Livesalesman - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
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While the words customer experience and customer service are often thrown around synonymously, they are vastly different. Customer service transpires through the buying process or when customers encounter a problem. But customer experience has a lot more about it than just customer service.
CX or customer experience transpires through the entire journey of a prospect of becoming a customer. It starts right from the moment a customer thinks of doing business with a brand, be it in person or through digital channels and continues at every point of interaction with the brand, as well as with the products on sale. However, controlling communications and guiding customer journeys throughout every single point of interaction can pose to be a challenge for brands. Here are a few lessons on customer experience from the top 3 global brands that most of you would know and have likely done business with.
Lessons on CX from Amazon
Amazon is ubiquitously one of the easiest companies to do business with across the globe! Whether it’s for its mad genius techno-prenuer CEO or for its single-minded focus towards achieving economies of scale, Amazon really delivers on CX at every level of interaction that solidifies confidence on the brand.
Amazon has always prioritized a “customer first” approach. Every product or program they launch is first appraised by a simple question – if this is going to be right for the customers! While this is the very definition of a customer-focused approach most brands often precede this simple question with another question – if this is right for our brand, which should ideally be the second question to think about. Most brands ask the second question first, or don’t ask the first question at all! And that’s where they go wrong.
Amazon’s mission is to be ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company’ and that is evident is their extremely friendly customer services policies. They work with numerous call centre outsourcing companies around the world, both for their English call centre and Multilingual call centre support needs. Despite going the route of customer service outsourcing solutions, their customer support is highly consistent. Rightly called ‘the Their outsourced call centre agents are rigorously trained to continuously raise the bar on customer experience by advocating and inventing for customers.
Knowing customers’ minds!
It is no mystery that the biggest reason for the success of Amazon or any other major e-com service is the fact that they could get right into the minds of their customers and deliver what they need the most – Convenience! With the ease of ordering necessities, tracking of orders, transparent pricing information where users can see the lowest prices available, and a robust self-service system, Jeff has created a giant that focuses relentlessly on customer convenience.
The tech that keeps it human!
Amazon is a technology company, but what’s unique about it is that it has kept its customer service human! Regardless of the fact that people get self-service, and there’s barely any contact with an Amazon employee, users always feel the great human service behind the tech hardware. And inevitably when the technology fails, there’s always a highly skilled customer support representative willing to help you out as quickly as possible.
Amazon remembers its customers
Despite the growing uproar with privacy and customer data, data tracking isn’t always bad. Amazon uses its sophisticated customer data and tracking system to deliver users a better experience. Using data to transform customer experience on every step of the interaction can help strengthen customers’ confidence in the brand in a non-intrusive yet personalized manner.
Lessons on CX from Apple
Yet another master of customer experience, Apple manages to offer great CX from the moment a buyer unboxes an Apple product. They make for great customer experience at every level of interaction. With their single-minded focus on the idea that is “brand strength”. Apple stand out from the million other tech product manufacturers and maintains a population of Apple-enthusiasts with three things it does perfectly – Engagement, Differentiation and Consistency.
Promote active communication with your clients, conducive conversations are the base for building a bond with the customer. Prompt and genuine responses, listening to feedback and then acting on the same is the mark of a true consumer-friendly brand, like Apple.
Differentiation – Why should they choose you?
The best way to achieve true differentiation and standout from the rest is by asking yourself this simple question – “Why should they buy from me instead of my competitors”? This will tell you about your brand’s value proposition. The value proposition shouldn’t be vague like “we offer great customer service”, but tangible and something that your customers would love.
Elevating customer service into a science
Apple stands shoulders above the competition when it comes to impeccable customer service. In one of the videos Steve Job asks ‘“Wouldn’t it be great if when you went to buy a computer, or after you bought a computer, if you had any questions, you could ask a genius?”, Jobs asks. “Well, that’s what we’ve got…” Apple’s customer service manifests this vision to date. Whether you go to their ubiquitous retail stores or call at their call centres, the phenomenal support they provide in alleviating the headache that entails a faulty tech product is in sharp contrast to the hassles and nightmares one experiences if your tech product isn’t Apple! Apple’s call centre agents are always helpful, and knowledgable
Replicating that level customer experience requires a serious commitment. If you feel that you don’t have bandwidth internally, you should consider taking advantage of customer support outsourcing solutions. There are plenty of Call centre outsourcing companies who are renowned for their award-winning customer service outsourcing solutions and boasts of some of the world’s biggest brands amongst their clients.
Lessons on CX from Aetna
A biggie in health insurance and related services, American brand Atena has made serious efforts and investment in ensuring that their customers have access to health care information in their preferred language.
A big proponent of speaking the language of your customers
Recognizing the need to “engage the customer through the lens of their culture and language,” and Atena partnered with Voiance’s organization for Phone Interpretation services that enables them to offer Multilingual call centre services. Aetna’s multilingual call centres are staffed by bilingual customer service agents that include Chinese call centre agents, and Spanish call centre agents, apart from English call centre agents. They offer Multilingual customer support in 150 other languages with the help of interpreters. These Multilingual call centre agents respond to customers’ questions about benefits etc. in their preferred language. Aetna received ICMI award for providing best Multilingual Call Centre Services for its customers.
Global by design and not by the scale
Any good Multilingual call centre worth it’s salt would know the importance of cultural factors that influence language heavily. Any good French customer will inevitably feel more comfortable talking to a native French call centre agent instead of getting lost in automated translation or trying to communicate and explain themselves in English. Aetna’s growth and demand are driven by their attention to not only language preferences among their customers but also the fact that there are cultural nuances to language. They did extensive research to learn about their ethnically and culturally diverse customers’ needs and tailor their products and services accordingly such as targeted disease prevention and management programs. They also have onboard bilingual Spanish nurses apart from their Spanish call centre, who consult and support customers on chronic conditions. Since they are native Spanish, they are better able to build a rapport with customers and help address the issue of racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Aetna also focuses on culturally relevant advertising in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
Aetna put in motion a number of other initiatives to provide Multilingual Customer Support including multilingual online tools on their website and bilingual assistance during open enrollment sessions.
The global economy exposes all businesses to a diverse range of customers from different parts of the world, so it is only fair we equip our customer support with the right multilingual customer support agents. However, finding and maintaining such staffs with all these language skills can be challenging. But there are several reputable multilingual outsourcing solutions available that can help you out at a fraction of the investment. With the help of multilingual customer support outsourcing solution, a business wouldn’t need their multilingual call centre agents to be present 24*7.
At LiveSalesman, a leading customer support outsourcing solutions provider, we offer multilingual call centre outsourcing solutions in over 30 European and Asian languages including French call centre, Spanish call Centre, German call centre, Portuguese call centre and Chinese call centre.
Publish Date: May 20, 2019 5:00 AM
No matter how wonderful your products or services, some of your customers are likely to face problems. That’s just an unavoidable truth of every business but you can surely find great ways to not lose customers. All you need is a little extra effort from your customer service department to win them back in absolutely no time.
Why Winning Customers Back Matters?
Let us just accept the fact you just cannot please everyone, no matter how much and hard you try! It is okay not to be the right business for some consumers. However, this does not mean that you can take customers and their grievances for granted. After all, customer satisfaction and customer retention are the two biggest guiding principles for success in any industry. You must always remember that you cannot attain sustainable growth if your organization commits the grave mistake of losing customers every now and then, irrespective of how many conversions, leads, sales, and profits you make.
The following tips will help you win back unhappy customers:
A big majority of support teams commit the mistake of jumping to solutions and conclusions as quickly as possible. However, it is not the most effective way of dealing with angry customers though this may be the quickest way. This is simply because rushing through the grievances of customers could mean customer support teams may not be able to provide the kind of empathy that is expected by the customers. It is for these and many reasons that more and more organizations are now realizing the significance of professional call centre outsourcing services that you can easily avail from reputed providers of customer service outsourcing solutions. However, it is important for you to choose only a successful provider of customer support outsourcing solutions so that you can always be assured of the complete peace of mind. By choosing these customer service outsourcing solutions, your business can win back upset customers in absolutely no time.
The biggest advantage of these professional call centre outsourcing services is that experienced professionals with a bent for proactive listening and trying to fully understand the point of view of the customers before they come up with a reasonable solution. In other words, the solutions offered by professional providers of customer service outsourcing solutions emphasize on helping meet the needs and expectations of customers and making them a priority instead of just offering the right answer.
Don’t think twice before apologizing for your mistakes
If a mistake has been committed by any member of your business’s customer support department or the business, you should simply accept it instead of being unnecessarily defensive and argumentative. You should not engage in passing the buck to other team members or departments. Remember, the customer is dealing with your business and the collective responsibility of your teams of customer support outsourcing solutions is all yours.
You must follow a proactive approach after a customer has registered a complaint or issue with your customer support teams. There is always a possibility that the issue of a customer may not be fully resolved during or after an interaction. Instead of waiting for them to reach out again, you should be proactive to call them and inquire if the problem has been completely resolved.
Customers Are People
During each and every interaction with customers, you have to remember that your customers are human beings and real people. This may sound obvious but does your customer service outsourcing team really see a complaint or negative review as a problem to be resolved instead of a real person to be helped?
The right mindset of your call centre outsourcing teams will help your business offer the most amazing buying experiences to your customers. There may be occasions when customers are overstating facts or not able to understand the solution you are offering or simply too rigid to even listen to you but this may be because they are having a bad day. A polite interaction to first calm them down can easily do the trick for you.
Understand your customer and their problems
It is important for your customer support teams or the customer support outsourcing solution providers acting on your behalf to understand the real problem, requirements, and expectations of the customers. For this, you just have to pay attention to the pitch and tone of the language or voice of the customers if they are upset with something. By listening or reading carefully, you can get the subtle hints of what they exactly want and how you can handle their grievances in the best possible ways. It is equally important that your offered solutions should be easy as well as convenient for the customers. You just cannot expect them to jump through hoops.
