What is customer empathy in top call centers?
In these jittery times, the positive experiences due to customer empathy in call centers around the globe are largely underestimated by both heads of call centers and their employees.
Empathy in customer service qualifies agents to view the problems as customers or prospects do. To describe the meaning of empathy statements in this guide, it's better in the following issues:
- When there's a lack of customer satisfaction – you understand the value and reasons why is empathy important in your customer service call center;
- When an issue for a particular group of prospects and customers arouse – your customer service team knows the proven ways to address them;
- When customer satisfaction because of relevant service is reached - they say thank you. Not only because your call center agents are pleasant and good-looking people. But because reps are empathic and bring perceived value to their lives.
Thus, customer empathy, in essence, means your customer service team conducted their homework. Because of that homework, they feel confident enough to hit the ground running with the ready-to-go solution.
And most importantly, they are professionals, and even if the customer wishes to vent – it's easy peasy for them to accept the situation.
Customer empathy anticipates success and disarms nearly all difficult customers
Yes, what you are saying is equally important as how you are saying it. For instance, you have all the facts on the table about customers' inquiries. Your team's guidance system toward solutions is working perfectly.
All they need is just time. But if they are unable to establish a trustworthy human connection even with the loyal customer – they are gone. That's the weakness and sooner or later it shows up in customer complaints. However, there are a couple of proven solutions before you use statements for customer service:
First, Enable customer service call center agents to do their homework until they can answer your questions in the middle of the night.
Second, Enable agents to behave like professionals in any kind of situation, including listening to customers that want to vent. Or those who look at the situation through their perspectives, perhaps faulty ones.
That's it. Once you fulfill these two rules listed above, rest assured of one thing – your bank account will always increase. What's the caveat?
The only one – knowing what and even knowing the whole list of empathy statements is only 30% of the success. The hardest part is the actual implementation of this plan.
And here's where the only head call center's job is. But in this guide, you'll find out the step-by-step blueprint on how to bring the successful theory to fruition. Read on.
How do you put customer empathy into the work?
Successfully establishing empathy in the customer service call center practically is the most respective achievement every company can possibly reach.
That also tells to customers: "Hey, this isn't the fly-by-night company, but perhaps the best solution on the market". And secondly: "Yes, they charge me a fee, yet the wallet isn't mattered as I am".
And, of course, everything in between. Evidently, customers look only for these companies on the market, which accomplish two kinds of things listed above.
How do consumers seek them? They sense your company employee's confidence, treatment, and results. And toss everyone else, if able to do so, to the "outsiders section".
And if you want to be the 5-star company that keeps its current consumers as well as the new ones. You need to know the surest and best ways how to reach customer empathy. There are ways to develop outstanding empathy in a customer service call center if you are ready to pay the price.
Because constantly growing customer base as well as the retention of your occasional consumers – customer empathy comes at a price. Overall, it is ready to bring tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars to those who are able to pay it.
If you only knew how many times customer empathy saved both B2B and B2C relationships
When consumers are satisfied with goods and services 100%, they need a little bit of extra – a few professional actions and workable statements for customer service.
In other words, they want you to treat them like a good partner – always on the place, ready to help them. Even give a thank you note or call to foster business relationships.
Moreover, workable empathy statements and strategies drastically change your business in hard times. How? Very simple though, with the ready-to-go scripts or empathy statements call center listed below.
In those circumstances, your company fails either because of the delivery, internet, or whatever. Your customer service agent's pleasant, professional, confident, and more importantly – empathetic statements and behavior make the working process flow.
It's a powerful tool to disarm the tensest situation, even in cases where a lot of money is on the line. Or in some cases, angry customers are ready to blow up on someone who gives them an opportunity.
And believe it – there are a lot of cases happening every day when call centers with a lack of customer empathy lose many customers and health because of it.
The customer is not a moron. She's your wife
That's how David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Matter, one of the world's largest advertising agencies, quipped about the meaning of empathy and a sense of immediacy.
And this is some piece of knowledge that most heads of call centers and reps are misunderstood. They miss the mark on three important issues:
Knowledge of the product or service your call center constantly provides - has paramount importance. You must know all the possible specs and aspects of its usage. The huge advantage is to be advised about other similar solutions on the market.
