Overcoming Obstacles in Customer Service

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  • 0:03 Obstacles in Customer Service
  • 1:06 Engaging the Customer
  • 1:53 Asking Open-Ended Questions
  • 2:55 Repeat to Show You Understand
  • 3:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Savannah Samoszuk

Savannah has over eight years of hotel management experience and has a master's degree in leadership.

It can be a challenge delivering great customer service while overcoming obstacles - especially over the phone. This lesson will explain some common obstacles and steps to eliminate them.

Obstacles in Customer Service

Jim notices a charge on his bank statement that he doesn't recognize, so he calls the bank as he drives to work. He does not like calling into the bank over the phone because he likes the face to face interaction when he goes into the bank and thinks that he will not get the same customer service over the phone.

If you think about a time when you had to deliver bad news over the phone, you may be able to understand Jim's dislike for calling the bank. You cannot gauge the other person's reaction or see their facial expressions or body language to help you understand what they are feeling.

Providing great customer service, which is defined as offering assistance to customers, over the phone involves specific challenges or obstacles that must be overcome. These obstacles include:

  • The preconceived notion that the service will not be the same as in person
  • The customer getting distracted
  • The lack of personal connection

This lesson will explain three steps to overcome these obstacles, which include engaging the customer, asking open-ended questions, and repeating to show understanding.

Engaging the Customer

The first step to overcoming obstacles on the phone with a customer will be to engage the customer. In the example, Jim was calling in while he was driving, so it is important that the customer service representative starts the conversation in a way that grabs Jim's attention. A great example would be, 'Hello Mr. Smith, Thank you for calling. How is your day going so far?' Engaging the customer before jumping into the purpose of the call will help make the call smoother and build trust between the customer and the customer service representative.

The customer service representative needs to portray through their tone that they are excited to speak to the customer in order to get the customer's attention. Due to the lack of visuals to help with showing that the customer service representative is excited, it is important to sound upbeat and energetic on the phone.

Asking Open-Ended Questions

Asking open-ended questions is a great way to build rapport with the customer over the phone. Open-ended questions should elicit an answer that requires the customer to explain versus just providing a yes or no answer.

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