Do you ever feel anticipation before a customer service call, not knowing how it’s going to turn out? It’s up to chance whether your next interaction will be a difficult conversation with a frustrated customer, or simply a very pleasant talk with a person that surprises you with their kindness.
No matter what comes next, being well-prepared for calls is the best way to ensure that you are equipped to work toward the optimal outcome. Today, call center agents take up to 50 calls a day, so having all the tools and know-how at your disposal will make that a much smoother ride.
What are the must-dos that will set you up for success? This is the third chapter of our series on becoming a true Customer Service Representative (CSR) expert.
Prepare your tools and environment
As a customer service rep, you must always be able to rely on your set-up. So, before you get started with your calls, make sure that your internet connection is fast and reliable, that all essential software is updated, and that all your hardware gadgets are well connected and running. Then, go ahead and carry out a sound quality check.
Getting your environment ready is just as important. Particularly when working from home, find a quiet space and try to prevent any potential disruptions. When it comes to your personal workstation, remember that it should be a place where you can feel comfortable but also focus on your work. Surround yourself with everything you might need – this includes always having a glass of water around, just in case you should end up with a dry throat during a call.
Special tip: Call preparation also relates to your mental and physical state. Show up rested, have a comfortable chair, and eat before taking calls. Chewing on the phone is a big no-no!
Knowledge is power
As a next step, organize your computer workspace. During a call, you might need to access information quickly. Having to click through multiple tabs of cat memes and Facebook conversations certainly won’t help. So, only open things that are relevant – such as the knowledge base. Instead of racking your brain to remember every single detail, you can simply leave a support center page open and refer to it when in doubt.
Having all the important information at hand will ultimately make you feel more confident and in control. Also, it will prevent the occasion of having to put a customer on hold or transferring them to a more experienced colleague – a process that’s a common cause of customer frustration.
Just like that, it’s useful to lean on note-taking software or a piece of paper (just make sure not to record sensitive information for privacy reasons). Taking notes to collect key information is fundamental, as 41% of customers stopped using a product or service after having to repeat themselves over and over on calls.
Remember the baseline rules
Every customer call is unique, and while the circumstances always change, there are some rules of thumb to always keep in mind. For example, never forget to make the best use of the tools you have at your disposal, such as using the mute button when you need to cough or sneeze.
If your role requires you always to be available to the customer, you don’t want to leave them waiting for too long. However, immediate answering could take you off guard: It’s recommended to answer after three rings to give enough time to prepare.
Before taking your next customer call, take a second to check your posture, breathe, and calm your mind. It’s a cliché as old as time – but even by trying to smile, you are subconsciously programming your mind to be more optimistic. This way, you can answer the phone in a more inviting manner.
To learn how to become a true CSR expert, check out our blog.