Written by: Sandy Kelty, Customer Service, Arzel Zoning
While I won’t argue its a wonderful convenience brought to us by automated payment services, or websites full of FAQ’s that can answer many of your concerns right there on your computer, sometimes you want the reassurance of speaking to a real person. It is incredibly frustrating when you have one question to ask, only to end up on the phone for fifteen minutes trying in vain to reach a real person. Getting routed from menu to menu can be enough to make you want to scream! There is something satisfying about a friendly voice, some polite and helpful conversation and being able to ask questions specific to your situation.
A good first impression:
Answering phones may not seem like a glamorous part of one’s job description, but it is more important than you might think. At Arzel, we answer the phone with "Its a great day at Arzel! How may we help you?" We have found that it typically starts the conversation on a positive note and assures the caller we are here to help them. It’s incredibly encouraging for your customer to know they can reach a knowledgeable and amiable person at the other end of the phone line and can definitely make the difference in whether they decide to do business with your company again.
The quality of the contact:
People are so appreciative when they find a true willingness to help, especially in this electronic age of quantity over quality. Most people have multiple user names, online profiles and things that can make us seem like more of a faceless commodity than a human being! Corporations may miss the big picture by wanting to focus on reaching as many people as possible without considering the quality of the contact. For instance, if I answer a question, but am in a hurry to get off the phone and on to something I deem more “important”, the person on the other end of the line can tell, and may feel dismissed! Alternately, if we spend as much time talking as needed, to make sure you come away from the conversation informed and feeling satisfied with the outcome, that’s going to be a positive experience that will be remembered. That is what makes lifetime customer relationships.
A good attitude:
Sometimes easier said than done, a positive attitude can make or break a customer experience. You never know what you’re going to hear on the other end. The person may be unhappy, angry or already anticipating a problem. Sometimes they will automatically assume they will need to be put on hold and you won’t be able to help them. Remaining calm and friendly, while reassuring the customer that you will answer the question or resolve the problem is key.
One of my favorite phrases if I can’t handle a situation by myself is “I can’t answer that question but I’m going to get you right to the person who will.” Realize that you can make all the difference in a person’s view of your company simply by a willingness to help and a good attitude. And many times I’ve had the person on the other line make MY day by making me laugh, being silly, friendly or just having a quick chat about the weather. Sometimes I appreciate the demeanor of the person on the other end of the line just as much as they appreciate my assistance.
Customers and colleagues should not be looked at as profits and statistics. They are all people who deserve respect and compassion, and being in a customer service position that is what we are here to do: serve.
I may not have all the knowledge on every aspect of zoning, but I’ll tell you what I know and then find the right person to fill in the blanks. And maybe we’ll find we have something in common and have an enjoyable chat which is just the icing on the cake!
Sounds off on your customer service experiences or how you provide excellent service to your customers!