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How to Make Your Customers Feel Heard, Even While Collecting Their Information

Every phone call from a customer in an opportunity to delight them and retain their business. Even if they are calling with a complaint or frustration, you and your staff have the ability to create a positive outcome that will inspire your customers to continue to do business with your organization.

What’s the secret? Actually, it’s not a secret at all – just listen. That’s it… LISTEN.

When a customer calls, you likely have a list of important pieces of information to retrieve before you can move on to focus on their reason for calling, but this can irritate an already frustrated caller further. Here are some tips to help you ensure that your customer feels heard and valued, while also collecting the information you need for privacy and recordkeeping purposes:

  1. Have the identity validating questions handy before you answer the call. If you fill in a form, have it nearby the phone so you can grab it.  If you don’t have a form, consider making your own or even just a simple list of what you might need (Name, Address, etc.)

  2. Often, as soon as you greet the caller they immediately tell you about their situation. If they aren’t offering a clear explanation or request, repeat what you think they are asking for.  “So it sounds like you’ll need a plumber out to fix the leak, is that right?”

  3. If your caller starts to repeat him or herself, this could mean that they feel they are not being heard.  Let them speak first, and then confirm what you heard and collect the information you need.

  4. Make sure to repeat anything important like contact information even if you think you have it correct the first time.

  5. Always end the call or the interaction with an Action statement that will demonstrate your desire to assist and support your customer.  “I will have the plumber call you to schedule an appointment right away.”

Bonus tip: remember to clear your desk (and your desktop) of any distractions that could pull your attention away from your caller. If you are expecting the call, put other work, your cell phone, etc. away ahead of time.

With these tips you won’t have to sacrifice your customer’s experience in an attempt to gather the crucial information you may need to help you solve their problem, or answer their questions.