Take Care of the Issue immediately
For customers, you should be acting as soon as you can if you are really serious about helping them solve their problems. And, you should be doing it as that will assure your customers that they are your main priority. Remember, allowing problems to drag on and on can only make the matters worse for your business. Not only this, you should ensure that the same problem is not repeated because of some glitch at your end.
By following these easy tips, you can surely win back an upset customer.
At LiveSalesman, we have over 18 years of experience in offering customer support outsourcing solutions for customer support and customer retention. Talk to us today to see how we can help you get to bring back those lost customers and prevent the business loss.
Publish Date: April 29, 2019 5:00 AM
If there’s one industry where how you treat customers matters the most, it is the Hospitality sector. The service and experience you offer not only determines if the customer is going to stay loyal to your brand but also your brand reputation on social media and countless review sites.
Given the influx of guests from various different cultural and geographical backgrounds, the prerequisite for hotels is to offer a multilingual customer support solution.
But why exactly is this important? Why can’t you hotels just use a translator instead of a multilingual call centre for multilingual customer support? How does it make customers’ life easier? Let’s find out!
1. Guests prefer to be attended to in their native language
80% of customers want to be served in their own language. And 72% of customers are more likely to make a purchase when the information is available and presented to them in their native language. So, installing a multilingual call centre gives customers from different nationalities a comfort factor when engaging with your hotel. It’s easier for them to submit queries, ask questions, interact about available dates, enquire other hospitality services, etc. when the hotel provides multilingual customer support.
Moreover, when you have multilingual customer support in place, it becomes easier to understand different guest needs and expectations clearly.
2. Staying sensitive to various cultures
One thing about customer service in the hospitality sector is that you really need to make sure every interaction is warm and pleasant. And without the expertise of multilingual call centre agents, it becomes quite hard to factor in the various cultural sensitivities while engaging with customers. Machine translations don’t account for cultural sensitivities like multilingual call centre agents can.
Not respecting or acting in accordance with these different practices could easily result in the customer getting frustrated and developing a feeling that your hotel doesn’t care about his/her experience. Multilingual customer support helps hotels craft an environment where guests feel at home away from home.
3. Being available for the customer 24*7
If you’re offering customer support in just one language, instead of Multilingual call centre then chances are that your call centre is functioning only during specific hours in a day (based on the country where you are offering support). But, that’s something which puts customers off. In this day and age, customers want you to be available 24*7. There are no two ways about it.
Having a multilingual call centre ensures that you are able to support customers from different time zones, whenever they need to get in touch with you. Your existing call centre agents needn’t stay up and work long hours. Rather you’d have dedicated multilingual customer support agents from different countries working defined shifts.
4. Understanding the context behind guest issues is much easier
In comparison to other industries, the hospitality sector is all about the experience. When the customer is interacting with your support staff about an issue, every minute detail matters. But when you don’t have multilingual call centre agents, the chances of something getting lost in translation are quite high.
On the other hand, a multilingual customer support solution that offers well-trained multilingual call centre agents who are able to piece all the information together in the right way, understand expectations better and accordingly offer quick and effective solutions. Has the guest faced a similar issue before? Or is the first time? Was it resolved last time and is it a recurring issue? A multilingual customer support agent will be able to derive context around issues a lot faster!
5. Increase in the number of bookings
The biggest advantage of multilingual customer support in the hospitality space is more bookings. Many people start the search for a service in the hospitality sector with an online search. These potential customers can be from any part of the world and it is not necessary that they know English or are comfortable speaking in English. Before they make a reservation, they may have some questions and they may call hotel reservations to seek answers to them. How the call is answered determines the impression the potential guest forms towards a hotel and influences their decision to make a reservation with a hotel or not. Naturally, when they speak with someone who is able to communicate with them in their own language, they are able to explain their requirements a lot better and the experience is much better. A hotel whose customer service is entrusted a reputable multilingual call centre is likely to win more guests than its competitors. That’s because a multilingual centre caters to the needs of guests that speak English as their first and second language as well as non-English speakers.
And it’s not merely one-time bookings. When you start offering Multilingual customer support, guests start trusting you more and there’s a chance to build a strong, long-term relationship with your brand.
In fact, according to a 2014 study by ICMI, 58,4% of customers said support in their native language increased their loyalty to the brand.
Multilingual customer support also gets more guests to notice your brand. Based on the International Customer Management Institute’s research, 70% of the customers gave positive feedbacks to firms offering Multilingual Customer Services. Now, imagine what happens when your guests start sharing feedback on third-party booking sites!
There’s no dearth of competition in the hospitality space. A few bad customer reviews on third-party sites can have a sizeable negative impact on your brand image. Which is why it’s important to delight every customer, and consistently exceed changing customer expectations. Investing in a multilingual call centre solution presents a foolproof way to go about doing this - no matter who the customer is, where they are coming from, and what their specific expectations are, you can serve them in their own language and make them more comfortable.
Having said this, it is understandable that not all hotels, especially the small ones, can afford to hire multilingual customer support agents in-house. That is also because most of the time the volume of customer support interaction in each language is not enough to keep that language agent engaged at all times and that’s why the cost per call is prohibitively high. A cost-effective solution is to find an outsourced multilingual call centre. At LiveSalesman, we offer specialised multilingual call centre solutions for the hospitality sector including 24×7 multilingual reservations call centre and multilingual live chat help. Whether you are looking for a French Call Centre, German Call Centre, Arabic Call Centre, Chinese Call Centre, Spanish call Centre or Italian Call Centre, we offer support in over 30 European and Asian languages.
Publish Date: April 22, 2019 5:00 AM
The cost of missed calls is immense, whether you are a small local shop or a fortune 500 company with a global presence. A huge chunk of this bad customer service stems out of companies missing customer calls, not following up on time, and behaving in a negligent way towards the customer. When you don’t answer customers’ phone promptly, it obviously upsets them, undermining their confidence in your business and convincing them that you don’t value them as a customer.
As a business, you know that is not the case so why is it that you still end up missing calls? The most probable reason is that you don’t have sufficient customer service agents to answer calls. If the same set of customer service agents are managing other customer contact channels such as emails and chats, it could be that they get occupied or overwhelmed handling those and may miss calls. If you have adequate call centre agents given the total volume of interactions but are still missing calls, analyse to see if you experience a surge in volume during certain hours where you need extra customer service agents. The other issue could be that you are missing calls outside your business hours where you don’t have an in-house call centre agents or a call centre outsourcing company to accept those.
Why are missed calls a big deal?
Missing out on a few customer calls might not seem like the worst thing to happen to your business. But the actual repercussions are huge.
Given that around 80% of all business communications take place over the phone, this channel is highly critical to maintaining customer relationships. An assumption that they might email or contact you through social media is faulty. In fact, roughly 85% of people whose calls aren’t answered will not call back. Imagine the loss of business in dollar value if even 20% of them were potential customers ready to place an order. And here’s the worst part: More than 60% of the unhappy clients will take their business elsewhere. Therefore, owing to basic negligence and inefficiency at your call centre, you end up strengthening your competitors. The first impressions are always the best ones. And so, if your call centre agents aren’t picking up the calls, you not only piss the customer off but also tend to lose his/her business. The stats above should be a wake up for any business that feels it is not important to prioritise answering calls.
What more, the damage caused by missed calls is not only limited to the lost sale but also ruins your reputation as a brand. An upset customer is likely to tell the world about the bad customer experience, spread the word on social media and do what he can to show your business in a negative light. If a happy customer tells 10 of its friends about good customer experience, an unhappy is bound to tell 30! Are you willing to take that risk?
What is the solution then?
Is call forwarding a solution? Perhaps not. While it may work if it is a temporary arrangement but long term, no. You could be sleeping, out for a family dinner or driving. Do you really think you can make yourself readily available to pick up these calls and make sure that there are no background noises disrupting the professional image you want to put out for your customers?
What about voicemail? Customers call you because they are looking to speak to a live agent for a question or to share their grievances. In such a scenario a voicemail can seem cold and inhuman and can understandably make your customers upset.
So, what’s the fix? How do you ensure that your call centre doesn’t miss out on a single call, or a single customer? Let’s find out!
Engage a Call Centre Outsourcing Company
If you’re a small team that has constantly getting customer calls, it’s best to work with a call centre outsourcing company. A Customer Service outsourcing company is equipped with well-trained agents to deal with customers 24*7. You wouldn’t have to worry about missed calls anymore because you’ve got call centre outsourcing company taking care of this department from now on.
In addition to being available for the customer all the time, you end up easing the workload on your team members. This, in turn, makes them more productive and efficient at work.
However, while selecting a call centre outsourcing company, be careful that you choose a full suit customer service outsourcing company and not just an answering service. An answering service company can only take a message and pass them on to you which is not of any help when your customer is expecting at least a basic solution to his problem. An answering service is as good as an automated message or voicemail. What you need is a customer service outsourcing company. Customer service outsourcing company agents are like an extension of your own customer service team who don’t only assist your customers with their issues but also engage them in conversation to seek out valuable feedback on what they think about your brand and pass them on to you.
LiveSalesman is a leading call centre outsourcing company. Since our foundation in 2003, we have handled over 20 million customer interactions and executed more than 500 projects for different clients. We offer flexible customer service outsourcing solutions to suit different business needs. One of the biggest benefits with us that we can easily scale up and down with resources (be it inbound or outbound process) at a competitive price. Talk to us
today to see how we can help you prevent missed calls cost effectively.
Publish Date: April 8, 2019 5:00 AM
Machine translation is touted to be the next big thing. By automating language translation, it promises to help you save time, money, and effort involved in understanding and replying to native customers from different countries. So, if you’re a business running a multilingual call centre, you’d be crazy to not invest in it, right?