Knowledge of a customer is equally important because you must dive into the prospect's or customer's mind to find out their perspectives.
Your actions in occasional and unique cases regarding the product or service? If you are unable to solve the issues, even the most obvious ones, then perhaps you need to conduct your homework to find out the answers to customers' frequent questions and objections. By the way, check the agent's preparation before the shift.
Hiring is the first step on the path to top empathy in customer service
Do you want to be close to the truth in hiring personnel that could be empathetic all the time? Do you want to never question yourself on how to achieve customer loyalty with the right customer service agent? Then hire people with a perspective on the long-lasting results.
Consider that pressure and tense situations will arise from time to time. And the individual has to be a professional in those situations. Or have a high-caliber motivation to work in the sales or customer service call center.
By the way, by hiring the right person, you'll never miss the mark – but save a lot of time and money. Because once you are onboarding employees, you put a lot of personal time and money into their preparation, retention, and training.
Follow these steps in your hiring and onboarding process:
- Firstly, Identify the reason why the particular person wants to work in the highly tense, stressful, and not easy customer service industry. Is there money involved? Or does this person naturally like to talk with people, assist them and perform as a sales or customer service individual?
- Second, Make your personal list of qualities of the best agent. Include the info regarding the quality of customer service such as record, motivation, emotional intelligence, speaking habits, etc.
- Third, Ask the question of how the person sees himself one year from now.
Hint: most of the wanna-be employees – never know the answer to this question and are puzzled by it.
However, those who are motivated well enough can answer you quickly on their one-two-three most important reasons why they wish to work in sales or customer service in the call center industry.
- Fourth. This step is working only in case all three steps listed above are successfully passed. The next action would be testing in the real working shift, starting from the easiest routines.
In office-based companies, successful managers with top performance conduct the following routine. They spend a whole day near the person they've just hired and watch their performance.
They look at how they behave with colleagues and callers. And how they ask the question because they inevitably will have a lot of them.
At the end of the day, you outline a complete picture of what exactly a person has. That would be your solid ground on the decision of whether to onboard the person or not.
During remote work, it's also possible to conduct the same routine. For instance, the Voiptime Cloud call center software enables you to do the same thing.
You have the live dashboard and watch how exactly each of the agents performs. If you urgently need call center software, you might be interested in the following.
Are you in a hurry? If so, for even faster service, you can also order by phone. Just contact the Voiptimecloud office. Our lines are open from 8 AM to 1 PM Eastern, from Monday to Friday. And our phone number is:
Contact the Voiptime Cloud office by visiting voiptimecloud.com and using web chat in the lower-right corner of the screen. For the fastest response use the chat from 8 AM to 1 PM Eastern, same, from Monday to Friday.
Or fill out the brief form for prompt review and preparation of your request, especially when you reach us outside of working hours, on Saturday or Sunday. In case of an order form, our team will contact you promptly and at the nearest time.
Why is this important to make the hiring process very savvy?
Because there are a lot of agents that burned out and quit their call centers due to incompatibility with work. They harmed their companies because they invested time and money in them as well as they harmed themselves.
That's where your job as a head of a call center is the toughest one. You have to find out the ways to screen out and distinguish motivated and intelligent individuals from fly-by-night money chasers. Conduct the hiring process with all seriousness and you'd achieve fabulous results.
Top call center empathy training tips for your customer service or sales team of any size
To ensure empathy training for customer service, you must have:
Preparation. Customer service agents are able to make winning empathy a part of their strategy, only when they are doing their homework.
It means they know every occasional issue customers may ask them. And they know unique cases of inquiries. Putting this homework together grants the stand-out of the crowd performance of your team.
The homework is important because none of the winning empathy could repair the damage that unprepared customer service agents constantly produce. Customers can sometimes forgive mistakes from time to time.
But when mistakes or misleadings are more than actual performance – that will trigger anybody to switch to another brand.
Solution: As a manager furnish your agents with all the necessary materials for conducting successful sales or customer service jobs. Include your recent customer experience also.
