Presentation on theme: "Following company procedures for communicating with customers"— Presentation transcript:
1Following company procedures for communicating with customers Customer service standards
2Providing prompt attention all telephone calls must be answered within six ringsall letters must be acknowledged within three working daysall visitors to reception must be acknowledged immediately on arrival. No visitor with an appointment to see a specific member of staff must be asked to wait for more than ten minutes
3Scenario…You are extremely busy at work – short staffed and trying to do six jobs at once! Three people are waiting to see you, the telephone is ringing and a senior manager wants to talk to you and is looking impatient….What do you do?
4There aren’t any fixed rules but these tips may help … don’t panic!think external before internal in relation to customer prioritythink telephone before face-to-faceacknowledge customers who are waiting by looking at them and smiling, rather than pretending they don’t exist!start the conversation with apologising for the delayDon’t panic – this never helped anyone work quicker or more efficientlythink tel before face-to-face: simply because the person on the other en of the line can’t see you have a problem whereas your visitor can. Say ‘I’m sorry but do you mind if I answer the telephone?’ to a customer who is in front of you then keep the call short. If it is going to be lengthy, arrange to call back.acknowledge customers who are waiting by looking at them and smiling, rather than pretending they don’t exist!: this gives them confidence that they will be dealt with soonstart the conversation with apologising for the delay: A simple “I’m sorry to have kept you waiting is enough.
5Styles of address Should you be formal at first or act familiar? If you know a customer’s name then use it, eg, “Good morning, Mr Stevens”.With all your customers you are always better to be more formal. You will never offend anyone by calling them ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’; but you could easily do so if you try to become too personal. Some companies may expect you to be formal.over time, if you get to know someone well, then they may ask you to use their first name but you should wait to be told.
6Corporate styleie using a specific greeting when answering the phone, identifying themselves by the first name and then asking how they can help:“Hello, Compass Software, Lee speaking, how can I help you?”“Goodbye. Thank you for calling Compass Software”.Many organisations have a ‘corporate style’ that they train their staff to use along with certain words and phrases.Some people like this approach and others do not- but if you are told to do this then you must follow your instructions. giving you name is important because this makes the contact more personal – but remember that this also identifies you later if the caller had a problem with the call!
7No corporate style?Use “Good morning or afternoon” is more formal than “Hello” or “Hi” which is even less formalTry to use someone’s name during the conversationSaying “Goodbye, thank you for calling” is appropriate for external call, saying “Goodbye” to senior members of staff and “Bye” to end a call with a colleague of your own age.Try to use someone’s name during the conversation: is always a good idea it makes the person feel more important and second, it helps you to remember their name!
8Procedures for … Handling a person making a complaint (page 138) Keeping information confidential (page 139)
9OVER TO YOU!How long are you kept waiting in different places, in person and on the telephone?What techniques were used to cope with problems?What organisations do you rate?What organisations don’t you rate?
11The art of communication Questioningprobing for information you need – not an interrogation!not jumping in too soon allow them to respondif the matter is personal or the person is nervous or anxious then you may need to adopt a gentle approachclarify issues to ensure you’ve understood (notes on page 145)You may need to question a customer to obtain the information you need – shouldn’t be an interrogation
12The art of listening Listening it’s pointless to ask questions if you don’t listenactive listening occurs when you concentrate more on the other person than yourselfguidelines on page 146
14Appropriate tone and manner Being too friendly with a customer – or being over-familiar- is off-putting. You will avoid this if you keep your conversations strictly professionalCustomers may not understand many of the terms used in your organisation or in your type of work. Therefore you should explain clearly any abbreviations or jargon which you have to use
15Being helpful at all times Stay positive – try putting yourself in the shoes of the customer. concentrate on the customer’s needs and remember … few people are deliberately difficult unless they are having a problem! Your job is to help to solve that problem. If you can’t, then ask for help.
16Being polite, calm and confident If a customer is agitated or annoyed then it is easy to become ruffled yourself, especially if you don’t know the answer to many questions that you are asked. You can avoid many problems if you focus on staying in control of the situation.Confidence comes with experience – there may be situations at the start where you are nervous and unsure, it can help to watch your colleagues and copy their approach. Be patient with yourself.
18Convey information clearly and accurately accurate and up-to-date information prevents speculation, rumours and worryclear information reduces the danger of doubt or misunderstandingsconcise information means you don’t waste people’s time with unnecessary detailstimely information reduces problems and saves other people time and unnecessary effortcomplete information means that people don’t have to come back to you to fill in the gaps.
19You will improve your accuracy and clarity by … checking your facts and never guessing informationnoting down the details of a complex matter before you start to communicatechecking facts you are given by repeating them back (ie times, places, tel or catalogue numbers)writing clearlychecking spelling of people’s names and addressesbeing alert for feedback to make sure the receiver has understood yourephrasing what you are saying, or explaining yourself, if there is a communication problem
20Confidentiality and the limits of your own role never speculate about the reaction or response of another member of staff to a situationnever disclose internal discussions within the dept to anyone outside itnever discuss internal matters which are not directly relevant to the external customernever talk about one customer in front of anotherwatch what you’re saying over the telephone or to your colleagues when you are within earshot of a customerif you’re in any doubt at all about whether you should disclose information, always check first
21Resolve difficulties using organisational procedures Customers may have special requirements for many reasons, including:their own personal circumstancesthey have a physical impairment or disabilitythey do not speak English very wellthey have particular requirements linked to their culture or religious beliefsthey have an individual or unusual request
22Procedurestoday most employers promote equal opportunities to all their staff and visitorsin all organisations, there will be specific procedures for dealing with people with disabilities in an emergency evacuation for examplethese procedures are there to help you and your customersProviding special meals ie veganspecialist diets for religious peopleinterpreterswheelchair accessbraille buttons in lifts etc
23Special requirements of customers Please look at the examples on page 154
24Tips on dealing with customers I’d like you to produce a booklet with details of how to …handle a person making a complaint (p138 and 156)how to deal with difficult customers (p158)how to keep information confidential (p139)how to deal with the special requirements of customers (p154)how to deal with customer enquiries (157)
25Expressing regret without admitting liability all organisations will expect staff to express regret if a customer has a complaint or is experiencing a difficulty.organisations have found that keeping customers well informed, being courteous and providing pleasant surroundings has had more effect on customer patience and tolerance than any number of glass screens and security measures.
26Expressing regret …when you express regret – or apologise to a customer – you are not making a personal admission of guiltyou are acknowledging how the customer feels and saying sorry on behalf of the organisation for those feelings.this is still valid even if the customer is later proved to be wrong, but at the time thought that they were correct
27Admitting liabilityif you admit liability you are actually confirming that you – or your employer – is in the wrongThere are two reasons why you should never do this:you don’t know enough to admit liability unless you know all the facts of the case. A customer will tell you only his or her side of the story. Investigation is neededif you admit liability the customer may be able to use this in evidence if the matter went to court and this could affect the final court judgement