“If email had been around before the telephone was invented, people would have said ‘Hey, forget email; with this new telephone invention I can actually TALK to people!”
We talk every day on the telephone and often take for granted the connection and responsiveness we can achieve with others, that is not always granted to us with email.
The first point of contact to most organisations is the telephone. When you answer the phone, it takes only 3 seconds to form an impression in the mind of your caller. Your caller can’t see you, so their perception will be based solely on what they hear. They’ll mirror their perception and so set the tone of the call. If you are tired, they could perceive you as bored, if you are busy and rushed they could perceive you as disinterested or too busy for them.
Customers are drawn to great experiences. It’s what differentiates your organisation over the others that sell the same product or service. Have you ever considered what your customers experience when they call your organisation? Give it a go yourself, or hire a specialist to make some mystery calls and report back to you.
Customer experience is the new economy, with over 80% of consumers saying they often or always pay more for a better experience. However, only 26% of companies have a well-developed strategy in place for improving the customer experience.
What experience are your customers receiving and how do you get your message across in a manner that will WOW! them?
There are so many ways to WOW! your customers, and here are three simple, yet very powerful strategies that apply to everybody no matter what your rank:
1. Show your interest
Ever had to ask a customer for their name again when they’d already told you? We all know from being on the receiving end how irritating this can be. It’s smart practice to keep a pen and paper by your phone to jot down the caller’s name and any other information they may give you before you are ready for it. This simple technique will show you are listening and interested in what they have to say. Having to ask the caller for information they have already given you, such as their name, will put them on the back foot, causing irritation and reactivity.
2. Use their name
A wise person once said “your name is the sweetest sound you’ll ever hear”. We can all relate to recent studies that show 68% of customers leave because they feel the organisation doesn’t care about them. As Leadership guru John C Maxwell said, “Customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Show you care by using your caller’s name to convey trust and build rapport. When you are in rapport with your customers, they will become more compliant and easier to manage in challenging situations. A couple of examples – If the call’s been transferred to you and you’ve been informed who is calling, use their name to build rapport by saying “Hello Bob, it’s Ava here, how may I help you today?” Bob will be relieved he doesn’t have to repeat his name and he’ll be much more responsive to you. And at the end of the call, show appreciation by saying “Thanks for your call Bob, is there anything else I can do for you?”
3. Use your telephone voice
We’ve all heard the saying “It’s not what you say it’s how you say it”. Remember that the person on the receiving end can’t see you, so your tone of voice makes up a large chunk of their experience. Their experience will extend beyond you to your entire organisation, so to help create the WOW! factor, always speak clearly with an upbeat tone and a smile. This simple technique will convey professionalism, friendliness and trust, and will even help diffuse a dissatisfied caller. Your caller can hear the smile in your voice, so keep a mirror in your drawer to conduct a regular reality check of yourself.
Consistent practice of these three simple, yet very powerful strategies will WOW! your customers and turn them into loyal advocates. They will reward you with repeat business and they’ll rave about you to their friends and colleagues, boosting your bottom line. In my experience, that’s the most cost effective form of marketing you can achieve.