Think about how agents can perceive your materials and how you need to structure them to make studying these materials fast and easy
Professionalism. Top agents are aware of the cases when callers can go on rant or vent. They have to stay focused on their professionals, put zero concerns in the situation, and demonstrate A-class professionalism.
It's vital to behave in such a manner because, in the long run, those agents that are too much sensitive to these calls can quit the job. And that's no good for a call center.
Timely action. Agents must know cases when they are authorized to carry on or need to transfer the call further. Even high-caliber agents that know factors of influence on customer experience are forced to transfer calls once in a while.
Live experience. Nothing can replace the live work that demonstrates how exactly you can perform by addressing the live calls on customer issues.
Solution: The manager or supervisor are qualified for this task. The manager or supervisor grabs the headphones with the micro and receives or initiates a call.
You'll show how to achieve two things within one single call. First, a decent level of customer service. And second, the necessary customer experience.
Hint: Show also to everyone, how you can handle the unique cases.
It's easy to enable in the office, but how can you do this in the remote call center? As simple as it sounds. You just record customer interactions, and then you can send it to all of your agents for actual studying.
For instance, the Voiptime Cloud call center software has a feature of call recording. You or your supervisor can easily record the customer service conversations for coaching purposes.
Useful and practical words and empathy phrases for your customer service team
Take a look at these proven cases of sympathy and empathy in customer service examples and statements for call center agents. To make your agents easily emphasize with consumers train them to do the following:
To be more personal. Agents address customers with Mr or Mrs. Smith. For instance: "Good day, Mrs. Smith, how can we help you today?" Just remember this: never overdo with the "Mr or Mrs. (name)". Otherwise, it would sound unnatural.
Ask a question for clarification. Once in a while, the info you receive from callers is quite puzzling with the grey areas. Just clarify them in such a manner: "Mr. Jones, you said that the internet is absent even after you paid for it online?"
Or "Mrs. Williams, please tell me about the current status of lights on your router. Please tell me exactly what you are seeing".
It's essential to clarify everything because you'll make your customer's life much easier when they understand what really happens in advance.
In case, you end the processing of the inquiry successfully. "We are glad that help you today Mr. Jones. Is there anything else we can help you with? Or perhaps you can ask a few questions regarding… (product or service)."
You can also use this situation to make an upsell or cross-sell. By attracting the interest of the customer, you are literally increasing the chance of additional revenue velocity.
Thank you note. Say this, and your customer will be delighted: "It's been a pleasure to talk to you, Mrs. Tom". That will give your customer extra points towards establishing the relationship.
Examples of empathy statements listed above are already responsible for disarming a lot of dangerous situations and establishing great business relationships.
The process of building customer empathy in a call center
One of the 100% ways is to train agents in sharp identifying the inquiry's status. Train your agents to ask every time the relevant question: what's exactly on the table?
Is there some technical issue or there's trouble with the account or else? The faster agents are able to identify the issue, the more rapidly they are qualified to hit the ground running with the ready-to-go solution.
Check the performance of agents once in a while. Have a personal schedule when you work out such small yet effective checking procedures.
You are able to connect to the calls silently to listen to customer service interactions. Then you can easily contact the employees to discuss the performance.
Hint: There will always be something to improve.
The more you tell facts, the more you sell
Yet you need to know what exactly to say to your consumers based on the solid emotional intelligence ground.
Just because the more you know about your consumers, the easier it will ease building rapport with them and build empathy in a customer service team. For instance, today's call center software is able to contain information about callers. And that drastically makes the work of agents easier.
Additional tips for winning empathy in a customer service call center
Here is a couple of them:
Build your website with the precision consumers will visit it and accomplish research;
Create big databases on your website. At any time, touch on occasional and unique cases to make your consumers always solve their issues single-handedly.
Track the feedback you achieve. Now, you are not able to track every feedback you achieve because one of them could be redundant, and so on and so forth.
However, pinpoint in your schedule the time for reviews. And even ask your supervisor or senior person to report about them directly to you, once a time.
What's more important is to have talking or listening empathy skills.
