As well as being very exciting, the first few days and weeks in a new job are sometimes a little daunting as new employees and employers get used to each other and settle in to new routines. Call centre positions are no different when it comes to learning the ropes, except that being a customer service advisor means having close contact with the customer right from the start.
Most call centres offer training to new recruits to help them develop good customer service skills – something that’s particularly important at a time when members of the public have expressed concerns about call centres.
For example, in a survey undertaken in January this year, 10 per cent of 2,035 online consumers across Great Britain expressed their dissatisfaction with and their distrust of call centres. The survey sample was described as representative of the nation and the result was statistically significant, which means it can be taken to reflect the national picture.
Distrust means suspicion, so one of the first things people in customer service jobs need to get right is allaying doubts by being friendly, understanding and helpful. Supervisors and employers should ensure that call centre staff really listen to customers, refrain from interrupting them and deal with them sympathetically and efficiently.
Problem solving techniques
When people have a problem, they are often worried, anxious and sometimes aggressive. This means that having a completely rational conversation is sometimes difficult, and very emotional reactions always need careful handling.
When a caller has a query, the best approach is to explain what can be done, rather than dwelling on what cannot be done, as this is likely to cause additional upset.
A customer who is agitated about a long-running issue will respond better to concise, clear information from a sales and service advisor. Customers do not want a long, involved discussion during which they have to repeat the history of a problem they have rehearsed previously. Instead, they need prompt and direct information about what can be done to solve it.
Asking the right questions
There are a number of techniques advocated by employers to encourage call centre employees to ask the right questions to customers. Focusing on one issue at a time works particularly well, and solving the easiest problem first assures the customer that they are being listened to and makes them feel they are getting somewhere – both important factors for boosting confidence.
Enthusiasm, positive words and a professional approach can work wonders when dealing with queries and problems. It is for the call centre operator to make sure advisors are asking relevant questions that provide insight into an issue that will lead to a satisfactory resolution.
As both customer satisfaction increases and more members of the public are content about how their queries are dealt with, call centre jobs get easier and more satisfying. Naturally, this means that when employers come to recruiting for customer service jobs, the reputational gains made by providing excellent customer service make filling vacancies a more straightforward task.