We are taught politeness from an early age and although it costs very little to be mindful of, it holds a hefty price if neglected. Politeness is an underestimated virtue in the UK business sector, and plenty of the biggest and most well-known companies can fall victim to poor customer service.
To help you put your best foot forward over the phone, CALLCARE has written a guide on why politeness is at the forefront of great customer service, and exactly how businesses should be minding their Ps and Qs.
Why politeness is important
Communicating with clients is central to customer service and as such, customers need to feel that the adviser on the other end of the line can answer any queries and help with any issue.
A positive customer service experience reinforces the individual’s relationship with the business too. A happy customer is far likelier to pledge their loyalty to you. Even if a customer has had trouble with your business’ products, a calm and friendly tone of voice can be perfect for easing their concerns and taking steps to solve them.
Politeness over the phone could actually mean the difference between a positive customer experience, and one that leaves a stain on your business’ reputation. Remember that a satisfied customer is a repeat customer, and is more likely to tell friends and family about the great service they received.
The same can also be said for poor service. As the competition heats up in all sectors, you will want to ensure that your customer service is of the highest standard with all the correct training in place.
Top tips for a polite phone conversation
However, politeness over the phone is much more than an agreeable tone of voice. How should you address the customer? Will they be offended if you use their first name without permission? These are grey areas to a lot of businesses, so here are a few pointers to keep in mind.
Addressing callers on the phone
Contact centre representatives are responsible for the communication of callers’ requests, enquiries, demands and concerns to the company they represent. Among other things, call handlers must take down a caller’s name.
Now, this can be a problem. Callers are obliged to give representatives their details so it will be easier for them to get back in touch and help with their queries. Later in the conversation, the representative will refer to the caller by their name which may or may not court a negative response. Is the representative overstepping an invisible line? The caller didn’t necessarily give permission for their first name to be used within the conversation.
Generally, the average caller will not openly object to a customer service representative using the name they just stated themselves. However, there is a level of uncertainty.
Using a person’s first name can create a sense of over-familiarity, whereas addressing a caller as ‘Mr. Smith’ when he just said his name is David may result in an uncomfortable sense of formality.
It’s all a matter of preference. This can be remedied by simply asking callers how they would prefer to be addressed and then do as the caller asks. Don’t leave it to guess work.
Don’t interrupt the caller
It’s understandable that you might feel the need to interject; if you have the relevant information then you want to help the caller as quickly as possible. However, these are basic manners that are true not only in real life but also over the phone.
Give a caller your undivided attention, hearing out their query in full and prepare your response accordingly.
Place a caller on hold, but only when necessary
If a customer service representative needs to check on something, it’s common practice to put the caller on hold. If the representative leaves the phone on their desk then the caller may hear what’s going on in the background, which is somewhat unprofessional.
This can be frustrating for a caller, and will likely make them feel unvalued. If, for example, their query is of a sensitive or stressful nature a caller may react negatively to hearing laughter or casual conversation in the background.
Research conducted by CALLCARE discovered that for 51% of people, being placed on hold was their biggest frustration when dealing with a customer service line. Unfortunately, putting someone hold is often unavoidable, but the key is to proceed as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to keep upset to a minimum.
How to deal with complaints with customers
Dealing with complaints gracefully and with clear, expert guidance is the surest sign of customer service excellence. Take a look at our 5-step guide for more information.
The procedure to take with customer complaints is to apologise for the inconvenience and follow the standard measures to put it right. Exercise politeness at all times – this will make the caller far more likely to forgive the company and do business with them again.
Businesses can learn a lot from ensuring politeness is made a customer service standard throughout the organisation.
It not only boosts customer satisfaction, it is also significant business communication and can help improve how you do business with others.
Want to help ensure that your business’ customer service offering is polite, efficient and positive? CALLCARE can help! Discover more about our telephone answering services and much more by getting in touch!