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Applying Call Center Customer Service Skills to Everyday Life

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In a past role at a former company, I was unexpectedly appointed as the call center’s Customer Service Trainer due to a major corporate restructure. I’d never worked anywhere but in marketing departments before so this world was new to me. What I learned, I still carry with me into most of my day-to-day interactions, both professional and personal. Remembering basic customer service skills will help solve problems, get you the outcome you want, and diffuse arguments with clients, co-workers or even your significant other… Here are my four tips for everyday customer service success.

Aim for a one-call resolution.

If you’re not in a call center, you can probably substitute “call” with “email.” A one-email resolution, for our purposes, means that you answer your client’s question in a timely manner and sufficiently enough so they don’t have additional questions. This means they don’t have to spend extra time replying to you to ask for further clarification.

Perform a warm transfer.

Have you ever called your cable company to dispute a bill and you get bounced around from department to department, each time having to repeat your situation to the new rep on the phone? To me, it’s the most frustrating thing about calling giant call centers and it also means the company is not performing warm transfers. The way to keep your clients happy is to explain their situation in detail before handing them off to a co-worker. This way, the next person who works with this client will be able to get that one-call resolution and keep the client calm.

Smile with your voice.

Although it sounds silly, this soft skill is extremely important and often underrated. An angry client could be waiting on hold, ready to let off some steam, but if you answer the phone with a sunny “hello!” the situation suddenly takes a more optimistic turn. I worked with one woman who physically smiled throughout each call and her feedback scores were always the highest on the team. If writing an email, start with “I hope your day is going well” or other polite greetings to set a pleasant tone.

Always make a reaffirming statement.

“I understand your frustrations, I’ll try my best to get this resolved today” or “I apologize for keeping you on hold, thank you for waiting,” can do wonders to build relationships with clients and let them know you’re on their side. Acknowledging their displeasure and reaffirming that you’re there to help can quickly de-escalate potential arguments via the phone or in an email, and also in person.

By following these four steps, your relationships with clients will grow in a positive way. You’ll be a person they enjoy interacting with because they know you’re looking out for their best interests.

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