You are perhaps skeptical about this, but listening is equally or perhaps more important than talking. In this case, active listening means more than talking skills.
While your customer is talking you are building your customer's mental map, figuring out the inquiry, and building the solution.
It's easy to build customer empathy when you control yourself. Too many employees quit their jobs because they are incapable of taking the pressure and consequently stress coming from customers. Here are a few tips to overcome them:
Smile before you are picking up the phone. It's researched and defined by psychologists that if a person smiles for 3 seconds before the call – they are likely to start the human interactions in a good mood. And consequently, create a winning empathy environment.
Relaxed body language. If your agent sits straight when the back is in a comfortable and right position. And when they have no muscle strain because of the stressful situation.
That would drastically reduce stress. Because psychologists long time ago discovered that relaxed people are sheltered from stressful conditions and have more warmth in their tone of voice.
Overcoming the fear of nothing. That is the situation in which the employee is humble to ask the question regarding the subject. While the risk of hostile or stressful conversation drops to a minimum every time with a fearless attitude.
For instance, If you misunderstood a caller or you have doubts, you need to ask clarification questions. Just ask them directly in such a manner: "Mr. Jones, you want to order this product, for the amount of 120$ dollars is that correct?".
Doing otherwise means experiencing the fear of nothing. That shouldn't be the case in your call center.
Use the box-like breathing technique. It's very simple. Take a slow, no deep breath-in, about half of what you normally do (4 seconds per breath at most).
Then hold your breath for 4 seconds. And breathe out slowly. In the end, you can even exhale before exhaling (the effect is better). After 1 or 2 minutes, you'll feel much calmer and better.
Hint: Don't overdo this exercise because it's healthy to breathe in this way throughout the day, yet it's the training for your body. So, do it steadily, once you're tired, start to breathe as you normally do.
Hit the ground running with these ready-to-go customer empathy scenarios
Does your team need proven, confident, and professional-like scripts they are able to use in nearly every conversation? Here are a couple of workable scripts and empathy statements call center for inbound calls:
Introduction: "Thank you for calling (company's name). How can I assist you?
Explanation: The benefit of empathy statements and introduction is actually two: you briefly represent your company name, so the caller surely knows that they've called the relevant company. And the other benefit is you do it very briefly and save an enormous amount of time.
Processing of the order: "I'd like to take care of your order, can you name your name please?"
Explanation: After the moment a caller described to you the purpose of a call, your customer service agent uses personal pronouns, like the first or second name of the caller, to make the call more personal. And passes the baton to the caller for further conversation.
Can you spell it for me? Here are additional phrases for customer service agents. You see, not every time you are capable of distinguishing clearly the name of your caller, due to numerous reasons. Thus, it's better to say this: "Lizeth Atonal, please can you spell it for me?"
Explanation: The name of the caller is Lizeth Atonal. During a conversation in a call center, even a remote one. It's better to clearly catch the name of a person. Because it's your agent who fills the order forms.
So no mistake is permitted. And it's always great to re-affirm that you correctly hear the name and can speak with the customer using their first or second name.
Thank you for that information. The next phase of the conversation may be the definition of your customer service agent and the exact location of a caller.
It should be this way: "Thank you for that information, Lizeth, may I have your home address (or office) number and area code first?". Next, the caller should inform you about this.
Explanation: While you process the order and specify the exact location of the delivery. You need to fill the form in the order form and plus you need to always check the info. Especially, if you are dealing with a new customer.
Re-affirming the received info about the area code. Your consumer informed you about the area code. Yet you need to always check it out loudly.
It could look likewise: "That's 90239561212. Do you have the fax number or email address?" (After assuring that the info is correct and the info about fax and email.)
For instance, an email from a customer could sound likewise: "Lizeth dot Atonal at Gmail dot com". Don't forget to loudly pronounce the email of the consumer to understand that everything is OK. You proceed to the next.
Explanation: It's vital to achieve the encompassing info from a caller, so you could properly fill the order form (if you have one). Hence you'll always feel more confident, in times, you just ask for sensitive and easy-to-miss information to repeat.
Shipping address. "May I have your shipping address?" And customer replies: "1600 Broadway APT 12 G, New York, live coded 10019 (zip code)".