Before getting carried away by the hype, let’s take a step back and really deep dive into MT. Is it flawless? No. Does it provide accurate context-rich translations? No. MT comes with its own limitations; limitations that surprisingly overcomplicate multi-lingual customer support.
Let’s dig in!
1. It focuses too much on word-to-word translation
Machine Translation focuses primarily on word-to-word translations rather than analysing the essence and context behind a sentence, first and foremost, before translating it.
This problem mainly arises because foreign words and phrases have multiple meanings depending on the context and region where it is used. For instance, in Spanish-speaking countries, strawberry translates to fresa. When used in Mexico, however, fresa describes a young person that is acting preppy and is used in a negative way. Adding to this confusion is the fact that when a word has several meanings, MT usually picks up the most common and simplest choice, which might be starkly different from what the person wanted to convey.
MT’s word-to-word translation technique can lead to sentences sounding offensive, off-context, and at times, legally inaccurate. And in the business of multilingual customer support, this comes with severe consequences as customers expect you to get right to the bottom of a problem, and resolve it on time. One mistranslated sentence would mean that your team’s solution in fixing an issue wouldn’t be aligned with what the customer wants.
2. Translating between completely different languages isn’t easy
You wouldn’t have to fret much if you’re using MT to translate between two similar languages, say Spanish and Italian. On the other hand, if you’re translating between two languages that are completely different in terms of structure, grammar rules, etc. (say, between English and Japanese), MT isn’t going to provide accurate results.
Translating between English and Japanese is an ordeal. That is because Japanese is a context-heavy language. There is a lot of information that may otherwise be explicitly expressed in other languages that would be omitted in Japanese.
Another factor is that Japanese nouns don’t distinguish between singular and plural. Another language that is tough to translate is Arabic, owing to its vast vocabulary, and the presence of multiple synonyms of words in Arabic. And since it is written from right to left, this adds more complexity to the equation. If your business has a presence in different countries where the language rules vary starkly, opting for a Multilingual Call Centre with well-trained agents is the best way to handle customer requests.
3. Lack of Human Touch and Personalization
” 75% of customers will want to shop with businesses that offer personalized experiences by 2020. ” - Salesforce
The need to humanized and personalized multilingual customer support is only increasing. While the use of technology has become omnipresent, humans still form the heart of a brand. Customers want to interact with other people on the other side. With MT, you easily can make out if the response was translated, written, and translated back to the original language by a human or a bot. There’s warmth, empathy and care when humans converse as opposed to vanilla facts that machine translations produce. Humans hold the key, always!
Since MT can’t understand cultural contexts, it’s hard to personalize foreign language interactions.
Investing in a multilingual call centre team is the way to go about it. Specially trained service reps ensure that every customer conversation is personalized, humanized,
4. Technology that leads to more manual work
Here’s the irony in Machine Translation. Its purpose is to automate language translation and completely eschew manual translators from the process. However, due to the inaccuracies and mistranslations, you really need humans to work on these translations.
MT’s got one job. To translate. It can’t identify a typo or an error that happened during translation. Which means, despite being heavily dependent on technology, you still need to rely on humans, still pay their wages, and still invest time and effort to manage these teams that review translations.
We’re not saying that technology is a bane altogether. But in a function as crucial as multilingual customer support, leaving it all to a machine is quite careless. A multilingual call centre with specialized agents can not only get the job done for you, but do it in an effective, personalized, and truly seamless manner.
At LiveSalesman, we offer Multilingual call centre support in over 30 European and Asian languages. Our Multilingual customer support includes Spanish Call Centre Services, French Call Centre Services, Chinese Call centre services, Arabic Call Centre services and Italian Call Centre services amongst many others.
Publish Date: March 18, 2019 5:00 AM
As one of the most renowned call centre outsourcing companies, managing outsourced customer service for 100s of clients, we understand the pressure customer service agents are under to satisfy the customer in every call. This, more often than not, involves providing an instant result or alleviating the customer’s apprehensions. There are times when this task becomes impossible and the caller utters the most dreaded words in a call centre - ‘let me speak to your manager”.
This could occur in two scenarios. In the first instance, the customer could make the request as soon as the call is connected. In the second, the conversation descends to a juncture where the customer feels that they only to resolve an issue is to speak to a superior in the call centre outsourcing companies. Whether the request was made escalating request was made immediately or subsequently, it lands the call centre agent in a dilemma on what course to take - comply with customer’s request immediately and disrupt the manager, which also puts a question mark on his ability to handle complex scenarios or try to change customer’s mind which can also backfire and may further infuriate the customer. On the other hand, with the right skills and judgement, the call centre agent can handle the situation at his end.
Most of the call centre outsourcing companies hold extensive training, mock sessions and case studies to train their call centre agents on how to handle such scenarios. This post explores the ways to do so.
Encourage the customer to open up and talk to you
A call center agent cannot solve a problem if the customer refuses to explain it. He simply demands to speak to the manager. This implies that whatever led to the demand was a pre-existing condition before the phone conversation started in the first place. The task is to decipher the preceding conditions leading to the present call. For esclation handling, call centre outsourcing companies should first and formost train their call center agents on how to get the customer to open up? To begin with, call center agent should acknowldge that the caller is upset and politely ask somethig like ‘Sir, I understand that you are upset and I am guessing it is because somewhere we failed to meet your expecations…’ Since you are already admitting the responsibility and showed that you are willing to understand his problem, chances are that he will gradualy start explaining you the issue.
Decide what to do next
If the call centre agent successfully pulled off the step above, the customer would most likely tell him his grouse with the company or its product. The next step for the call centre agent would be to determine if the problem is one he can solve on your own or it indeed required a manager intervention. This is specially crucial if you outsource customer support to call centre outsourcing companies because this decision really depends on the level of authority that outsourced customer service agents have.
If the call centre agent can solve the problem without recourse to the manager, instead of telling the customer that you will be handling it, ask if he will allow you to resolve the issue for him. Hopefully, given the rapport you have built, the chances are that he would reply in affirmative but if he does not, it may be a good idea to pass on to the manger, that all call centre outsourcing companies usually have one board, without further insistence.
Refer To a Manager
As much as you want to solve every problem, some customers are simply adamant and wouldn’t listen to your advice. For these kinds, the best option is to refer them to the manager the previously requested for. However, it’s best to offer to have the manager call them back. This gives the manager adequate time to understand the customer’s needs before taking the call and gives some time to the customer to cool down a little. Just make sure that you do keep your promise and call back is made. All call centre outsourcing companies managing outsourced customer service should always have a manager on duty for such escalation calls.
Create a Team of Expert
A major issue in call centre outsourcing companies is that managers are spending a major chunk of their time handling escalations calls rather than improving performance. While this advice is directed towards call centre outsourcing companies rather than to individual agents, it is an effective way of dealing with escalation. It would be best for the call centre outsourcing companies to have a dedicated team of experts for dealing with call escalation. These individuals should work directly with the managers to ensure that the right answers are given to customers
The Delayed Request and it’s Prevention
This is where the demand for the manager isn’t immediate. This can be particularly demoralizing for reps of call centre outsourcing companies because it indicates that the customer has lost confidence in the prospect of the call. There are several reasons why the customer could make the request in this instance. Some of the prominent reasons are as follows:
- The customer evaluates the conversation so far and finds that no progress has been made.
- The rep is perceived as lacking in the prerequisite knowledge to solve the customers’ problem.
- The customer thinks the customer care agent doesn’t understand his problem.
- The rep uses words that give the impression that he cannot solve the customer’s problems.
The appropriate solution when this occurs is to immediately transfer the call to an adequate manager. But, it would be important to understand how to avoid this situation.
The following are ways to do so:
Understand Customer Emotions
Agents of call centre outsourcing companies need to understand how to pick up cues from the customer’s tone. Before the customer demands to speak with a superior, there must have been subtle cues in the conversation that helps the rep discover where the customer is at. If the tone of the customer shows frustration, you should immediately empathize with him and quickly give positive assurances.
Knowledge is essential
This tip is more important for agents of call centre outsourcing companies. Because such a rep doesn’t work at the company, he needs to go the extra mile to understand the business and key components of the company. Consequently, when he speaks to the customer, the knowledge gap isn’t evident. There should also be constant knowledge refresher about processes in the company.
Have the Next Step in Mind
It’s instructive to have a checklist at the back of your mind when speaking to a customer. The conversation with the customer should progress according to that checklist. Hence, when you fail to make progress, you can quickly guide the customer to the intended end. This checklist should be flexible depending on the purpose of the call and the customer’s needs. Call centre outsourcing companies should hold mock calls during training sessions so that agents can prepare themselves.
At LiveSalesman, we understand how to manage conversations. Our representatives understand the psychology of dealing with all kinds of customer and would ensure that the escalation rate is reduced to the barest minimum. If you are looking to outsource customer support, get in touch with us.
Publish Date: March 10, 2019 5:00 AM
Being a pioneer of technology and innovation, Japan surely knows a lot about doing things right. That includes customer service. But what surprises people most is how customer service adheres to a deeply rooted value system, in an otherwise tech-savvy and futuristic country.
Understanding and implementing the fundamental principles of this value system is key for Japanese call centers to drive customer retention and loyalty.
Let’s dive into the Japanese way of serving customers.
Wholehearted care for everyone
The word ‘Omotenashi‘ is commonplace in Japan. While it has several different definitions, Omotenashi indicates excellent hospitality – looking after a guest with wholehearted care and commitment.
Customer service in Japan is based on the spirit of Omotenashi and hence needs to be inculcated in Japanese call center. It’s not just about providing great service, but doing it earnestly and passionately. Japanese customer service agents should take every call with equal heart and haly greeting and should assist each and every customer sincerely and enthusiastically. In your Japanese call center, customers should be made to feel that you deserve their business.
