Recently Spearline CEO and Co-Founder Kevin Buckley took part in a survey for Call Center Helper alongside other businesses, including RingCentral and Talkdesk. Here they asked a panel of experts to investigate how contact centers can improve empathy in customer service.
Starting off, Alex Stenton-Hibbert at Business Systems advised readers to treat customers as individuals. First and foremost, they want to be understood when it comes to solving their issue.
To overcome this hurdle, stop asking a repeat caller to explain their problem repeatedly. Instead, a better practice is to employ digital customer service software that will route customers to the right advisors and provide a CRM database that’s filled to the brim with helpful customer information.
Advisors can then make personalized connections with repeat callers through access to their customer history and repeat calls. This will also help to solve customer issues.
Showing empathy becomes a more natural, intuitive process with a good connection between the advisor and customer.
Kevin Buckley, Spearline CEO, states that your agents must demonstrate they understand the customer’s issues and try everything to resolve them.
Arguing or shouting over the customer is the worst tactic when defusing a situation with an aggravated customer.
Coach your advisors to listen to the problem, demonstrate that they understand the issues, and let customers know they need support. The customer will appreciate that the advisor is listening and using the correct verbal cues.
Another great tip is to give advisors is: “Put yourself in the customer’s shoes.”
Sometimes shoehorns and foot jiggling may be required. But encourage the team to think about times where they have had to speak to someone on a call and how frustrated they might have become. This will make the process much easier.
RingCentral’s Amanda Henderson strongly advised agents to manage personal emotions. Respond quickly, not immediately. For example, when the advisor is answering a challenging call, email or message, encourage them to take some time, calm down and filter their words.
Sure, this can be difficult on the phone, so coach advisors to paraphrase the problem back to the customer, checking if they’ve understood correctly while giving the customer a chance to fill the gaps.
Then, offer empathy with lines such as: “I imagine you’re feeling frustrated because this could be an easier process than it has been.”
By following this process, advisors can engage in compassionate communication, which can be an effective customer service strategy.
Jennifer Waite at Playvox emphasized it’s important to cut out the jargon when communicating with your customers. Jargon plays a significant role in company culture. Yet sometimes, contact centers forget customers don’t understand certain terms advisors are highly accustomed to using.
Sticking to simple, understandable terms leads to more robust communication and greater trust between customer and advisor.
One way to combat the unnecessary or unwanted use of jargon is through process documentation, giving advisors prompts for specific or routine requests.
Finally, Jay Gupta at Talkdesk believes it’s always best for agents to discuss good and bad experiences. Empathy is about emotion. Reliving positive and negative emotions has a deep psychological impact.
Schedule a training session and ask advisors to share the worst customer experience they’ve ever had. Then, ask them to describe that experience in detail. Ask them how the experience made them feel and how it left them feeling about the company in question. Do they still do business with that company?
Contrast that by asking about the BEST experience they have ever had. Then, ask them again to describe the experience in detail and how it left them feeling about the company.
Ask the team how they want to make the call center customers feel.
Remember, as Maya Angelou once said: “People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
To read the other inputs from businesses such as Calabrio, Cirrus, and more, be sure to check out the article “26 Great Techniques for Showing Real Empathy in Customer Service“, now featured on Call Center Helper!
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