Understand the phone's unique challenges

From the course: Phone-Based Customer Service

  • Course details

    Customer service expert Jeff Toister helps customer service specialists develop the specific skills needed to help customers over the phone. Learn how to break the ice and develop rapport with the people you serve, even when you're pressed for time. Tune out distractions and develop listening skills that are critically important to phone service. Last, learn how to express empathy, de-escalate angry callers, and stay focused throughout the day.

    Instructor

    • Click here to view Jeff Toister’s instructor page

      Jeff Toister

      Customer Service --> Writer | Consultant | Trainer

      Jeff Toister is an author, consultant, and trainer who helps customer service teams unlock hidden potential.

      He is president of Toister Performance Solutions, Inc., a consulting firm that helps companies improve customer service. Jeff has appeared on numerous lists of top customer service experts including Global Gurus' World's Top 30 Customer Service Professionals, ICMI's Top 50 Thought Leaders to Follow on Twitter, and HDI's Top 25 Thought Leaders in Technical Support and Service Management.

      Jeff is the author of The Service Culture Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service, a practical guide that helps leaders develop customer-focused cultures in their organizations. The book draws upon profiles of successful companies, shares cutting-edge research, and provides practical tools.

      He is also a nationally recognized employee training expert, and was one of the first people to receive the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance certification from the Association for Talent Development. In 2015, Jeff was awarded the CPLP Contributor Award by ATD for his numerous contributions to the program. He is a past president of ATD's San Diego chapter, where he was a recipient of the WillaMae M. Heitman Award for distinguished service.

      Jeff lives in California and serves clients throughout the United States.

    Skills covered in this course

  • Welcome

    - Serving customers over the phone presents some unique challenges. I'd like to share a few of those challenges with you to give you an idea of what to watch out for. One of the biggest challenges is you and your customer can't see each other's body language. This makes it hard to decode a customer's emotions, since we use our bodies to communicate how we're feeling. This could be a smile, open or closed posture, or even a look that says, I'm confused or I'm frustrated. Understanding our customer's emotions gives us clues about how they'd like to be served. Let's try an example. I'm gonna play an audio clip of a customer conversation. See if you can identify the customer's emotions. - [Voiceover] Hi, can I help you? - [Voiceover] Yes, I had a question, is it 25% off of every-- - [Voiceover] Yes it is, you get 25% off the lowest price. - [Voiceover] Okay, but what I wanted to know is if you get 25% off-- - [Voiceover] Yes, you even get 25% off clearance items. - [Voiceover] That's not what I'm asking. When does the sale end? - [Voiceover] Oh, it's on until Sunday. - [Voiceover] Okay, that's good to know, I'll just keep looking if you don't mind. - [Voiceover] Okay. - So what did you hear? You might have noticed the employee was interrupting the customer and he was starting to get a little annoyed. Now let's see what that scene looks like when you can see the customer's body language. - Hi, can I help you? - Yes, I had a question, is it 25% off of every-- - Yes it is, you get 25% off the lowest price. - Okay, but what I wanted to know is if you get 25% off-- - Yes, you even get 25% off clearance items. - That's not what I'm asking. When does the sale end? - Oh, it's on until Sunday. - Okay, that's good to know, I'll just keep looking if you don't mind. - Okay. - You probably noticed the same basic problem you heard in the audio version. The customer got annoyed with being interrupted. But did you notice the customer's body language? He appeared to be more annoyed than he sounded when we could just hear the audio. The customer service rep should have apologized for interrupting rather than just walking away. Distractions can also prevent us from being fully present with our customers. Here's a scene that shows some common distractions that we face when serving customers over the phone. - How may I help you? Okay. Uh-huh. Absolutely. Yes ma'am. I'm so sorry about that. - We'll probably miss an important opportunity to serve if we can't tune out those distractions. Fatigue is another difficult challenge. We often work in fast-paced environments and that can really wear us down after a long day. It's generally easy to be upbeat and positive on your first call of the day. - Thank you for calling customer service, this is Kristen, how may I help you? - But it's a lot tougher on your 50th call of the day. - Thank you for calling customer service, this is Kristen, how may I help you? - Okay, these are just a few of the challenges that are unique to serving customers over the phone. Throughout this course I'll give you techniques that can help you overcome these obstacles and may others. So if you're ready let's get started.

  • Download courses and learn on the go

    Watch courses on your mobile device without an internet connection. Download courses using your iOS or Android LinkedIn Learning app.

Contents