A customer service representative must reply to an address loudly. And don't forget in this section always includes: "Thank you for the information".
Explanation: Your intention here is to ship your product or arrange the service delivery to the destination. Thus you repeat and reassure the information about the shipping address.
Another positive effect of it is this: every time you ask your caller to repeat such pieces of information, you are making a step closer to building the winning empathy state of the conversation.
Product or service? "What product (or service) are you interested in?" And these are the exact goods or services your company is selling.
On this question, your consumer may reply: "A large pizza with the cheese" Or "dozens of roses" or alike. Perhaps they are willing to order your services. Then you need to repeat the order loudly and say: "Alright, Lizeth, let me process your order, one moment please!"
Explanation: The script listed above is a universal form of asking what exactly product or service customers wish to order.
Perhaps you can arrange your personal script yet by using this one – you are in a winning situation. Anyways, this is the vital part before you jump into the payment procedure.
Ending of the ordering. "Lizeth, you are ordering (order's basket content). The total amount of your order is 50$. And it will be shipped to your address within (you tell the period)."
Sometimes callers ask you to repeat the date or time of the delivery. So you firmly repeat to them: "Within 1 hour, 8 hours, or 24 hours, etc".
Explanation: Repeat all the orders, to sum up, and achieve affirmative approval. Sometimes callers may say: "Wait, there's something I forgot". Or "I want to add a little bit to the order, let's say…".
Empathetic Ending. Your statements for customer service at the end of the conversation may look as follows: "Is there anything I can help you with?"
Your consumer either chooses to ask some extra questions or say something like: "That's all for now, thanks!". But the final word must be from your customer service agent: "No problem (it was a pleasure to talk with you), thank you for calling to (company's name), have a nice day".
Explanation: As you see, building winning customer service empathy during one conversation is easy. Empathy statements and the behavior of your customer service or sales reps can differentiate.
However, the overall structure of the successful empathy statements in a call center strategy looks as you saw above. Because all you have to do is to have a blueprint of the conversation in advance. Do as listed above, and the question of the building of genuine empathy with callers will never arise again.
What do you say during a call to your consumer?
There are a limited number of ways you can destroy the first impression. However, a lot of agents do commit these mistakes and consequently destroy even the winning situation. So here's what you never tell your caller in a call center:
"Hi". The problem with the Hi is so obvious it's really sad that a lot of agents keep doing it. Why? Because “Hi” means that you are talking to someone who is your peer or someone who you know very well.
Thus by saying Hi, you breach the line of professionalism and interview right to a personal relationship. Bad idea – at least if you are not belonging to the consumer's internal circle, never say it.
"Mr or Mrs". You need to always include Mr. or Mrs. Jones (or other names) in your customer interactions. Lay people say that Mr or Mrs preface would build the wall between you and a customer.
But that's not true. And even if a small category of your consumers which is less than 5% would consider that as a weakness.
The other 95% will feel your empathy and appreciate it. Sometimes reps have a lot of knowledge about customer experience and literally "sense" that they can directly address consumers. Well, and they succeed in it. But you need to consider all pros and cons to make the decision about this kind of behavior.
Limited creativity. Talking with the consumers is really entertaining and intense work. However, you need to focus and never go too far from the subject. So be energized, be motivated and persuade with zeal, yet never go too far from the subject.
For instance, if your caller wants to achieve the service or solution. It would be rather uncomfortable if you will talk only about the number of similar cases on this issue today, about dozens of cases you have already solved, etc.
If you are interested in the subject, take a look at the state of customer research from Microsoft.
Everything in the world is negotiable
The empathetic approach in relationships in B2B, B2C, or both environments will always be relevant. That's because all people around the globe want two things: perfect goods and services. And second, a little bit of personal treatment but not flattery.
Here's where your empathetic customer service could make a difference and break even to the top 10 call centers. The head of a call center now accomplishes the goal after reading this guide.
Moreover, effective empathy statements are relevant today and just wait for usage. But as you now understand - knowing what to do is only 30% of success. The road ahead is to actually bring these tips in the day-by-day working and training.