Being an effective customer service professional requires an extensive skill set. Patience, product knowledge, communication skills — all these are key traits that give the quality of your customer service a big boost.
But above all else, a customer service professional needs to have empathy.
If that statement has prompted you to raise your eyebrow a bit, please take time to consider this one study made by Penn State University proving that people using web chat are happier talking with customer service if agents use emoticons when responding to questions.
What this tells you is that customers seek the human element even when talking to customer service professionals on the phone.
Believe it or not, customers are not expecting customer service professionals to resolve their issues 100% of the time. Most of them wouldn’t dare admit it, but that doesn’t make it less true.
On the other hand, customers expect empathy from call center agents every single time. Fail to deliver on that end, and callers are more likely to be upset.
Empathy statements like “I understand where you’re coming from,” for instance, can do so much in making customers feel that their feelings are validated.
If customers are feeling frustrated, it would be appropriate for agents to say something along the lines of “That would frustrate me too.”
It makes a big difference when customers feel that they are understood. This puts agents in the perfect position to work with customers towards a resolution.
At this juncture, it’s best to say something along the lines of, “I’d be more than happy to help.” Letting the customer know that you are eager to help assurances him that the company will always have his back.
Offering an apology is also one great way to show empathy to customers. It’s also worth mentioning that apologies should be readily given even if the customer’s issue is not the company’s fault.
Saying sorry aligns the agent with the customer’s woes. In short, it puts them on the same page, in which case better understanding follows.
Besides, apologizing is a subtle invitation to customers to vent their frustrations. They may not show it, but they will appreciate the gesture.
When the customer is speaking, the agent needs to pay close attention.
By giving customers their undivided attention, agents will make them understand that their issue is being addressed with a sense of urgency.
To top it off, empathic listening ensures that agents can understand the customer’s issue with perfect clarity, thus giving them a better perspective on how to deal with the problem.
Empathy is a word that gets thrown around a lot especially in the call center industry. Be that as it may, it’s a skill most people think they have, but in actuality do not.
That said, it’s imperative for every business owner to prioritize empathy training in the workplace. By showing customers that you care, customers will always respond to your brand positively.
And that is good for business.
Publish Date: January 24, 2018 5:00 AM
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