For computer service merchants, a telephone acts as a primary way of communication with customers, especially when you operate an international call center. Unlike e-commerce merchants who take product orders and ship goods, you provide a service that requires merchant-customer interaction–whether it be PC repair, remote rescue, online reputation management, or search engine optimization.
Effective phone talk plays a key role in the success of your business. It’ll build a better image for your business and create long-lasting relationships. But how do you do it?
Begin your phone call with confidence. When you answer the phone, greet your customer by offering your name and your company’s name. If your customer gives you his or her name in return, make the phone call more personal by using it in conversation. If they don’t provide you with a name, you can ask for it or simply call them ma’am or sir out of respect.
Show that you are a good listener. When your business relies on phone communications, you want your customers to know that they’re important and that you truly care about solving their problems. Take notes on paper so you can remember what their problems are and reference back to them.
Show that you are a figure of authority. By becoming a figure of authority over the phone, you’ll gain the respect of your customers. They will know that you can and will help them solve any problems they may have. This doesn’t mean you should talk down to your customers—just take control of the situation and assure them you’re there to help.
Be aware of your tone of voice. Start by talking with a smile on your face—the smile will come across in your voice and through the other end of the phone. An enthusiastic and caring tone of voice will build trust with your customers and show that you enjoy your job and you’re truly interested in helping. A flat or cold tone of voice will send negative vibes, make your customers feel like you’re bored, and you don’t care to help.
Be aware of your customer’s tone of voice and how fast they’re talking to you. If your customer is talking slowly, he or she may be confused or even tired. However, if your customer is talking quickly, he or she may be angry or getting impatient with you. Either way, remain calm, cool, and confident. Reassure them that you will resolve their problems.
Avoid using technical jargon. Remember that the computer service industry has a lot of fancy words, and your customers may not understand the jargon. Speak in layman’s terms and explain everything as if you were talking to a 10-year-old child. Your customers call you because they have a problem and need your help, so they’re most likely already frustrated. You don’t want to frustrate them even more by using jargon that they don’t understand.
Provide frequent status updates. If you work for a PC repair or remote assistance helpdesk, your customers may have to wait on the phone with long periods of silence. (I know from experience when my laptop caught a horrible virus.) Reassure your customers that you’re still working on fixing their problem by giving them frequent status updates.
Be consistent. Effective phone talk can make or break your computer service business. If you can quickly solve a problem and end your phone call with satisfied, happy customers, then they’re most likely to return–and even tell their friends about your company. However, one of the most important things to remember about your effective phone talk is that you need to be consistent. If you or any of your other phone operators are rude even once, it may give your company a bad reputation.
What do you think is the most important business communication skill when talking to customers on the phone? How do you handle angry customers on the phone? What do you require all of your employees to say every time they answer calls?