I’m fairly confident we’ve all been through a customer service call that left us not knowing what exactly the agent on the other end of the line said because the agent spoke so fast.
Real World Story:
You have a question about a product or service, and you can’t find the answer online or on the company website. So, you have to pick up the phone and make the call.
After you navigate through the frustrating phone tree, have yelled “customer Service” 15 times trying to get an agent, a human finally answers. However, the agent speaks so fast you doubt if you even called the right company.
This happened to a client of mine. However, after he asked, “What did you say?,” the agent replied, “What did I say?” Confused, my client muttered, “What?” The agent then also replied, “What?” It was ridiculous. No matter how many times my client asked the agent to SLOW DOWN, the agent would not do so, and the conversation went absolutely nowhere. Eventually, my client asked to speak to someone else. And guess what? The agent was MORE than happy to oblige. Hmmmmm, was the agent mimicking my client on purpose just to get rid of the call? Interesting…in a very BAD way that is.
Strategies that Turn it Around: Customer service agents who answer the phone should consider the following:
- Before you answer a phone call, make sure to have finished any previous work so you can BE PRESENT with the new caller.
- Before you answer a phone call, slap a big smile on your face, even if you have to fake it.
- Before you answer a phone call, take two deep breaths and clear your mind.
- Answer the phone after two rings and in a calm, slow manner: state the name of your company, your name, and say, “How may I help you?”
- Adjust your pace to that of the customer. This form or mimicry is called mirroring. If your customer is a fast talker, then you pick up the pace. If your caller is a slow talker, then you slow down your pace. Mirroring teaches us that people like people who are similar to them.
Remember: Customer service phone etiquette is important to making a great first impression. And while mimicking what a customer says to you is down right rude and obnoxious, mirroring the pace of your customers’ speech is a great way to make them feel right at home. And that has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
What do YOU do to deliver exceptional customer service on the phone? I’d love to read your comments below.