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Excited to be highlighted in with some great tips for your folks.

Nancy Friedman @TelephoneDoctor

Nancy Friedman is the President of The Telephone Doctor in St Louis, MO. a company that improves customer relations by helping businesses learn to communicate better with their consumers.

“Having trained dozens of call centers around the country and working with the ‘team’ – the Customer Service Representatives….”

The Quality Assurance and monitoring folks have shared their biggest challenges with me over the years. It’s not rocket science; it’s not brain surgery. It’s the plain old common-sense syndrome.

All managers have a list if key items needed from their agents to provide the very best customer service. And the list covers the gamut – from engaging the customers, to finding out if there’s anything else they can do to help the caller.

And while most if not all QA managers have a monitoring sheet where they are able to ‘rate’ the CSR when on a call… there are two skills that seem to rise to the top of that list at all call centers. And the ratings for the CSR/Agents aren’t real high in that area. Listening Skills.

This skill comes up in most call centers I’ve visited. Asking customers to repeat themselves, answering questions that weren’t asked, or not having the right answers – all because the agent/CSR isn’t a good listener. They’re possibly multitasking, not paying attention, and most important – probably didn’t take NOTES. SOLUTION – A simple pencil and paper. Write as people talk. Jot notes, not sentences. That’s the secret in listening. Or, If they choose to type notes on their Customer Relation Management folder on the computer, they should let the customer know they’re typing. We usually can hear the click-click, and even if we aren’t able to hear the keyboard taps, letting the customer know that they are taking notes to be sure they have everything ‘right’ is the ‘right’ thing to do. It’s a class act. It shows you care. You’re listening! Tone of Voice.

SOLUTION: Listening skills and Tone of Voice are a very, very close tie. Did you know it’s difficult to sound friendly and happy without a smile? And YES, we can hear a smile. Do not ever doubt that. Talking without a smile when you’re helping customers frustrates callers.

BIGGER SOLUTION: During the interview, record the applicant talking with you. It’s sad that some companies do not do this. They’d avoid a lot of problems.

A high-tech way to train the CSR better is a program called Service Skills, an online learning platform that helps small- and mid-sized businesses raise customer satisfaction levels, improve productivity, and reduce costly employee turnover.

The list goes on – and while solvable takes time, patience and good training is the key to superb call center performance.

Read the complete article here