The Do’s and Don’ts of Answering Customer Service Calls

2023-02-17

Customer service calls are an essential part of any business. They require focus, dedicated attention, and a commitment to coming to a resolution that works for everyone. That may include taking the time to figure out how to balance the art of communication with figuring out what your customers need. Fortunately, a few tips can go a long way in helping make sure that your customer service team is answering the call correctly, each and every time. 

If your business is small, you might be fielding those calls yourself. That’s fine, too, because you can still build a strong reputation and give your customers the support they need. This will keep you in their good graces and keep the customers coming back for more. When you take customer service seriously, your customers notice and they respond in kind. 

Speaking of responding, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to answering customer service calls. 

Do: Be professional 

You should always answer the phone professionally and courteously. People are calling a business and they expect this much. Start with a standard greeting, ask how you can refer to the customer, and show them that you are ready to address their issues, no matter what those may be. Don’t be short with people or just pick up the phone and say “can I help you?” Be engaged. Be professional. Make that impression from the start. 

Do: Let the customer talk 

Too often, when we answer customer service calls, we’re tempted to jump in, start reading some script, or just try to ask too many questions instead of just listening. When you answer the phone, let the customer talk. Listen, and allow them to explain what they are experiencing. Then, respond. Ask questions if you need further information, but leave them plenty of room to answer. By and large, one of the most common complaints about customer service is not feeling heard. Don’t let that happen to your customers. 

Don’t: Use industry jargon 

When you’re talking to Jeff in IT, using industry lingo and specs is fine. When you’re answering customer service calls, however, that’s not going to work as well. People need you to use plain language as much as you can. It’s not about sounding “smart” or “better” than the competition. It’s about providing a better level of service for your customers and that starts by talking to them in plain language. There’s a time and a place for jargon, but you should keep it out of most of your customer service calls, or at least explain it whenever you do use it. 

Don’t: Answer with a monotonous tone 

You should always answer the phone with a smile. It sounds cheesy to some, but people can hear the smile in your voice and they are much more likely to respond kindly to you than someone who answers the phone with a monotone or disinterested voice. People can read subtleties, so make sure that you are friendly and enthusiastic, even if there is a problem that needs to be resolved—be enthusiastic about helping people find the solution. 

Don’t: Assume you know why people are calling

Maybe you get a lot of calls for a similar topic or issue. That can make it easy to jump the gun and think that you know what people need but go back to the point above. Let the customer talk. Let them tell you what they need. Don’t assume. Not only will that get it wrong, but it will also give your customers a bad taste because they don’t feel valued or heard. 

Do: Clarify everything if you’re unsure

Again, questions are your friend. Make sure that you know exactly why someone is calling, what you can do to assist them, and how to move forward with the experience for the best interests of everyone. It helps to ask as many questions as you can and make sure that everything is clearly stated and understood by everyone involved. Even if you have to ask something else or need them to repeat information, you can apologize and ask again. 

Other big don’ts

To make sure that you’re delivering the best customer service experience, knowing what to avoid tends to be more useful than trying to figure out exactly how to handle the process. After all, it will be different for every business. Instead, it’s a good idea to go over the things that you’ll want to add to the “don’t” list so that you can deliver the experience that your customers deserve:

  • Don’t forget to take advantage of the resources that you have
  • Don’t give incorrect or missing information
  • Don’t belittle or minimize customer issues
  • Don’t ignore or interrupt the customer when they are talking
  • Don’t create a knowledge silo

In addition to answering customer service calls, you should also have an online help section that includes a database of knowledge and resources, an FAQ section, and other tools to help people find the things that they need. 

Or, leave the calls to someone else entirely

You’ve got a lot on your agenda and as a business owner or leader, it’s important to know how to delegate tasks. When it comes to customer service, the best thing you can do is to outsource that to someone who can give it the attention that it deserves. Not that you’re not capable, but when you’ve got other things to do, let us handle it for you. 

The virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can act as your 24/7 answering service to handle all the leads and customers that need support. Plus, we will make sure to route important calls to your team as needed, and can even offer assistance with other aspects of your business, including things like lead intake, appointment scheduling, and outreach campaigns to get those leads in the first place. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

Tags:
24/7 Call Answering
Written by Samir Sampat
Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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