The worst advice about handling calls!
Generally, people choose to read blogs which give you the best perspectives on a matter.
“The best ways to impress your boss” “ The best mobile phones in the market” “The best way to wear your pants” (I didn’t know there was any other way till I read that!).
Well, in this blog, we’re going to tell you the call management strategies that are the worst. These can ruin your organisation’s reputation with customers!
First off, the kind of calls we’re talking about here should be pretty obvious. Civilisation has come to expect of us, certain formalities that we should preserve when we are speaking with someone. And when these calls are from potential customers who could give your company millions, it becomes all the more important to preserve etiquettes.
However, the BPO culture has given birth to a format of its own, that’s followed when answering customer calls. The thing that most CEO’s fear, especially when they are the founder/ owner of the organization, is that the call centre agents they pay through their nose, will be aloof and cold to their customers, and lose them. So here are certain myths, that you need to be aware of, whether you’re training agents to handle customer calls or doing it yourself.
1. Follow the script
The quality that is looked for most in people today, is their ability to ‘think on their feet’. Most BPO’s train their agents to follow a particular script. What they don’t emphasize on enough, is the agent’s need to improvise and/or act sensibly, but spontaneously in situations which the script doesn’t cover.
Here is an example of an agent, who followed the script too religiously.
Customer: “I’m calling to cancel the debit card of my father, Mr.Pat. He passed away last Sunday, and the card is of no use to us.”
Agent: “Can you please put Mr. Pat on the line? I need to speak to him first.”
As you can see, this is an epic fail. The agent just made quite clear to the customer, that they don’t really listen, which brings us to our next point.
2. “I’m Sorry, But that’s Our Policy”
Listen. Really, intently and considerately listen. For most, the duty of the call centre agent is to be a shrink,and they hardly realise that. Most customers are prone to venting. What did you really think the ‘raison d’etre’ of the customer service industry was anyway?
They’re going to tell you their grievances, some of which might seem not to have anything to do with the product, but might have been caused by it. Telling the customer “It’s not in our policy” doesn’t solve anything. If you care about your job and your organisation, your main policy is to satisfy the customer.
“A customer calls their cell phone company and says, “My bill is outrageous! I didn’t realize that going over my data would cost me an extra $200! I can’t afford this!”
In this case, Tara Hunt recommends that the agent then walk through a customer’s bill and figure out if the mistake was made in earnest and then either undo the $200 OR adjust the bill a smaller amount (maybe cut it in half), but talk the customer into a more robust ongoing data plan (which can help the company make the money up in the long run). That’s two birds in a stone!
3. “The Supervisor Will Tell You the Same Thing”
Remember telling your mom, “My teacher doesn’t like him too!” when she questioned your relentless complains about your classmate?
That’s how it is when we deny a customer the right to speak to the management. It’s weak, and may make us look like we fear that the supervisor may say something that undermines/contradicts what we’ve just told the customer.
Perhaps, another reason a lot of agents avoid directing to the superior is their fear of being fired. Don’t worry. The odds are, that your supervisor has probably been in your position many years ago. Even if he is bad tempered, it is better to give the customer what he/she wants, instead of losing them by being stubborn.
4. “Reassure them, your company’s the best!”
Don’t waste your energy trying, because they won’t believe you.
This is psychology, at its simplest, operating. When you have a negative feeling about something, no amount of persuasion will ease your mind. So, keep giving them the baseless response, and they’ll probably get irritated and hang up. What’s more, they might even complain or sue you (If you’re in America. In India, they’ll probably call the Gods wrath on you, which is worse,trust me.)
5. Put on a fake accent
This is really the worst. Some call centres, where the call flow is majorly from local customers, believe that agents with an accent will elicit more trust from the customers or even ‘enamor’ them a little.
Nope. They only end up comprehending your agent poorly and may not buy your product at all, for fear of having to talked to ‘arrogant’ people, who don’t understand the native’s problems.
It is an established fact that many Indian BPO’s handle American calls, so asking your agents to put up a fake american accent might end up making you the butt of a joke in the other side of the world.
So it’s better to-
1. train your agents in multiple scenarios
2. give them some buffer time to learn
3. empathise with the customer
The writer of this article,Ankitha Ramakrishnan is currently a student of Psychology, has written online content for magazines and worked as a reporter for the print media.