In a recent training session with one of my clients, I was working with their entire team on what the various roles and tasks each of them are responsible for as part of their various job descriptions. Each of them came up with dozens of tasks from answering the phone, taking orders, building relationships, marketing their services, resolving problems, to doing the paperwork, etc. These are certainly critical aspects of any customer care position. If we boil the job down to its bare essentials, one definition of the job I’ve always preferred is to be a ‘Professional Communicator’.
Customer care providers spend almost their entire day having conversations with external and internal customers. They’re communicators, pure and simple. They need to get information and they need to disperse information. They need to ensure they understand, and are understood.
Effective communication involves a complex mix of active listening, understanding needs, connecting those needs to the company’s products and services, and relaying information in a way that the customer can understand and appreciate. Communication is a way to convey emotion – empathy and appreciation.
Here are 5 simple telephone communication tips for customer care professionals that may seem like common sense but are not always common practice:
- Pay attention; speak slowly and clearly; identify yourself.
- Take responsibility for the customer’s “OK-ness.”
- Keep it simple; be mindful of your tonality.
- Keep the customer “in the loop.”
- Offer a next step or solution.
Despite not having the title of “sales professional”, all customer facing employees must have a sales antenna to recognize opportunities for increasing revenue. Communication is a critical selling tool regardless of an employee’s job title.