In customer service interactions, communication means everything. Whether a customer needs help with a product purchase or is completely frustrated to the point of leaving the brand, customer service agents need to use the right skills to connect with customers in a way that leaves them calmer, satisfied, and confident in the brand. Here are seven rules for effective customer service communication that will empower agents and customers alike.
Personalize the interaction. Customers often seek a human touch when contacting a brand, so agents should be sure to personalize the experience right from the start. It’s important for agents to introduce themselves, address the customer by name, and ask in an authentic tone just how they may be of service. Customers should be able to feel the agent’s willingness to help them, so a cheerful tone on the phone and positive language in written communication are essential to a personalized experience.
Avoid negative phrases. Simply put, there’s no place for negativity or doubt in customer service. A frustrated customer wants to hear that there is a solution to a problem. Agents who may not have immediate answers should refrain from using any language that suggests an inability to solve a problem or lack of knowledge. For example, they should avoid words such as “can’t” or “don’t” and offer to find the solution with determined, positive language. Negative phrases may not only frustrate a customer but make him or her lose confidence in a brand.
Use positive language with a touch of empathy. Agents who use positive language and show confidence are far more likely to appease and satisfy customers. Agents should use positive phrases such as “I can,” “I will,” and “I understand” to connect with customers. Such language is reassuring, proactive, and empathetic and restores customer confidence.
Listen closely and avoid interrupting the customer. Customers want to be heard, so agents need to listen as much as they offer support. Agents should always welcome customers to explain their issues in full before providing solutions. Interrupting a customer implies a lack of respect or empathy for a problem, so it’s important to let them talk and politely offer a solution once they are ready to hear it.
Use consistent brand vocabulary. One critical aspect of effective customer service communication is using consistent brand terms that customers will understand. When agents communicate with customers, the vocabulary used to describe products or services should match the language on the company website, mobile app, IVR menu options, and social media sites. Brands should be consistent in the vocabulary they use across all channels, and agents should be skilled in the brand lexicon and use it accurately during service interactions for faster, more efficient service.
Give thorough answers to technical questions. Customers may not possess the technical knowledge needed to understand a problem, and agents need to be sensitive to this. Consider, for example, a situation in which a customer contacts a telecommunications company regarding a technical issue or perhaps a retail company for a problem on the website’s checkout page. Agents should make customers feel at ease when the situation is technical and offer clear explanations in terms the customer can understand.
Make communication clear and concise. Customers want thorough answers, but they also value their time. Agents therefore need to remember that one aspect of effective customer service communication is keeping the exchange fairly concise and always relevant, whether it be verbal or written. This point is especially vital on social media, chat, and SMS, as they are channels defined by concise communication. Emails should be kept to a length that gives just the right amount of relevant information. Lastly, agents should strive to use a natural, conversational tone in their communication both on the voice channel and in written form to keep a personal connection with the customer. On non-voice channels, it’s especially necessary to humanize the experience.
Effective customer service communication combines a personalized approach with efficient practices that save customers time and frustration while ultimately winning their loyalty