The impact of words on customer interactions

One of the biggest concerns that business owners have when they are contemplating whether or not to hire a call centre is that customer interactions will become overly scripted and impersonal. After all, most of us have had at least one experience of dealing with a call centre rep who sounded more like a robot than a human being. That’s why it’s important to work with call centres whose reps are trained to listen carefully to what your customer is saying and then choose their words carefully and wisely in order to produce the best customer experience possible.

Here are a few ways that the best call centre CSRs choose their words to create a positive customer experience:

businessman takes a call on the coast

Accentuate the positive

The simple act of removing negative phrases can greatly improve the customer experience. For example, “We can’t give you a quote unit you’ve had an in-home consultation,” should be replaced by “In order for us to give you an accurate quote, let’s set up a time for an in-home consultation.”

In a study to measure the effects of simply removing the use of negative phrases, it was found that companies that use more positive language to convey the same message are ranked significantly higher by their customers.

Experience engineering

Another approach which can be quite effective – though it may be ethically questionable – is that of experience engineering. The idea here is to make a not-so-attractive option more palatable.

This can be demonstrated in the case of an airline where the CSR is dealing with a passenger whose flight has been cancelled. If the cancelled flight was for the morning, the CSR might let the customer know that they can book them for an evening flight – an option that could easily cause some disappointment especially if they are in a hurry to get to their destination.

On the other hand, the CSR who wishes to engineer a better experience might say something like, “I know it will be possible to get you on a flight for tomorrow morning, but first let me see if I’m able to get you on a flight for this evening.”  Now instead of being upset that they are being put on an evening flight, the customer might instead feel relieved that they do not have to wait until the next day.

To be effective in today’s marketplace, call centre reps have to go beyond simply following a script and checking off boxes. They must first and foremost be real human beings who listen to customers concerns, and who can provide them with solutions to their problems. These CSRs must also be cognizant of their language and how their choice of words will reflect on them and the companies that they are representing.

That’s why at Touch Communications, we never use a cookie cutter approach. Instead, we train our customer service representatives to take a unique approach based on the companies that they are representing. To learn more about how our services can help your businesses, get in touch with us today.

Winter Weather Calling

It may have taken a bit longer to get here than usual this year, but the Canadian winter in Southern Ontario now seems to be fully upon us with many areas experiencing heavy snowsqualls and just plain nasty weather. And while we are a hearty bunch, there tend to be a few days each season that are bad enough that trying to dig your way out your subdivision and slipping and sliding all the way to the office are just not worth the risk.

Snow Covered Car

Car buried in snow.

But since these storms can happen unexpectedly, how do you relay the message to the rest of your team, or to your clients and customers that they should sit back and enjoy that second cup of coffee because the inclement weather has shut down operations for the day?

If you have a very small team, you could call everyone individually, but that takes time and effort that could be better spent curling up on the sofa with a great book, listening to howl of the frigid winds from a safe distance. And besides, wouldn’t it be better if you only had to make one telephone call or send a single email that would let not only your employees know you were closing for the day but also any customers or clients that were planning on coming in?

How Touch Communications can help

With call answering services from Touch Communications, it is easy to let all the right people know that your business is having a snow day. Simply let us know about your company’s closures and delays and that information can be passed on to anyone who might be calling in to inquire about your business’s status.

Why use live call answering for inclement weather closure notices?

While it might be tempting to rely on company voicemail to relay notices of closures and delays, there are several good reasons why live call answering makes sense. Here are a few of the benefits to employing the help of the professional customer service representatives at Touch Communications:

  • Simple to arrange – even the best voicemail systems can have glitches. Make sure your employees and customers get the message, by having real people convey it to them.
  • 24/7 Service – As soon as you know that your business will be closed or delayed, you can let us know and we can relay the message to callers – it doesn’t matter if it’s Sunday night or at 4:00 am on a weekday.
  • Reschedule appointments – If you operate a business or organization that relies on appointments, our CSRs can not only let your clients know that you are closed, but we can also reschedule their appointments.
  • Call transferring – Even though your physical doors are closed for the day, as an entrepreneur, chances are you are still working. You may wish to have certain calls transferred to you by landline or cell phone. The CSRs at Touch can screen your calls and transfer the ones you still want directly to you.
  • Emergency service – The weather outside may be frightful but you may still want to provide emergency services. Should an emergency call come in, we can give appropriate advice or transfer the call according to your instructions.

Yes, winter is finally here, and closures will happen, but with a little help from your friends at Touch Communications, it will be much easier to weather the storm.

What makes call centres great? It’s their people!