Your reputation is everything
Japanese don’t have a risk appetite. In Japan, one of the ways to standout is by showing that you are trustworthy. Customers here love doing business when they can trust your brand and have complete faith in your ability to solve their problems. Japanese customer service agents working in Japanese call centers, should, therefore, work on racking up goodwill and positive word-of-mouth marketing to positively influence customer retention and acquisition. One way to prove to customers that they are not taking any risk by choosing you over others is to show them how happy other customers are with your brand. Japanese customer service agents should highlight and emphasize on any ratings, accreditation or anything else your brand has to its credit to vindicate that you are a trustworthy brand with excellent track record.
High quality service, delivered consistently
In line with the spirit of Omotenashi, Japanese customers expect you to deliver high quality service with a shrewd eye for detail, consistently. This not only applies to the quality of your products or services but everything you including the quality of interactions that your Japanese customers agents have with them. Japanese call center should have strict quality measures to check all written and verbal communication and train their agents to check and double check everything before sending anything to Japanese customers in order to avoid any mistake or quality issues. Everything that reaches the customer should be perfectly presented, else they would strongly judge you based on the errors you make. Quality also extends to how your Japanese call center agents respond and action the feedback or inputs shared by the Japanese customers. If they feel that you are not receptive to feedback or have not speedily taken actions to fix the problem they pointed out, there are very good chances that they will not continue giving you any further business. Playing the blame game and not taking ownership of your shortcomings is not tolerated in Japanese culture and can’t be done in your Japanese call center.
Always acknowledge and never say NO!
The holy grail of all Japanese customer service rules that must be implemented in your Japanese call center: always acknowledge and make sure to reply to every phone call, social media message, email, or even fax as soon as possible, preferably within the same day.
While certain queries can be resolved quickly, others might take longer than expected. In such cases, it’s recommended that Japanese customer service agents communicate clearly to the customer about the delay. Keeping your customers in loop is seen as a sign of respect in the country.
For your not-to-list, never say an outright ‘No’ to customers. It is considered highly disrespectful to say that. No matter how eccentric or complex the customer request is, if your agents are going to let the customer know that this can’t be done, articulate it in a nicer and more positive way, not in a curt and unhelpful manner.
You need to be readily accessible at all times
If you cater to Japanese customers, 24×7 Japanese call center is highly recommended. If there is a problem or if they have a question, Japanese customers expect to be able to get in touch with you anytime they need, even it is an unusual hour. It is not unusual in Japan to print personal mobile numbers and home phone numbers on their business cards. While you may not have to go that far, but you need to able to offer round the clock Japanese customer service. If that is not possible, at least make sure that there is an emergency contact procedure in place in your Japanese call center. In your Japanese call center, instead of relying on one communication channel, have multiple customer service channels. This ensures that even if one channel faces an outage or is busy, customers can still get in touch with your Japanese customer service agents and get solutions for their time-sensitive queries.
Being there for the customer round the clock, minimal waiting time, and putting the customer in touch with the right agent in as little time as possible are some ways in which you can make their experience seamless and win over hearts in your Japanese call center.
Deadlines are considered godly
In a country that lays emphasis on consistent and high-quality service, missing out on deadlines is a guaranteed way to fail, something you need to continuously harp on in your Japanese call center. If your Japanese customer service agent provides customers with a deadline related to a particular query, they need to deliver on time. Not one or two days later. No excuses.
While people in many other countries are a bit tolerant towards deadlines, Japanese customers are absolutely strict about it. Not meeting deadlines shows that you do not value your customer’s time.
Show appreciation, it’s a powerful customer service tool
Expressing sincere and heartfelt gratitude towards the customer goes a long a way with Japanese customers. Thank you is a phrase that should be liberally used in your Japanese call center. Train your Japanese customer service agents to say thank you freely while communicating with customers. Japanese customers notice and appreciate when they receive a ‘thank you’ and reciprocate with loyalty, good reputation, word-of mouth publicity and repeat business. However, don’t fake ‘thank you’ just to get rewarded, you need to sound as you mean it. In Japan, culture is to service for the sake of giving, not with the expectation of receiving anything in return, essence of Japanese culture that you should inculcate in your Japanese customer service agents.
Customer service that is consistently excellent but little room for customization
What’s quite surprising about Japan’s customer service culture is not the fact that it is excellent, but how it stays consistently excellent despite operating under strict rules. In case you didn’t know, the Japanese are firm followers of rules in all regards and this is a rule you need to follow in your Japanese call center. Since following rules is the thing, customization is thrown out the window. Expecting and accommodating exceptions and customization is not what Japanese know how to handle. What this means for your Japanese call centre? On one hand your Japanese customer service agents need not think about providing bespoke service based on individual needs but at the same time, they should not expect Japanese customers to do it either.
Similarly, for those who are not very familiar with Japanese language, Japanese has various levels of politeness and complex rules that decide which speech pattern is appropriate to be used in which scenario and the person you are talking with, something that should be an integral part of training in your Japanese call center, specially if your Japanese customer service agents are not native.
Over the years, we have delivered 24×7 Japanese Call Centre Services delivered by native Japanese Customer Service agents for many of our clients around the world and understand the nuances of it. We have over 18 years of experience in delivering Multilingual Call Centre services and Multilingual Customer Support. Apart from Japanese, we offer Chinese Call Center Services, Spanish call center services, French Call Centre Services and Italian Call Center Services amongst 30 other European and Asian languages.
Publish Date: March 4, 2019 5:00 AM
Multilingual Customer Support- in-house, freelance, or outsourced. Things to consider before you choose your option.
If your business is expanding globally, by now you would realized that the need for Multilingual customer support in indisputable. Many companies, however, tend to invest in an in-house customer support department or work with freelance customer support executives. Neither strategy is utterly flawed. But, at the same time, you can’t deliver great customer support by adapting either of them.
Let’s find out why!
When You Set Up An In-House Customer Support Function
Establish your in-house multilingual call center, just like any other function, in-house is an added cost and effort. And a pretty sizeable one too. You need to assess how many multilingual customer support agents you need and for what all languages. If you target different countries and wish to provide Multilingual customer support in all those languages, you’ll have to bring in dedicated native speaking agents for each language to run multilingual customer support for each of those countries. If you don’t have sufficient customer contact volume in each of those languages, will you have sufficient work to keep your Multilingual Customer support agents busy? If not, it can be prohibitively expensive when you calculate the cost per contact you will incur to run your in-house Multilingual call center. Also, how do you manage and review their work? For instance, if you hire a German customer support agent, you’ll need a German supervisor to guide him/her. Also, how do you allocate work to these agents? How do you cover for their absence – scheduled or unscheduled? Hire extra back ups means additional cost.
Having in-house Multilingual call center means that each time you expand your business to a new geography, you will have to spend time hiring, training and managing your multilingual customer support agents for that country.
To summarise , hiring in-house multilingual customer support agents is like running your own in-house multilingual call center. Soon, you will realize that you are spending more time, energy and resources supervising your in-house multilingual call center that you should ideally be focusing on developing your business and acquiring new customers in that new country you have made your entry in.
When You Work With Freelance Multilingual Customer Support Executives
At first glance, outsourcing multilingual customer support to freelancers sounds tempting. It seems like a quick fix that costs a fraction of doing it in-house and cheaper than most of the outsourced multilingual call centers. With a few clicks, you can find many freelance native multilingual agents willing to render their services including customer support. But, working with freelancers has its own downsides.
First and foremost there is the trouble of picking the right freelancers. How do you decide which freelance customer support executive to work with? How do you compare them judiciously? Can you always trust the reviews? Reviews may not always be relevant to customer service skills of the freelancer. You’ll have to spend time assessing costs, going through reviews, and maybe even conducting background checks before getting started. That’s a lot of time, which should rather be invested in improving your products and services.
Multilingual freelancers need to be managed too, just like in-house agents and given that you need to manage them remotely, it makes the task more complicated. Making sure they stick to the schedule and are available as agreed upon, setting up training processes and programs for them before they can even start working, monitoring that they are promptly and accurately answering your customers’ questions, are following your instructions, and style is a full-time job in itself.
With freelance support agents working out of different countries, there’s always the issue of time zone differences, making coordination extremely hard. And what happens if the freelance agent decides to quit abruptly or goes on unplanned leave? You will find yourself frantically looking for a replacement to prepare for the job all over again!
While freelancers may be able to answer your basic customer queries, getting them to understand what is your brand culture is, who your customer are, what their core problems are, whether it has occurred before, and how to effectively tackle them is challenging and to quite an extent futile because multilingual freelancers are not long term.
Hiring multilingual freelancers is similar to running your own multilingual call center, just outside your premises. The perceived cost advantage seriously pales in front of all the trouble you will need take on to make something like this work. The drawbacks of using freelance support agents are quite glaring. Keep in mind that the cost of poor customer service is immeasurable, especially given how well-connected modern-day customers are.
You should channelize your energy and resources in growing your business and let a professional outsourced Multilingual call center handle your multilingual customer support.
The Need For A Comprehensive Multi-lingual Call Centre Solution
An experienced outsourced multilingual call center is your answer. There’s often skepticism around how outsourced multilingual call centers are costlier than, for instance, working with freelancers. However, the comparison itself is flawed. What a Multilingual call center offers is a fully managed solution that takes the entire burden of running multiple customer support off your shoulder, something you can’t compare with hiring freelancers or an in-house solution.
Most Multilingual call centers offer customer support solution in multiple languages. For instance, here at LiveSalesman, we offer native Multilingual customer support in most European and Asian languages including Spanish Call Center Support, French Call Center Support, German Call Center Support and Italian Call Center Support. Thus, you get the advantage of one stop solution for customer support in multiple languages.
Another huge advantage is that when you work with a leading multilingual call center, the agents have a strong foundation in delivering customer support for different brands and have the right skill set for the job, thereby making it easier for you to get them up to speed.
