaking and listening. One without the other results to a failure of communication. In as much as most companies usually focus on speaking, agents must equally focus on listening. To listen carefully, agents should pause whenever a customer speaks. They should allow customers to speak first. They should also focus on listening and avoid doing something else while listening. Having an agent asking a you to repeat yourself is very frustrating on the part of the customer.

Be emphatic and sympathetic. Customers usually call because they need something. They have a problem that needs to be resolved. They wouldn’t bother to call if everything is fine. In short, customer care agents are there to provide help and to take care of customers. Hence, all communications from the choice of words, tone of voice and personal disposition of the agent should framed towards caring about the customer, which can be achieved by being sympathetic and emphatic.

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