Basic Call Handling Tips | Customer Service (With Sample Call Flow)

“Working in a call center is sooo easy, you just have to speak English.” UHM NOPE! Definitely not. If it’s that easy to work in the call center, then call centers will probably not have to hire every single day anymore because people will likely stay longer. But they have to HIRE.. Because the truth is – call center agents come and go.

Now, you might have the best English in town but if you’re not willing to learn the basics of call handling, you’ll have a hard time in your calls. Here, let me share with you my 5 TIPS for better call handling. I’m also going to share basic customer service examples but please take note that your account or company may have specific or strict guidelines to follow so follow them first.

 

1. Get the basics straight.

It’s important to start “strong” – by strong, I don’t mean RAWWR strong. I mean “IMPACT”. It’s not a face to face interaction so you’ve gotta win that first impression.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Introduce yourself and the company briefly.
  • Deliver your greeting or opening spiel properly (this will depend on the what the client instructed as your greeting).
  • SMILE and be UPBEAT. You don’t have to be overly energetic with all your heart because remember, you’re gonna take calls for the entire 8 hours! You might lose your voice and energy by the time your 5th call comes in. Not a good way to start the day.

EXAMPLE: 

Agent: Welcome to YES NINJA, my name is Tinkerbelle and I’m happy to help! May I have your name?

Customer: My name is Katy Perry.

Agent: Hi Ms. Perry, how are you?

Customer: I’m good! But a little frustrated.

Agent: I’m so sorry to hear that. Let me help you. How can I assist you with your concerns today?

GET BASICS STRAIGHT

2. Feelings first before facts.

You’re not speaking with a robot. You’re speaking with a human being with feelings. Although you mean business, your customer is still the center of the whole conversation.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Always remember A.E.R. Acknowledge. Empathize. Reassure. You can only do this when you LISTEN CAREFULLY.
  • Once the customer tells you the concern, be timely in your responses.

Know the difference between EMPATHY and APOLOGY.

You empathize (or give an empathy statement) when you’re not at fault but you feel for the customer. You are trying to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and understand how she might be feeling even though you haven’t necessarily experienced yet what she has gone through.

You apologize when you or the company is at fault or when her concern is a direct result of the company’s policy or procedure, or when you yourself caused the mistake. Therefore you are taking accountability over it.

EXAMPLE: 

EMPATHY

Customer: I’m calling because my flight got canceled earlier so just letting you know that I’m unable to check in to your hotel today. I’d like to adjust the dates of my booking.

Agent: I’m terribly sorry to hear that your flight got canceled Ms. Perry! Rest assured that I’ll take care of your booking concerns right away. Just give me 2-3 minutes to process it.

 

Or you can say…

Agent: Your situation is really tough Ms. Perry and I understand this is inconvenient for you. I’m here to help you resolve your concerns.

 

APOLOGY

Customer: I didn’t wanna call you for this. I tried adjusting my booking online but it seems like it’s not working.

Agent: Yes Ms. Perry, I do apologize for that. As of the moment, our website is undergoing maintenance to serve you better. Don’t worry though, I’ll be here to resolve your booking concerns right away.

EMPATHY AND APOLOGY

3. Ask relevant questions.

Asking relevant questions will help you resolve all the customer’s concerns properly. You can use a combination of open-ended and closed-ended questions depending on your needs.

OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS are questions that allow your customer to elaborate and explain further. You can get as much information as you need depending on the questions you asked. You can use these questions when you want to know more about the issue or concern.

CLOSED-ENDED QUESTIONS are questions that allow your customer to give direct to the point answers. It’s often referred to as the “YES OR NO questions/answers” but it’s not only limited to that. You can use these questions to clarify a point when you don’t need an explanation.

Think of FAST TALK QUESTIONS like “coffee or tea”, “fruits or vegetables”, or multiple choice questions and answers.

 

EXAMPLES:

OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS

Agent: Ms. Perry, I just need to write a couple of things for documentation here. May I know why your flight was canceled?

Customer: Ah yeah, it was quite confusing because at first it was announced that the weather was not good, but then after that, they said the aircraft we’re supposed to use needed maintenance.

CLOSED-ENDED QUESTIONS

Agent: Ms. Perry, are you still going to book our Premier Room?

Customer: Yes.

Agent: And for what dates?

Customer: July 9-14

Agent: So, except for the dates, do you want to retain all other booking details?