Above all, when you deal with a professional multilingual call center, they are accountable to deliver the promised results and are bound by the SLA you sign with them. They have a full-fledged recruitment, training and operations team dedicated for different functions of running a seamless customer support operation. Most of the Multilingual Call Centers work round the clock so you get the benefit of 24×7 Multilingual customer support. You don’t need to worry about arranging back ups or replacements when agents go on leave or quit.
Oftentimes, an outsourced multilingual call center is a much cheaper option than running multilingual customer support in-house. The list of benefits is endless.
Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you deliver high quality multilingual customer service cost effectively.
Publish Date: February 25, 2019 5:00 AM
For global businesses today, Germany represents an important market. But keeping German customers delighted isn’t as easy as it seems. They have their own way of doing things and therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach to customer service won’t work.
German call centers need to adapt to the changing needs and expectations of customers in the region. With this in mind, we reviewed our interactions with German customers and spoke to our German Customer support team to gather some insights on brands can customize their customer experience and project their brand as a local familiar brand to their German customers.
So, let’s take a look at the latest customer service trends – including the subsequent takeaways - which multi-national companies targeting Germany should be cognizant of.
Customer dissatisfaction is commonplace
Germans are regulars in communicating with brands. Based on a survey, about 6 in 8, or 74% of them, do so at least monthly. What’s worrying though is that about half of those who responded to the survey weren’t satisfied with their experience. Biggest reason quotes by the German Customers for their disappointment was the time it takes companies to respond.
Takeaway: To think that German customers don’t contact brands enough is a falsified notion. They do and expect instant access to support or information when they approach customer service. When setting up German Call Centers, brands need to ensure that they invest in multiple modes of communication to make the support timelier, more mobile and more secure. Similarly, your German Call Center agents should be thoroughly trained on your product and services so that they are able to deliver fast and accurate responses to your German customers. There’s so much potential to turn dissatisfied customers into delighted ones, drive word-of-mouth marketing, and improve customer retention, all by instilling a culture of service excellence and building a robust German customer support team.
The Chatbot is yet to make waves
Based on a recent study of over 1,500 online shoppers, more than 50% surveyed turned down chatbots as a mode of communication with the brand. Common reasons include Chat-bots perceived as too impersonal, inaccurate, complicated and not adding any value that makes them worthwhile.
Takeaway: Businesses don’t have to reinvent the wheel and invest heavily on new technology. At least not yet. Germans take their communications with a brand a bit more seriously, they are a lot more formal in the way they communicate and hence do not exactly fancy an automated channel like chatbots which contradicts this cultural norm.
Phone, Email and Chat are still relevant channels
Phone, chat and e-mail are the most used customer service channels. Based on a representative study conducted by a Germany electricity provider, 80% of the surveyed people prefer phone while 60% prefer
e-mail for customer service.
Takeaway: German customers prefer talking to a real person on the other side than being overwhelmed by technology. For Germans, what matters the most when it comes to support is regular availability, prompt responses to questions as well as integrity and reliability irrespective of the channels used. Hence, focusing and investing in fancier self help tools and technology may be premature, instead brands should concentrate on how they can make their German call center agents more efficient on the good old phone, email and chat.
Knowing the local language is critical
Over 70% of Germans want German-speaking customer service reps and German Text-To-Speech (TTS) menus. They have shown clear preference for access to a local and toll free phone number to contact customer support.
Takeaway: To delight your German customers, localizing the customer experience you offer is your best bet. Brands cannot make do with German call center agents who do not understand the local language and the nuances of local culture. To deliver great service to German customers, the pre-requisite is to have a team of German customer service support agents who can handle calls, emails, and online chat communications seamlessly.
Millennial craze for Mobile Apps
Based on a survey in Germany, Millennials were 58% more likely to use mobile apps when compared to other age groups.
Takeaway: If the target audience of your business is millennials, your in-app customer service has to be spot on and flawless. Given that millennials want fast yet effective solutions, German customer support service agents need to be well-equipped to handle multiple in-app chat interactions, understand the context behind these conversations and offer personalized solutions.
Email as a standalone channel can be tricky
While 92% of Germans mostly use email to communicate with companies, 80% of them don’t open their email right away.
Takeaway: Never depend on Email as a standalone customer support channel. Whilst you might have sent a quick reply e-mail to a customer query, chances are that they haven’t opened it yet. German call centers agents, therefore, ought to adopt a multi-channel approach. For instance, when replying on email, you can make sure to follow up on SMS as well.
SMS soars in popularity
Germans are twice as likely as open an SMS immediately in comparison to an Email.
Takeaway: We touched upon the need to use SMS as a backup channel before. But in many cases, it would be practical for companies to leverage it as the primary customer communication channel. This would ensure that quick responses by your German call center agents not only reach customers.
At LiveSalesman, we offer high quality 24×7 German Call Center Solutions delivered by native German Customer Service executives. All our German call center agents are bilingual and are fluent in both German and English. We provide you with a local German phone number and flexible plans so that you can scale up and down according to your changing business needs. We offer Multilingual Call Center Solutions in over 30 languages including Portuguese Call Center Solutions, Spanish Call Center Solutions, Russian Call Center Solutions, and French Call Center Solutions to name a few.
Publish Date: February 17, 2019 5:00 AM
Arguably the biggest consumer market in the world, China is a goldmine for any consumer-oriented business. With a population of over a billion and a somewhat balanced age demographic, your products and services have found a home. As rosy as the above picture might seem, if the market is not properly exploited, your business might not benefit from its staggering potentials. A large part of ensuring that isn’t the case is to understand the Chinese customer and how to win their trust.
In comparison with western cultures, the Chinese are different in every sense of the word. The social structure and general cultural differences set China apart from western countries. As a Chinese customer service representative, arming yourself with Chinese cultural etiquette and social norms can make all the difference between retaining and losing customers. This post explores the things you need to keep in mind while establishing your Chinese Call Centre.
There is no way around the Language
Considered by many to be a difficult language to master, learning mandarin can be discouraging. However, this language is spoken by more than 70% of the Chinese population. Business suddenly becomes difficult when you can’t speak the language; hence offering call centre service in Chinese is not a choice but is an indispensable need.
A Chinese Call Center representative must first cross the language Rubicon. Failure to do so automatically translates to lack of entry. There is also a psychological reason to learn the language. The customer is immediately disposed to speaking with you if he finds that your Chinese Call Centre agents are fluent in Mandarin or Cantonese.
Get Familiar with the social hierarchy
Social hierarchies are heightened in China. Everyone identifies with a specific social class and wants to be accorded the corresponding respect. To do otherwise might birth a hostile conversation for the Chinese call center agent.
Laying a proper foundation for your job as a Chinese customer service agent requires that you take time to understand the social hierarchical structures in China. This should be done before picking up the phone.
From your initial research, you would find that Chinese men like to be addressed by their titles first followed by their surname. This is however not a rule cut in stone as you can refer to a customer as “Mr” or “Mrs” If you don’t know the appropriate title.
Get Into Small Talk
In China, it would be considered rude to dive straight into the core of the conversation. Doing so creates an adversarial impression with the customer. To douse the tension, Chinese Call Centre agents should begin the conversation with pleasantries such as “how are you” or “where have you been”. This would invariably set the tone for a healthy conversation.
However, the Chinese call center representative has to be careful about topics to discuss. Breaking the ice with subjects such as the political climate might not give such a soft landing. In the alternative, talk about casual topics such as the weather, food and the scenery.
Be diplomatic with Your Responses
This rule might not come in handy when dishing out good news to the customer but it is important when the news is bad. The Chinese find it impolite to give negative responses in a direct manner. The better approach is to be democratic with the news.
Delivering world-class Call Centre Service in Chinese dictates that you say “no” as little as possible. Instead, provide an alternative solution to the customer’s problem.
Do Your Research
The Chinese are extremely detailed in the way and manner they handle their affairs. Before speaking to a Chinese customer, he probably has a decent idea about the business you’re trying to sell. Hence, he would have a lot of questions to ask.
As a Chinese Call Center agent, you must be equally prepared to answer the customer’s question. Failure to do sure gives the impression that you shouldn’t be taken seriously. Similarly, you should be punctual for every call.
Have an Elevated Conversation Approach
In western cultures, trust is easy until evidence dictates otherwise. Thus, as soon as the customer care representative picks up the phone, he immediately finds receptive ears. The Chinese are not so easy to persuade. They are generally skeptical of a stranger’s intentions so it might be an uphill to persuade the customer.
To win the customer’s trust, the Chinese customer service agent must slowly build up trust. The conversation should commence with pleasantries. Then, the customer should be provided with genuine fact and details to build credibility before trying to seal the deal.
This is especially important when trying to sell a product to the customer.
Remember the Holidays
While holidays in a western country can last between 1 to 3 days, Chinese holidays run for longer. They are elaborately planned and are considered serious business. Consequently, it would be considered rude to discuss product and services during these occasions, something Chinese Customer Service agents should always keep in mind.
Expect Lengthy Conversations
From what has been said so far, you might have guessed that quick fixes are unlikely in rendering call center services in China. Don’t be in a hurry to end the conversation. Take your time to warm up to the customer. Where a hint of impatience is perceived it might be considered rude.
Additionally, knowing the holidays helps you kick start the conversation on a playful note.
At LiveSalesman, we have been delivering Chinese Call Centre services in both Mandarin and Cantonese for over 8 years. Given our extensive experience in interacting with Chinese Customers, we are rightly positioned to give your business the right boost through impeccable Chinese customer service delivery. All our Chinese Customer Service agents are native Chinese. If you are looking to outsource your Chinese Call Centre and Customer Support, talk to us today.
Apart from Chinese, our Multilingual Call Centre Services include Arabic Call Centre Support, Japanese Call Centre Support and Korean Call Centre support amongst 30 other European and Asian languages.
