A CEO I work with mentioned that during a recent customer service call, the representative—who was helping process a business purchase worth several thousand dollars—seemed distracted. Midway through, he heard laughter in the background and could hear the rep trying not to join in. Frustrated, he ended the call. The sales manager later called him back to find out what had gone wrong, and in explaining the situation, he simply said, “I didn’t feel like I had your full attention.” What can you do to ensure that your customers feel they have your full focus anytime they use your contact center?
Minimize background noise. Look at your physical space. Whenever possible, it’s important to minimize background noise. This can be in the form of other reps talking, employees standing around talking, typing, or even operational noise from the building. The quieter the space that your team works in, the easier it is to focus—and the more personalized attention your customers will feel they are receiving.
- Limit digital distractions. Do your customer service reps have access to the Internet or social media sites? Consider whether these tools are necessary to do their jobs or whether they could be distracting reps during a call. During one call center walkthrough, I saw a sales rep taking a call that I later learned was from one of the company’s most important clients. While he listened and responded in single words to a customer’s questions, he casually scrolled through his Facebook feed. It may be fine for your customer service reps to use digital tools during breaks or downtime, but don’t let programs distract your team during calls.
- Go off script. If your reps are following a set script that allows for very little customization, it can be a challenge to determine whether customers’ concerns are really being heard. Instead of relying strictly on a script, teach your team the finer points of active listening. Mirror key words and tone, restate the most important problems or issues the customer has raised, and show empathy. By going off script and reacting to what the person is really saying, your team will be delivering an experience that customers really want.
Ultimately, one of the most important factors in good customer service is ensuring your customers feel heard. Minimize ambient noise, eliminate distractions, and train your team to project a present attitude at all times to deliver the best customer experience possible.