You may not want to believe it, but your first customer service impression will stage the way to how your customer service interaction will take place.
Research has shown that 90% of the lasting impression you make on others come from the first 90 seconds of contact.
You have a unique opportunity
As the first point of contact (hopefully), you have an incredible amount of influence on the customer in the first 90 seconds. Once that impression is made, it’s much more difficult to change the impression of how the interaction is going to go so make that minute and a half count.
How to greet an incoming phone call
Incoming phone calls can be tricky, but make sure they always have a personal touch to them. For example:
How not to answer:
ABC software how can i help you.
How to answer with a personal touch:
Thank you for calling ABC software, this is John. How can I help?
The difference is small but can make a big impact. Personalizing the interaction disarms the customer and makes them feel like they are important rather than just the 200th call in the phone queue. This difference will definitely improve the quality of a first customer service impression.
A smile counts
As simple as is sounds, smiling over the phone and body language counts in how you are expressing yourself over the phone. According to a study by scientists at the University of Portsmouth, “Smiling affects how we speak, to the point that listeners can identify the type of smile based on sound alone”. So smiling matters, but by how much? It turns out it’s a lot. 84% of communication over the phone is vocal and not verbal, which means that a smile can do a lot for that initial impression.
Ask questions and listen with empathy
After you greet your customer with a smile, listen to why they are calling. They are speaking to you for a reason, so before you have the urge to ask a bunch of questions, make sure you listen to them fully and empathize with them and give them reassurance. Once that is done, you can gather whatever information you need to continue supporting them such as entitlements. Try something like this:
You: Thank you for calling ABC software, this is John. How can I help?
Customer: Thanks, my server is broken and it’s a holiday and this sucks.
You: I’m so sorry to hear that, what an awful day. Let me see what i can do to get you back up and running. Can i please get your name and license number.
Make first customer service impressions consistent
Having consistent first impressions count. No ones wants to go into a restaurant and get substandard service one day and great service the next. You would much rather go somewhere that has consistently given you great service even if the food is a little less up to par. Service counts and so does it’s consistency. Make sure that with any customer service strategy you come up with that you consistently deliver and maintain it thru regular agent monitoring.