Publish Date: February 11, 2019 5:00 AM
Customers come in several forms. While some might have a pretty good idea of what they want others might need guidance. In other cases, customers are simply angry right from the moment they picked up the phone. Hence, the job of the outsourced customer support representative becomes impossible. First, he must calm the customer’s nerves if he wants a realistic chance of discussing anything on its merits.
A fair amount of customers a call center agent speaks to would be this way. Why? They probably picked up the phone because there is a problem with the product or service of the business. If that doesn’t make them angry, the circumstances of their everyday life would do the trick.
So, whether you are an Outsourced Call Center Services provider or a business with an in-house call centre, the importance of dealing with this category of customers cannot be overstated. The following are some of the ways to deliver the best customer service without getting into a fight with the customer.
People generally react rashly in circumstances they aren’t prepared for. If you think most of the customers you speak to would be of good conduct, then you’re in for a scary surprise. Call center outsourcing companies hold specially training and mock sessions that are intended to prepare agents to handle situations where in many customers are already irritated before picking up the phone. Hence, this reduces the tendency to react harshly to the customer.
Understand That It’s Not Personal
While it might seem like the customers are consciously taking shots at call center reps, this cannot be farther from the truth. As stated earlier, customers are angry because something is wrong with the product or service rendered or in their lives. Consequently, it is important to recognize that it’s not personal warfare.
Understanding where the customer is coming from puts things in the right perspective. You immediately focus on identifying with the client’s needs rather than engaging in endless banter. Also, this is a precursor to solving the client’s problems.
Apologize Without Thinking
You can never go wrong with apologizing. This is largely due to its disarming effect on the customer’s ego. The customer probably picked up the phone expecting a fight. To be immediately met by an apology changes the narrative of the conversation.
Good customer service agents understand that saying sorry to the customer has nothing to do with right or wrong. Running successful businesses means keeping the client happy. Hence, you must be willing to put aside your personal ego in attending to the customer’s needs, something outsourced customer care service providers understand very well.
Let Them Vent
An angry customer more often than not simply wants a listening voice. Unfortunately, agents of customer service outsourcing companies are the easiest target for the customer’s venting. If you try to talk back at the customer while he is telling his story, you would only escalate the client’s temper.
The better approach would be to listen to the client while he tells his story. Ignore the tone of the manner of the story but focus on solving the customer’s problems. If you take this route, you would discover two things. First, as soon as the customer gets out all his grievances he becomes easier to talk to. Second, the story would reveal the client’s biases and innermost needs.
A customer service agent should be solution driven and nothing calms a customer’s nerves better than answered questions or problems solved. They take time to listen through the anger then identify the customer’s problems. Consequently, the client is provided with solutions to those problems.
In providing solutions, it is important to communicate your opinion about the problems to the customer. Subsequently, the client should be provided with multiple options where possible. If you outsource customer support, make sure that you give in-depth training to your agents on your product or services in the call centre outsourcing company else they will not be able to provide satisfactory solution to your customers.
As a customer service agent, you want to win every customer over with every phone call. However, the reality of life dictates that you cannot provide answers to every question. While you might be tempted to make up an answer, this might not be the best approach for an angry customer or any customer at all.
If you provide false answers to an angry customer, he’ll be angrier the next time he calls. Also, whatever goodwill you have garnered with such a customer is immediately lost. The better approach would be to be straight with the customer regarding his problems. You should then inform the customers of alternative solutions to ease his pains. If you use outsourced call centre service provider, make sure that they follow the same approach with your customers.
Use the Name
Providing world-class customer service requires going an extra mile for your customer. This including knowledge of the personal details of the customer, including the name. Calling a customer by his or her first name makes the conversation personal. It gives a subtle hint to the customer that you care about his problems.
Ask Clarifying Questions
This might be a risky tactic but would work on the right customer. The trick is gauging how angry the customer is before asking clarifying questions. If the customer is receptive to the question, it’s a quick way to defuse the situation. Reps of customer service outsourcing companies get extensive training on how to execute this properly.
There are instances where all the approaches mentioned above would simply not produce a positive result. Why? The customer might be simply unreasonable. In this case, the best approach is to stand your ground. This is especially so when the customer is verbally abusive.
To de-escalate while being assertive, communicate your views to the customer in a soft tone. Do otherwise and he/she assumes you are ready for a fight.
The Right Approach
All we have disclosed so far is elaborate points but they can be summed up with simple psychological ideas used by experienced outsourced call centre Services providers are expressed below:
- Listen – pay attention to the customer’s words and never interject when the client is venting his anger.
- Agree with the customer’s problem – this gives assurances to the customer that his problems are valid and they’ll most likely be solved.
- Act – take conscious steps to solve the customer’s problems.
- Be grateful – thank the customer for sharing the problem and give positive affirmations to what they say.
- Explain the solution – the customer wants to know that you would solve his problems but more importantly how you would solve it.
At LiveSalesMan, we have years of experience and expertise in handling customer relations and psychology. If you are looking for Inbound call centre services to outsource customer support, get in touch with us today.
Publish Date: January 25, 2019 5:00 AM
Excellent customer support is the focal point of every business operation. Owing to the fact, many companies are operating in-house multilingual customer call center while others are outsourcing this division. Do you really think running or hiring multilingual call center 24*7 is enough to meet varied customers’ expectations or it is just tip of the iceberg? Corporate world is evolving at a fast pace and business cannot afford to lose single potential customers just because it is lacking on certain parameters of offering impressive customer support services. Assorted below are few ways which intensely affect customer experience and result in higher customer engagement ratio for customer support service providers.
Focus on Customers’ Language – Offer customer support in customers’ language not in company’s language. Moreover, because your customers understand English does not mean they prefer it for business communication. If you are offering customer support to Spanish customers in English language, communication gap is bound to occur. Thus, it is pertinent to know the preferred language of your customers before offering them multilingual customer service. Simultaneously, gather facts about their second preferred language to further mitigate the problem of language barriers. It is a worth to remember that providing support to the customers in their language will accelerate your brand sale by engaging more and more customers.
Follow Cross-cultural Service Expectations- May be your multilingual customer service agents serve their clients in Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and many other languages flawlessly but does it ensure effective communication? The answer is NO. To ensure effective communication, following cross-cultural practices is inevitable. It is because parameters of good customer service for one nation may be a deal-breaker for others. Customers do want their problems resolved, but not in the same way. For instance, customers of Western countries talk in fast pace whereas Asian customers consider fast pace as rude or inappropriate language tone. Similarly, speaking casual language with Japanese customers considered as inappropriate and insulting. Thus, invest time in training your multilingual call center agents about cultural nuances of different nations so that they do not follow “one size fit approach” while communicating with customers of different nations. Do remember, when you exhibit that you know your customers’ culture, they will trust you more.
Consider Time Zone by Creating Standard Response Time Policy – Responding quickly is one factor which differentiates companies having loyal customers base with companies who struggle in retaining customers. Faster the speed, more satisfied would be the customers. Moreover, set different standard response window for different modes of communication. Let us assume 2 hours’ is an ideal response time for live chat support but may be inappropriate for responding over email. The idea is to respond to customers’ queries quickly by creating standard response time policy and strictly adhering to it on consistent basis. Not to forget the golden rule “You loose if you snooze”.
Implement the Concept of “Long Tail” – The “long tail” is a popular marketing concept which allows business to make profit by selling less number of hard-to-find items to scores of customers instead of focusing upon selling high volumes of popular items. Every multilingual call center should apply this concept to increase their market presence and get an insight whether they are using their resources in the right manner or not. It may happen that a business is receiving large number of queries from Asian countries on monthly basis but when it comes to revenue, Western countries may steal the show due to massive business growth prospects. This analysis will help businesses in deploying their resources judiciously and create their plan of action accordingly.
Increase Business Scalability across Multiple Languages – Any business can expand its business presence in multiple countries by offering multilingual customer service. It is not wrong to say that for surviving in the global marketplace, multilingual call centre support has become a business necessity. Managing in-house multilingual call centre is a big challenge. Thus, outsourcing such services is a better and effective business strategy. Multilingual call center like LiveSalesman is competent to provide customer support in multiple languages like Chinese Call Center Support, Arabic Call Center Support, French Call Center Support, Spanish Call Center Support to name a few to worldwide clients. Their trained and knowledgeable Multilingual customer service agents know the art of creating personalized service experience for customers of different nations. Moreover, outsourcing multilingual customer support also ensures to manage business operations within your prescribed operating cost.
Publish Date: January 21, 2019 5:00 AM
Customer service is at its best when there is an in-depth understanding of the customer’s peculiarities. This becomes paramount when dealing with customers from a different country. There are subtle, and not so subtle cultural cues that should be taken into account when providing Multilingual call centre support.
Portuguese customer service is no exception to this rule. A proficient Portuguese call center agent is one who understands the nature of the average Portuguese. Hence, he is better equipped to render bespoke services to the customer. By employing cultural nuances as a disarming tool, the customer becomes receptive to the product and services of the business. Now, let us explore what the dos and don’ts to keep in mind while providing Portuguese call centre support.
Keep the Conversation Formal
The Portuguese prefer their business conversations to start in a business-like manner. Consequently, they expect their phone conversation to begin with a “hello” followed by a quick introduction of the caller. Starting the conversation in this manner sets the tone in the psyche of the customer. He immediately knows what purpose the call would serve.
When the ice has been broken, the Portuguese customer care agent can proceed with the conversation in a less formal format. The Portuguese are open to less formal talk as soon as they are familiar with the caller. At this point, it would be appropriate to ask about family and his work. However, in asking about personal details, care must be taken not to get too personal. The customer might become stiff when you ask about the intricate details of his life.
The official language in Portugal is the Portuguese language. You would, however, find that a large portion of the population is fluent in English. The reason is not so far fetched since the country has been largely open to English speaking tourists. This has encouraged a large portion of natives to learn the language. Hence, it would not be unusual for a Portuguese customer service agent to go about his business in English.