At some point or another, we have all contacted call centres. Whether it is to do our banking, get assistance with an IT problem or to book a medical appointment, call centres have become part of our lives. Determining if your experience was a good one or a bad one, however, all comes down to one factor – the person who answered the telephone. Whether or not the person on the other end of the line was friendly, helpful and put you at ease was critical to the type of customer experience that you had.  After all, should you have a bad experience, you may never call back.

woman on phone headset

Most call centres have similar equipment, similar processes in place and similar capabilities. What distinguishes a great call centre from one that is merely okay, is its people. That’s why here at Touch Communications, we consider our employees to be our most important resource and we actively seek out customer service representatives that will be able to provide the best customer experiences for our clients.

What do we look for when hiring customer service representatives?

An excellent telephone manner is, of course, key – but this is a skill that is (or should be) common to all call centres. At Touch Communications we are interested in finding candidates who also have great leadership skills, who can be empathetic to the needs of their callers and who have the analytical acumen necessary to help solve their problems.

Some of our clients require that our CSRs also be salespeople, and for this we look for people who are able to speak persuasively and who have a competitive side to them.

Finding such individuals goes beyond merely looking at previous positions and skills on their resume. We look for well-rounded people who are actively involved in their community. We understand that the better our employees connect with others outside the workplace, the better they will be able to connect with their callers.

We aim to hire the type of people you would hire

A call centre should be considered as an extension of your own business. In fact, when your customers get put through to a call centre, in most cases they should not even be aware that the person with whom they are speaking is not directly employed by you.

The customer service representative should answer the telephone with a script that was agreed upon by you and take the same appropriate action that you would take if you had answered the call yourself.

Because of this, we do our best to look for the same qualities in our employees that you would look for in your own.  Our customer service representatives are patient, have great communication skills, are adept at using the appropriate computer software, have good typing speed and are excellent multi-taskers.

These skills enable them to perform a variety of tasks such as knowing when to forward a call and when to take a message, setting up appointments on your behalf, and even providing sales services. Contracting with a call centre makes good business sense for a variety of reasons, but only if that call centre has excellent people working there. When you contract services from Touch Communications, you can be confident that our excellent people will provide excellent service.

On the road a lot? Prevent distracted driving by using a call centre

We have all heard stories of car accidents that have been caused as a direct result of a driver being distracted by their cellphone. Perhaps even you yourself have been involved in such a collision or know someone who has. But if you run a business, it can be tempting to answer you call every time it rings – even if it takes your focus off the important task of driving.  A hands-free phone in your car is one option, but even this increases the likelihood of you being in an accident. Why not work with a call centre instead – this way you can have confidence that your callers are being taken care of and you can focus on getting yourself safely to your next meeting or appointment.

distracted driving ticket

Is answering my phone really that big a deal?

Many people believe that they can concentrate on their driving while still taking a call. Besides the fact that more and more jurisdictions are imposing strict penalties and fines for distracted driving (which can make that a pretty expensive phone call if you get caught!), the facts about driver distraction and car accidents speak for themselves:

  • Drivers who are distracted are three times more likely to be in an accident.
  • Drivers who are texting on their cellphones are 23 times more likely to be in an accident.
  • 80% of collisions can be attributed in whole or in part to inattentive driving.
  • The economic costs of vehicle collisions (in terms of lost productivity and health care) amount to at least $10 billion each year – that’s is approximately 1% of Canada’s GDP! [i]

Ok, I’m convinced but how can a call centre help me?

As tempting as it may be to answer your phone when you are on the road, the fact is that most callers can wait until you are at least safely parked. And no calls are so important that they are worth risking your safety or the safety of others on the road.

With call centre services from Touch Communication, you can have peace of mind that your callers are getting the same level of professional treatment that they would get from you had you answered the phone yourself.

Touch Communications offers:

  • Friendly and professional customer service representatives who answer the phone with a script and process tailored to your company.
  • CSRs who are able to perform a variety of tasks on your behalf such as answering basic questions, scheduling appointments in an online calendar, and forwarding calls to an appropriate person in your organization.
  • 24/7 service so that your callers can get through any time day or night.

With the widespread use of cellphones, distracted driving has become a major problem in today’s hectic world where we always feel like we need to be connected. But you can make a choice to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.  Stay off your phone while you are driving and make sure that your employees do the same. Let Touch Communications assist your callers while you get safely to your destination.

[i] Source: http://distracteddriving.caa.ca/education/

 

Touch Communications checks out Winter Fest

We checked out Winterfest 2016 at the Hamilton Central Library! Local History and Archives staff have gone into the vaults and selected some amazing images of Hamilton during the winter. 

Winterfest is full of local events, entertainment and exhibits every winter and we’re happy we got to check out some of these rare photos!

 

Winterfest collage