In very simple terms, customer service means keeping customers satisfied and happy so that they keep coming back to your company and even refer your products and services to the people they know. Though this sounds simple, the challenge is in the fact that every customer is very different and unique in his or her own way. Handling people who belong to various cultural and economic backgrounds, age-groups, social contexts, and different genders can create new challenges every day for any customer service agent. It is helpful to have good English conversation skills when you are interacting with different people.
Though one may have to handle every customer differently, some basics of interacting with people remain the same. If you keep these in mind, you can have effective, productive, and meaningful conversations with your customers.
Listen to the Customer
One of the most important things to be kept in mind is listening to the customer. Listen to what the customer is saying attentively and carefully. Along with the words, also pay attention to the tone in which the customer is talking because words and tone together convey the real or full meaning of the customers.
Be as Observant as You Can
Another skill that is required while interacting with customers is observing their body language. This is because there may be times the customer is saying something, but their body language is indicating something completely different. Paying attention to postures, gestures, and facial expressions along with the words is equally important. For example, constantly shaking one’s leg can be a sign of boredom or impatience. Similarly, hands clasped behind one’s back can be interpreted as anger, frustration or apprehension.
Have Good Body Language
A successful interaction with a customer requires the customer service agent to pay attention to his or her own body language as well. Some postures and gestures that customer service agents should avoid are stroking their chin constantly, looking down while talking, or biting their nails. These show insecurity, nervousness, and lack of confidence.
Of course, a customer service executive working in a BPO will almost never see the other party and will have to rely on the tone of their voice coming over a telephone line! So you should have proficient English conversation skills.
When your interaction with the customer is not face to face, but over the telephone, like in a BPO or even in the office of a hotel: what then? Is body language important even when no one can see you but only hear you? The answer is yes, of course! Body language is reflected over the phone by means of the speaker’s voice i.e. tone and words. For example, a smile is carried through the voice. While talking to any customer over the phone, a customer care agent should always show pleasure and show it via the smile because it carries through.
In addition, while interacting with customers over the phone, always maintain correct body language while sitting because just like the smile, this also reflects in your tone or voice. If you are not alert and sitting straight, it may reflect in the way you speak. For example, when you call a friend and he or she is sleeping, their tone is sleepy. For a successful customer care executive, body language is just as important as for a sales person standing across the counter. It is believed that an energetic and attentive attitude can be conveyed over the phone if the service representative is sitting and breathing the right way.
Remember – the goal is to achieve great customer service. In today’s competitive markets, just being good is not enough. If you want the business to grow, to be profitable, and you also want to grow and be successful in your career, always provide your customers with a great experience through your best performance.
Develop English Conversation Skills
A good hold on English language and English grammar can enhance your conversations with the customers. Your English should be clear and concise so that the client is able to understand you well. You can improve your spoken English skills by practising speaking in English regularly.
Here is a story that shows us an an excellent example of what good customer service is.
There’s Hair in My Soup!
At the restaurant where I work, there is a monthly award given to the best server at each branch. This award gets the winner an extra holiday and the chance to treat his or her friends or family to a meal at the restaurant. It is a very popular award! Polly, my colleague, has won this award 7 times in the last year. Today, I understood why.
It was dinner time and the restaurant was packed with people. There wasn’t a single free table. Our team of servers was working very hard just to get people their orders in time.
At one of the tables, there was a family of 4 waiting for their order. The husband and wife were having an argument. Their two small children were talking loudly, kicking each other under the table, and playing with the forks and spoons. Polly was their server. I was glad it wasn’t me!
I watched her as she waited for a gap in the couple’s conversation to ask if they were ready to order. She smiled and talked to them, explaining the menu, and taking their orders.
Soon, Polly brought them their food and they started eating. Suddenly, we heard a loud scream from the table. Then the lady shouted, “There’s a hair in my soup! This is disgusting!” All the other customers stopped eating and looked at the lady. I felt sorry for Polly and thought about how she would handle this situation. Polly put down the plates she was carrying, walked over to the lady and said, “Ma’am is there a problem with your food?” The lady shouted, “Of course, there’s a problem. There’s a strand of hair in my soup. How can this happen? I thought this was a good restaurant but it’s horrible!” Polly waited politely for the lady to finish talking. Then, she said simply, “Ma’am, I’m sorry that you had this bad experience. I’m sure you were looking forward to enjoying a nice meal. Do let me bring you a fresh bowl of soup. And of course, please let us say sorry by bringing dessert for all of you after your meal.”
Polly’s sincere words and tone and her kind offer seemed to impress the lady. Her voice was softer when she said, “Okay – I’ll try another bowl of soup. Thanks.” Serving soup that had hair in it was the restaurant’s mistake. However, since Polly handled the situation well, I think the family will not mind coming back to give us another chance.
Customers are key to any business. Great English conversation skills go a long way in providing good service to customers.