In providing Portuguese call centre support, it would be safe to initiate the conversation in Portuguese. As the conversation progresses, there might be a need to switch to another language depending on the preference of the customer, something that Portuguese call centre agents should be able to judge.
Get Comfortable With Small Talk
Though the Portuguese prefer their business conversations to be initiated formally, they do not like to dive straight into business. When time permits it, the Portuguese customer service agent should take off the edge, by talking about non-business topics. The conversation can drift to a topic such as the current weather conditions, the personal life of the customer or sport.
When discussing the personal life of the customer, it would be wise to stay on the surface. Ask about his job and family and you might get little or no resistance. However, when you delve into subjects such as personal finance and religion, the conversation might take a different turn. The Portuguese consider their finances a personal matter and won’t touch the subject unless they have to.
Football or soccer is the most played sport in the country. Thus, asking about a customer’s favorite team would definitely score some points. You might want to limit your sporting discussions to this singular sport. Extending the conversation to less popular sports might not produce a similar result. Portuguese customer service centre agents should be given extensive training to sensitize them about these cultural peculiarities unless you hire native Portuguese call centre agents.
Don’t Expect Straight Answers
Getting answers from a Portuguese isn’t as easy compared to some of their European counterparts. Take a German for instance; his answers would leave no room for doubt as to his intentions. The Portuguese on the other hand, are less generous with answers. This is so because it is in their nature to be polite and to avoid conversational directness.
Accordingly, to get answers, you would have to read between the lines. That is, analyze the statements of the customer to decipher what his intentions are. This also connotes that you shouldn’t push for straight answers when the customer is giving you kickbacks. This can land your Portuguese call centre agents in a tricky situation sometimes that they should be trained to deal with.
Easy With the Compliments
While you might want to say a few nice things to get comfy with the customer, it would serve you best to keep your compliments short. The Portuguese tend to smell a rat when you shower them with compliments. This is particularly true when you are kicking off the relationship but less true when you are familiar with the customer. Your Portuguese customer service agents should be careful not to be generous with compliments lest it backfires.
How the Portuguese Speak
The Portuguese, just like their Spanish neighbors have been judged to speak too loud and fast. This characterization might be subjective as some have argued that it is simply a matter of perception. That is, because most people aren’t familiar with the language, so they simply assume it’s a fact.
Whether you fall into this category or not, it is important to note that the volume and speed of the Portuguese customers’ voice has nothing to do with their love or hate for what is being said. It is simply the way they speak. This is however the general rule. It would be prudent to watch out for changes in the customers tone as the conversation progresses.
Connect on Social Media
Portugal has a population of over 10 million and more than half of that figure is active Internet users. Specifically, the Portuguese youth are active on social media platforms. Hence, if your company’s aim is to reach this demographic, you would find better luck by connecting with them on social media.
Also, where you choose not to use social media as a communication tool, it can be used as a gauge for public interest or opinion about your company’s product and services.
Though providing the best call center service in Portugal goes beyond understanding cultural nuances, knowing them would get you half way there. This and many other competencies are why you should choose LiveSalesman if you are looking for Portugal Call Centre Support. All our Portuguese Customer Service agents are natives. At LiveSalesman, we specialize in offering Multilingual Call Centre support in over 30 European and Asian languages including Portuguese Call Centre Services and Spanish Call Centre Support.
Publish Date: December 24, 2018 5:00 AM
The emergence and subsequent evolution of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) have led many to believe that AI is now poised to penetrate and transform the way we conduct our day-to-day lives. Many are of the opinion that the day is not far when AI-driven automation will displace a variety of jobs in entirety, including human-oriented roles such as customer service. Such thoughts and beliefs have sparked a debate on whether the jobs of call center agents and live chat agents are at a threat.
Now, there’s no denying that AI will play a defining role in shaping the future of various contact center services such as inbound call center support, email support and live chat customer service. However, the prospect of AI fully replacing human customer service agents seems to be a far-fetched one. Especially considering the fact that AI itself is an evolving technology. And it has a long way to go before it reaches the stage where it sophisticates itself to the extent that it matches or surpasses the natural intelligence of humans.
So, will AI disrupt the call center industry? The answer is ‘YES’ as a digital transformation of the industry is inevitable. Will the technology completely replace call center agents in the days to come? The answer is ‘NO’ as corroborated by the following reasons:
Contact Center AI accuracy still has a long way to go
In content of Contact Center industry, AI come in the form of programmed automation in live chat automated responses, programmed email responses or IVR systems that are intended to reduce manual intervention, expedite the response time and improve the accuracy of the responses. However, contrary to the augmented perception of the experience artificial intelligence was supposed to bring in, in most instances, customers are increasingly left frustrated and disappointed with robotic, mindless chat bot responses that do nothing to resolve the issue. Customers constantly find themselves struggling to extricate themselves from the endless loop of automated responses to talk to a real human!
The matter of fact is that AI systems don’t yet have the potential to deliver impeccable precision as was assumed. For now, their level of accuracy depends on the expertise of their implementer. The much hyped and talked about Call Center AI in its current state is in-fact just a system that relies on keyword detection to retrieve information from the database and creating an exhaustive and fully comprehensive database that ensures good customer experience requires a great deal of effort, time and resources which most organizations can not afford to invest in. As a result, answers provided by chat-bots are not always accurate and customers have to try different keywords to arrive at the desired answer.
This practice of utilizing keyword detection to solve customer queries is itself not foolproof. Human imagination has no limit. Thus, it’s near impossible to create an exhaustive list that accommodates every possible word or phrase that the human mind can fathom when searching for information on a particular topic. Consequently, you can never guarantee that your AI system is robust enough to decode every customer query to the T, or that it will always be able to provide the right answer that is relevant to what a customer is looking for.
Provided you have well-trained and efficient call center agents at your disposal, your odds of getting it right the first time is higher with call center agents and live chat agents as opposed to an AI program that simulates human interactions based on pre-determined user phrases and expressions.
Complex queries demand human intervention and assistance your customers truly need
When it comes to answering basic inquiries responding to simple questions that are predictable and repetitive, AI-enabled systems may be able serve purpose well if done right. However, when it comes to handling higher level complex issues, AI leaves a lot to be desired. With the advancement of technology, the complexity of the customer queries is also increasing. Sophisticated technology requires sophisticated answers, judgment, decision making and tactical handling that only humans are capable of and hence customer service agents have to step into the picture to ensure that all queries are dealt with efficiently for utmost satisfaction to the end users. For example, live call center agents will have to engage themselves when a customer contacts an inbound call center and demands to speak to a supervisor to discuss a late fee waiver as a goodwill gesture.
As much as businesses would like all support to be run by automated systems or self help tools, at present there is no way to resolve the whole length and breadth of complex issues faced by your customers without human customer support agents.
Artificial Empathy (AE) is still a distant reality
Interestingly, even if such self-service offerings and AI are efficient enough to handle routine queries, most customers still prefer communicating with live customer service agents vis-a-vis conversing with machines. And it’s got to do with the fact that automated responses and self-service interactions lack the “human touch” and the natural flow of a human-to-human conversation. That’s because, despite all its underlying sophistication and learning, AI as a technology is still not developed enough to detect and respond to human emotions accurately.
Machines cannot feel. They are not capable of gauging the mood of a customer or comprehending complex human expressions such as pun and sarcasm like human customer service agents can. They can’t judge if they should empathize with a customer who is having a bad day or if they should employ tact or humor to diffuse a tense situation. They may be cognitively smart but they are far from being emotionally intelligent. Given such shortcomings on their emotional front, it’s not surprising that conversations with automated systems often sound scripted and even awkward at times. One can hardly argue that human-to-machine interactions don’t come across half as warm, natural or personal as human-to-human conversations held by customer support agents. In fact, the former can be quite frustrating if the responses contradict a customer’s needs or are not suited to the situation at hand.
When providing service to end users, one must bear in mind that not every customer will voice their dissatisfaction in as many words. It is up to the call center representative on the other end of the line, whether human or robot, to recognize the subtle cues that could indicate a likely churn. With AI, we are not quite there yet where we can expect machines to understand a customer’s emotional state and act accordingly to appease him or her. Eventually, it comes down to the inbound call center team and live chat agents to salvage the situation and retain the customer with an empathic approach and tailored solutions.
AI solutions are expensive to fully implement
If you are the owner of a start-up or small business and thinking of automating your chat support, make sure you do your homework first and determine if it is worth investing thousands of dollars in expensive AI solutions as returns can be little or nil. Lots of small businesses fall for the low cost chat bots without considering the cost of valuable resources required to develop a worthwhile database for it to perform well as elaborated above. Unless you have a considerable call/ticket volumes…in hundreds or thousands per month, it makes no sense to spare that amount of money and manpower to implement and AI solution unless you reach that scale.
Before taking the plunge and integrating AI into contact center services, it will be wise of businesses to also take into consideration the demographics and willingness of their target audience to adopt automated live chat customer service or other AI based customer support systems. Independent studies reveal that demographic variables such as age, gender, geographic location etc. have a role to play in influencing one’s choice and usage of specific communication channels. According to a finding, customers, aged 35 and below, are more willing to embrace new-age contact solutions like live chat customer service as opposed to their older counterparts (aged over 35) who are more likely to opt for human interactions when seeking assistance. And then there are those who, regardless of their age, simply feel more comfortable talking to someone who is flesh and blood and not some form of programmed automation.
You may be better off engaging live chat agents and call center agents to impart the desired level of service without incurring the massive expenses that are typically associated with AI implementation.
As evident from the above, the use of AI in the context of the call center industry will be that of an enabler and not one that acts as a substitute for human representatives. Hence, the fear of AI replacing humans in contact centers is unfounded. Till such time the end user is not a robot, AI will have to go hand in hand with human involvement for positive customer experiences.
