Our Focus Today… Discuss the importance of strong telephone skills Review techniques for effective telephone communication –Speaking/Listening Identify common challenges and how to manage them Practice skills
True or False? Once youve upset or disappointed a customer, it is a lost cause to try to correct the problem.
False 75 - 80% of customers will remain loyal if eventually satisfied Up to 90% will remain loyal if satisfied on the spot Also, one satisfied customer will tell at least 5 others
True or False? When you answer a call, and the customer really needs to resolve the issue with another department, it's not your responsibility to make sure the customer reaches someone who can help.
False Customers are relying on you to be their guide within our organization. They appreciate your customer service if you don't abandon them.
How Your Message Is Conveyed: Words used Tone of voice Body language From a study conducted in 1971 by Albert Mehrabian and published in his book, Silent Messages 7% 38% 55%
Lets take a look 4 Tips for Better Phone Communication –Smile –Dont Multi-task –Beware of Dead Air –Slow Down and Adapt Video courtesy of Office Arrow ®
Effective Speaking Vocal quality –Rate –Volume –Tone Be clear and concise Smile!
Effective Listening Focus on the content Visualize the caller Limit distractions Ask clarifying questions
Effective Listening Show empathy (no faking!) Avoid –Premature conclusions –Planning your response –Placing blame –Defensiveness Listen for the Real Message
Dos and Donts (Pick 2) Dos Keep an open mind Listen attentively for the total meaning Ask the right questions at the right time Pay attention to both content and delivery Smile Donts Make assumptions or prejudgment Interrupt with your thoughts or advice Multi-task Let your mind wander Forget to follow up
Welcoming Callers Be ready to talk Answer by the third ring Use an appropriate greeting
Three Part Greeting Good morning/afternoon Your department or college Your first and last name
Screen All Calls the Same Way If available –May I tell Mr. Johnson who is calling? If unavailable –Mr. Johnson is not able to get to the phone at the moment. May I help you or if you prefer I can transfer you to his voicemail.
When Transferring Calls Give a reason for the transfer –Ms. Thomas is the expert on that subject; would you like me to transfer you to her? Offer critical information –Name –Telephone number
When Transferring Calls Communicate relevant information to the recipient Warm vs. Cold Avoid excuses –Sorry, Im just a receptionist
The Ego Trip – I am better than you! Dont react to his/her ego –Instead offer options Appeal to his/her ego Dont talk policy
The Hysteric – I want this done NOW! Let him/her vent Demonstrate empathy Take responsibility for solving the problem
A Bad Mouth – Listen, you #@%… Ignore the language Force the issue Use selective agreement Dont take personally
English as a Second Language – I dont understand… You should: –Be patient –Avoid jargon –Ask them to please speak more slowly –Invite them to ask you to repeat yourself –Show interest –Summarize –Volume
True or False? The following exemplifies a good voicemail message –Hi, this is Bob. Im either on the phone or away from my desk. –Hi, this is Bob Johnson with Finance and Accounting. Im either on the phone or away from my desk.
Voicemail Callers appreciate –A warm friendly voice –A first and last name –Your department name
Voicemail Callers want to know –When you might return –How often you check your messages –How to get immediate assistance
Speaker Phone Ask permission –Identify other listeners Do not assume the caller is unaware When conferencing –Introduce colleagues –Routinely identify speakers Ensure privacy –Speaker phones can be loud
Caller ID Electing not to answer does not remove your obligation Allow caller to identify themselves –Do not do it for them
Cellular Phone Respect the rights of others not to hear your conversation Confirm your departments policy regarding usage
Warning! Even the best technology is a poor substitute for personal service –Website Strive to personally assist callers whenever possible
Show courtesy during a wait time 1)Explaining why and requesting the customer's permission before putting him/her on hold? 2)Waiting for the customer's response? 3)Setting a "hold" time expectation and keeping the customer informed? 4)On return to the call, thanking the customer for holding?
Other helpful hints 5) Calling back when you promised 6) Answering the phone by the third ring 7)Providing access to someone in authority when necessary 8)Telling customers how long solving a problem will take
Other helpful hints 9)Showing the customer you appreciate his/her business 10) Giving progress reports if a problem can't be solved immediately 11) Screening all calls in a professional and consistent manner
Today We… Discussed the importance of strong telephone skills Reviewed techniques for effective telephone communication Identified common challenges –Learned how to manage them