Customer Support Best Practices for Answering the Telephone

Customer Support Best Practices for Answering the Telephone

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The world of business today is heavily driven by customer feedback – they have the ability to leave reviews, write blog posts, and share stories through social media. So connecting with these customers and supporting their needs has a huge effect on client satisfaction and business success.

Customer service has also been growing and evolving with new technology. But talking to customers on the phone remains one of the most important practices for a customer support team.

So how can customer support teams improve their phone interactions to ensure client happiness?

Keep reading for our customer support best practices for answering the telephone and start improving your client satisfaction!

Smile and Consider Your Tone

A warm and friendly tone from the start can make a client feel more at ease. From the moment the client starts to talk to a customer support agent, the tone can change the course of the conversation.

Literally smiling while on the phone with clients can make a person’s voice sound friendly and upbeat. Answering the phone with a smile can go a long way.

But if a customer is growing angry as the call goes on, it’s okay for the support agent to not be overly happy. Waiting until it’s appropriate to smile and encourage a happy tone will resonate more and sound more genuine.

Communicate and Be Transparent

Communication and honesty will help the customer to trust the support agent and want to listen to their help and advice.

If a customer is being recorded when on the phone with your support team, let them know. This can be done through the incoming call message, but if it’s not included, the support agent should tell the customer.

Continue to communicate throughout the call, and if the agent needs to put the customer on hold, it’s important to communicate a hold time. It’s also advised to let the customer know why they are being put on hold and ask if it’s OK to do this.

If the support agent is taking a long time to resolve the issue, it’s helpful to check back in with the client to either ensure them the problem is being worked on or offer to call them back. Be considerate of the client’s time and don’t inconvenience them more than is necessary.

If the phone call is breaking up or the client is having difficulty hearing the agent, consider calling them back. The hardware used on support teams can be a major aspect of having a positive customer service interaction, so choose the right phones for your business.

Listen and Validate the Customer

When a customer is explaining an issue they’re having it’s helpful for the agent to repeat and summarize what they believe the issue is to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Getting confirmation from the client is important so they feel validated and heard. This will also save time – you don’t want your support agent to try to resolve an non-issue or to miss the point of what the client was saying.

If a customer is starting to get frustrated, it can be helpful to give them space to talk and vent a bit. Even if the agent is able to step in with a solution, it’s good to let the client calm down. So sitting and listening can be the fastest way to help an angry customer.

Once the agent understands the customer’s issue, it’s important to offer some kind of a solution. Even if what they’re requesting can’t be done, offering an alternative solution will let the customer know the agent is interested in helping them.

Have Patience and Know How to Escalate an Issue

Another huge aspect of keeping customers calm is having patience. If the support agent is giving the customer instructions over the phone, give the customer time to complete them.

Even if the agent is simply waiting for the customer to explain the issue, having patience and listening will allow the client to get their story out. Interrupting and speeding the client along will make them feel frustrated and not understood.

When handling angry customers, it’s also important to think about escalation paths. There will always be issues that require a manager to assist, especially if a customer specifically asks for a manager.

Have a plan in place for what to do when a client asks to speak to a manager. Will you do a live transfer? Will you tell the customer they will receive a call back or an email? If the customer can’t be transferred immediately, it’s important to apologize and ensure someone will follow up.

Take Notes and Follow Up

Even when a customer isn’t asking to speak to a manager, it’s important to follow up on calls that require additional help.

If the issue is complicated, it can also be helpful to take notes as you go throughout the call. This will help to capture all the details, which the agent can then repeat back to the customer.

Also, think about the system you want your support team to use when following up with the client. What kind of email software or CRM do you have in place for these interactions? It’ll be important to have these systems in place before beginning to interact with clients.

Utilize Customer Support Best Practices to Improve Your Business

Customer support is an important factor for client retention. Your customer support agents are on the front lines of talking to your clients, so it’s important that they leave the customer feeling happy and helped.

By following the best practices above, you’ll ensure your call center or customer service team is helping clients to the best of their abilities.

It’s also important that you have the right phones and hardware to support these clients. Check out our product list next to ensure you’re choosing the right phones for your customer support team!

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