In the coming days, AI will get smarter for sure as machine learning continues to evolve and refine itself. As the technology gets mainstreamed and blended with the human touch, the call center industry will also get to benefit as it can be utilized to perform mundane call center tasks allowing the call center agents to focus on customer issues that require human intervention and judgment. The idea is to strike a balance between a hands-on and hands-off approach so that contact centers can deliver what they set out to do, i.e. focus on offering exemplary services that create customer delight.
If you don’t have the bandwidth or resources to run an in-house call center, outsourcing can be a cost effective and efficient alternative. If you intend to outsource chat support or inbound call center support, consider choosing an experienced service provider that assures you of friendly, professional and personalized services. Such bespoke services can go a long way in driving conversion rates and ensuring superior customer experiences - outcomes that technology cannot achieve on its own. When you decide to outsource inbound call center support or live chat support, look for a service provider that has the capability to offer multilingual live chat and multilingual call center solutions. This will hold you in good stead when your business grows and the need to provide 24/7 chat support in multiple languages becomes inevitable.
Publish Date: December 20, 2018 5:00 AM
“Use the right tone when speaking to customers.” If you are a calling agent providing phone support to customers, this oft-repeated guideline will surely ring a bell to you. Even if you’re not acquainted with the nuances of an inbound call center, chances are you must have replayed something similar in your mind when a certain verbal or written communication sounded rude or condescending to you. So, what is it about the “tone” that makes it so crucial in the context of customer service? Does it really matter whether you get the tone right or not? Read on to know more.
7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication
According to Albert Mehrabian, an inconsistency of thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and beliefs arises when what we say is not in harmony with how we say it. He illustrates this point through his 7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication which states that words only account for 7% of the essence of a message. The rest of the context is inferred from the speaker’s tone of voice (38%) and body language (55%).
In an inbound call center environment, assuming there is no video chat support involved, the relative impact of body language on the effectiveness of communication is null. For calling agents, non-verbal elements predominantly determine the quality of their phone conversations. Thus, unless the spoken words are congruent with the non-verbal cues (read tone, pitch, rate of speech etc.), there’s a risk of being misunderstood or being perceived as fake by the person on the other end of the line.
Correlation between the Tone of Your Voice and the Communication Channel in Use
In today’s digital age, phone and email are no longer the only modes of providing service to customers. Live chat, mobile and social media are also popular channels for customers to communicate with brands. Every communication channel has its own nuances around formality, tone, language style, etc. For example, emails are considered to be more formal than live chat or mobile communication. Thus, while it may be acceptable to use an informal tone when responding over live chat or mobile, the same may be looked upon as inappropriate when offering phone support or assistance via email.
The same goes for the use of emojis and emoticons. It is not uncommon to use emojis when communicating over channels that allow customer service agents to be more spontaneous. However, emojis are not recommended for relatively more formal communication channels like email. Occasionally, the use of emoticons (facial expressions created using keyboard characters) may be permissible for email responses. In most cases, it’s usually safe to replicate a customer’s communication style and tone, i.e., you can follow suit if you notice a customer using icons and digital images to convey his or her feelings and emotions.
Importance of Mirroring Your Customer’s Tone and Conversational Style
Ever wondered why it is so important for calling agents to adapt their tones and communication styles to that of their customers? That’s because no two customers are alike and conversational styles also differ from one to the other. Thus, while an unscripted and informal conversational beat may work for today’s millennials, the same approach may misfire when dealing with traditional users who may prefer a more formal style of customer service. Also, bear in mind that today’s customers seek a more authentic and personalized service experience. Hence, addressing callers using their names and doing away with a cookie-cutter style of customer service are good strategies to accommodate changing customer tastes.
It is equally imperative for inbound call center agents to ensure that their tone is a reflection of the voice of their customers. Thus, if a caller exhibits a warm and friendly demeanor, one should reciprocate likewise using an amiable and easy-going tone (of course, without sounding too casual). Alternately, if a caller sounds formal or distant, care should be taken to avoid an overly friendly or conversational tone that may irk him or her. When declining requests or dealing with angry customers, a formal but compassionate attitude is suggested as a casual approach may be interpreted as insensitive or uncaring. Furthermore, instead of using intensely negative words to communicate the “No”, leverage “Service No” or “Positive No” to pass on the message without sounding rude or unemphatic.
Despite being popular as “web lingo” or casual forms of conversation, words or phrases like “LOL”, “TTYL”, “BRB”, “Wassup”, “Kinda”, “No worries”, “stuff like these” etc. lack a professional tone and are not suitable for use in customer service. Similarly, the use of heavily idiomatic language is not desirable as colloquial expressions that are specific to one’s regional or local dialect may not be comprehensible or relevant for callers from other regions. Thus, while phrases like “push the boat out”, “put the cat among the pigeons” and “over-egg the pudding” may sound familiar to the average British, they may be confusing or indecipherable for the French, Korean or Japanese.
Lastly, in their efforts to get the tone right or when attempting to adapt their language style based on who they are speaking to or the context of their conversations, phone support agents must ensure they do not come across as unprofessional or inelegant in their discussions. And regardless of whether the tone of their discussions is friendly, humorous, formal, distant or casual, customer service agents should not forget the basic customer service etiquettes of active listening, politeness, empathy, and patience when assisting customers with their queries and issues.
Degree of Politeness
A warm, sincere, friendly and polite tone can go a long way in improving customer experience, cementing customer relationships and building brand loyalty. However, how polite is polite or what is the desired level of politeness in customer care support service is something that merits careful consideration. That’s because the perception of politeness varies from people to people. The ‘Politeness Theory’ of Penelope Brown and Stephen C. Levinson asserts that conversationalists employ four main types of politeness strategies when attempting to mitigate face threats. Two of these strategies are positive politeness and negative politeness. Both emphasize avoidance of offense to the listener. However, while the former does this through friendliness, the latter exploits deference to achieve the outcome.
When attempting positive politeness, the addresser assumes a proactive and optimistic approach and strives to offer the addressee a sense of belonging by prioritizing his or her needs and interests. In contrast, those engaging in negative politeness strategies assume a distancing style which is marked by a pessimistic, apologetic and indirect approach. Such speakers are reluctant to communicate anything that can be objectionable, disrespectful or imposing to the listener. As an inbound call center agent, is it up to you to judge which politeness strategy best suits your customers, keeping in mind the latter’s expectations, communication styles, likes and dislikes.
Tweaking the Language to Elevate the Comfort Level of the Callers
Words to soften conversations and make them sound less direct and more polite:
Altering certain verb forms and tenses or making use of words and phrases that indicate possibility, ability, permission, obligation etc. can significantly reduce the impact of face-threatening utterances and enhance the level of politeness in your conversations.
Case in point is the use of hedges (mitigating words, expressions and sounds), past forms of modal verbs (“could” instead of “can”, “might” in place of “may”, “would” as opposed to “will” etc.) and past simple or past continuous tense for verbs like “hope”, “want”, and “wonder”.
Consider the following examples:
“I expect a response within a day.” vs. “I was wondering if I could get a response within a day.”
“Restart the computer.” vs. “Could you just try restarting the computer once again, please?”
“This is not possible.” vs. “This seems less likely.”
“The service has deteriorated over time.” vs. “The service has somewhat deteriorated over time.”
In all of the above constructions, the use of words or expressions such as “was wondering”, “less likely”, “somewhat” etc. make the tone of the statements less forceful and more polite.
Another tactic to make your conversations seem less direct or assertive is to introduce vagueness into your constructions. Thus, rather than saying “It got uncomfortable after a point”, you could say “It got kind of uncomfortable after a point”.
When conversing with a customer, avoiding verbs and phrases that denote an imperative mood is a good strategy to make your discussions sound less commanding, indifferent or uncaring. Hence, instead of saying, “Pass me the file” which comes across as a command, you can say “Could you pass me the file, please?” to make it sound like a request. Bear in mind though that when issuing warnings, offering advice, giving instructions and directions, or making requests, the use of imperatives is allowable. Hence, exclamations like “Watch out, there is danger ahead!” or “Have a good day!” are acceptable.
Instilling confidence in the callers through added positivity and affirmation:
There’s no denying that a positive attitude is crucial to positive customer experiences. When rendering phone support, inbound call center agents can demonstrate a positive attitude in their communication through the use of affirmatives or positive customer service phrases. Expressions, injected with intensifiers such as positive adjectives and adverbs, sound assuring to callers. For example, “I will surely look into this” sounds much more positive and affirmative than “I will look into this” or “I can look into this”.
As a customer service agent, it will be wise of you to master the art of leveraging the above-mentioned techniques to minimize the impact of certain utterances on the listeners; in other words, you must learn how to “soften the blow”.
Paraphrase to Achieve Greater Clarity and Demonstrate Active Listening
When you are unsure of what’s been communicated to you, paraphrase the comment or feedback to seek clarity. When you paraphrase, you demonstrate to the customers that they have been heard, plus you express your intention to get more clarity to avoid any misunderstanding or misinterpretation of facts. A word of caution here. Paraphrasing doesn’t mean parroting back information as that’s plain annoying to the hearer. Rather it implies summarizing and restating facts in your own words to fully uncover the explicit and implicit meaning of the comment or feedback.
At LiveSalesman, we understand how important it is for your international customers to be able to speak to native customer service representatives who are familiar with their accents and cultural nuances. Hence, our multilingual inbound call center solutions are designed to employ the services of bilingual calling agents who are well-versed with English as well as the foreign language in focus. Our phone support agents are adept in adapting their tones and conversational styles based on a myriad of factors, including the tone of the callers, the specific communication channel in use and the nature of the conversations. Feel free to give us a call, email us or contact us today via live chat to get more insights into our outsourced services.
Publish Date: December 6, 2018 5:00 AM
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