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Phone Skills for Customer Service

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  • 0:02 Customer Service Soft Skills
  • 1:18 Smile
  • 1:53 Build Rapport
  • 2:52 Listen to Your Customer
  • 4:24 Communicate Hold Time
  • 5:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Stacey Taylor

Stacey Taylor currently teaches college business courses and holds an MBA degree.

Effective customer service has a major impact on the overall health of an organization. This lesson will discuss several soft skills that phone customer service representatives should have.

Customer Service Soft Skills

Can you remember your most memorable customer service phone experience? Was it a time when the representative was extremely pleasant and helpful or was it a time where the representative was unpleasant and not helpful? These are two scenarios many can relate to. While there are many customer service channels that customers can choose from, handling customer service issues by phone is still a popular choice.

Striving for effective customer service by phone should be any organization's goal. Customers are extremely sensitive with the way they are treated, and effective customer service has become a key element when deciding on a brand. Therefore, one of the first steps to achieving effective customer service by phone is having trained employees that possess specific skills necessary when dealing with customers.

Soft skills are personal characteristics that allow people to interact and socialize effectively with others. When employees display soft skills when handling customer service issues, they build strong relationships with customers. Let's look at the soft skills that all phone customer service representatives should possess.

Smile, Smile, and Smile Some More

Have you ever been greeted by someone over the phone and literally could hear the smile in their voice? Think back at how it made you feel. When greeting a customer over the phone, a simple smile can make a big difference. Using a non-verbal gesture, such as smiling, can create a warm and friendly greeting and even set a positive tone for the conversation. However, be careful not to smile too much. You want to ensure that you are coming across as genuine and not making light of the situation - especially if you have an angry customer.

Build Rapport

Mirroring your customer's tone and emotion is a great way to build rapport. Rapport occurs when close relationships are built on trust and people have a mutual understanding of each other's feelings. Keep in mind that customers pick up the tone in your voice so it is important to have a friendly tone and positive attitude. When speaking with a customer over the phone, pay close attention to their tone, volume, and even the speed at which they are talking. Then, mirror your customer by matching their tone, volume, and rate of speech.

For example, if the customer is speaking in a loud manner, it is OK to increase the volume in your tone. If the customer is speaking slowly and you are used to speaking very quickly, you should alter your rate of speech to match that of the customer. However, if the customer has an angry tone, react calmly to diffuse the customer's angry tone.

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