Customer: Yes, please.

RELEVANT QUESTIONS

4. Be direct and concise.

Avoid unnecessary chitchats that can make the call longer. Respect your customer’s time. Get to the root of the issue as soon as you can.

The customer’s concern can either be a STATED NEED or IMPLIED NEED.

A STATED NEED is when the customer is vocal and direct about the concern and what she wants to happen. It’s clear from the start.

An IMPLIED NEED is when the customer just states the concern but doesn’t really tell you what she wants to happen. Maybe she doesn’t even have any idea what to do. So it’s your job to find out.

 

EXAMPLES: Going back to examples earlier.

STATED NEED:

Customer: I’m calling because my flight got canceled earlier so just letting you know that I’m unable to check in to your hotel today. I’d like to adjust the dates of my booking.

DIRECT. Agent: I’m terribly sorry to hear that your flight got canceled Ms. Perry! Rest assured that I’ll take care of your booking concerns right away. Just give me 2-3 minutes to process it.

IMPLIED NEED:

Customer: My flight got canceled and I’m really frustrated because I can’t check in to your hotel today. I’m just wasting money here.

NOT DIRECT AND CONCISE. Agent: Wow, that’s really something huh? I’ve been in that situation too and you know what, I also didn’t know what to do. It was really frustrating so I really know what you’re feeling right now. Next time, the airlines should probably make sure everything’s all set. It’s such a hassle.

JUST. STOP.

The customer is not calling to hear your story. She wants a resolution right away,

This is what I personally say especially for complicated needs.

“Here’s what I will do Ms. Perry. I’m going to check your hotel reservation and adjust the dates to your preferred dates. May I know which dates you prefer?”

SEE THAT? DIRECT. CONCISE. CLEAR. BOOM DONE. 🙂

BE DIRECT AND CONCISE.

5. Stay professional but still personable.

Even when you encounter a difficult customer, still stay professional by LISTENING and NOT INTERRUPTING. Avoid making judgments. Again, SMILE because even though your customer can’t see you, they can hear your smile. They will know if you’re frowning.

  • Don’t be too FEELING CLOSE.
  • Don’t put the customer on unnecessary hold.
  • PLEASE and THANK YOU will go a long way.

IN SHORT, be kind and don’t be rude.

Whenever you can, try to personalize your statements. Instead of saying, “I’d be happy to help you with that.” You can say “I’d be happy to help you adjust your booking dates.” It’s a sign that you’re listening.

PROFESSIONAL

 

FULL MOCK CALL SCENARIO

Agent: Welcome to YES NINJA, my name is Tinkerbelle and I’m happy to help! May I have your name?

Customer: My name is Katy Perry.

Agent: Hi Ms. Perry, how are you?

Customer: I’m good! But a little frustrated.

Agent: I’m so sorry to hear that. Let me help you. How can I assist you with your concerns today?

Customer: I’m calling because my flight got canceled earlier so just letting you know that I’m unable to check in to your hotel today. I’d like to adjust the dates of my booking.

Agent: Ohh. I’m terribly sorry to hear that your flight got canceled Ms. Perry! Rest assured that I’ll take care of your booking concerns right away. Just give me 2-3 minutes to process it.

Customer: Thank you. Appreciate it! I didn’t wanna call you for this. I tried adjusting my booking online but it seems like it’s not working.

Agent: Yes Ms. Perry, I do apologize for that. As of the moment, our website is undergoing maintenance to serve you better. Don’t worry though, I’ll be here to resolve your booking concerns right away.

Agent: Ms. Perry, I just need to write a couple of things for documentation here. May I know why your flight was canceled?

Customer: Ah yeah, it was quite confusing because at first it was announced that the weather was not good, but then after that, they said the aircraft we’re supposed to use needed maintenance.

Agent: Oh, I understand that. Thank you.

Agent: Ms. Perry, are you still going to book our Premier Room?

Customer: Yes.

Agent: And for what dates?

Customer: July 9-14

Agent: So, except for the dates, do you want to retain all other booking details?

Customer: Yes, please.

Agent: I have already adjusted the booking dates, Ms. Perry. Everything has been taken care of. Have I addressed all your concerns today?

Customer: Yes, you have. Thank you so much.

Agent: You’re welcome. Thanks for calling YES NINJA. Have an awesome trip!

Watch on YOUTUBE! 

 

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