You can provide customer service reps with many different types of training. You can help them understand the mission and goals of your organization, teach them how to navigate products and services, prepare them for questions they'll have to answer, and show them how to use your help desk software.
However, one topic that many companies overlook is teaching reps how to speak with customers. After all, these employees are hired because of their ability to communicate. Speaking to customers should come easy then, right?
Just because your reps are friendly, passionate, and well-spoken doesn't mean they share a consistent customer service voice. This lack of consistency can lead to customers having different experiences with your reps when they should be having a consistent, positive experience with every member of the team.
If you're looking to create more consistent communication at your company, you can follow these steps to rally your reps behind your customer service voice.
8 Tips to Build a Customer Service Voice
1. Embrace your identity.
Research shows that customers would much rather speak to a real agent than a chatbot. Of course, this isn't always possible if there's a long queue. However, when the user finally does connect to a human, they should recognize that the person is, in fact, a human.
This means embracing your individual identity. Start the call by telling the customer your name and title, if applicable. Do the same when closing off on emails. This will develop a genuine relationship with the customer and will give them a name to refer to in the future.
Wrong: Hi there, thanks for reaching out to [inset support team name here]. How can I help you?
Right: Hi [Customer's Name], this is Swetha from the [Company Name] support team. What are we working on today?
2. Communicate using natural language.
What is it about being in a professional environment that makes us use words and phrases that are completely unusual and unheard of? Often times, service reps end up speaking overly formal just to be polite, but this effort ends up being awkward which creates barriers between the agent and the rep.
Instead, use natural, day-to-day language to communicate with customers. This doesn't mean unnecessary colloquialisms; just speak how you'd normally speak with someone you don't know.
Wrong: It's my greatest sorrow that I am unable to fulfill an expeditious retort to your query. However, I shall inquire of my colleagues and proclaim to you an apt solution.
Right: That's a great question. I don't have an answer right now, but I will find out and get back to you right away.
3. Stay concise.
On a similar note, don't explain something in a page if you can summarize it in a few sentences. Remember, your customer's time is valuable, so there's no need to elaborate on something if it can be done briefly. In fact, doing so keeps things cleaner and easier to understand for the customer. You should only dive in deeper if it's a serious or complicated issue, or if the customer specifically asks you to.
Wrong: The problem is that your shipping label doesn't seem to be quite right. You see, our shipping labels are printed from a large factory in the midwest and use this special paper that's sent from a private supplier. The texture of those labels fits our packages perfectly and rarely falls off causing misplaced deliveries. So, we have a stern policy that cites we can only accept our brand's pre-approved shipping labels at this time.
Right: This doesn't seem to be our shipping label. If you want to ship this package, you need to use one of our pre-approved labels. That way, you'll be safeguarded from a misplaced delivery.
4. Use positive language.
There are times when you may have to be the bearer of bad news. Use emotional intelligence and try to approach the customer using a pleasant tone and veering on the sunnier side of the situation. While some customers may be more frustrated than others, remaining optimistic can ease their stress and maintain their business, even in the face of a disappointing situation.
Wrong: Unfortunately, that product has been discontinued, so you will not be able to purchase it again.
Right: While that product has been discontinued, there are other options that meet your needs and may be a great fit. Would you like me to walk you through them now?
5. Mirror your customer's tone.
In most settings, you often tailor your tone and body language to the people around you. The same goes for customer service.
If a customer seems light-hearted and friendly, you may consider a more casual tone and cracking a few jokes. However, a customer who's impatient and upset will probably do better with a more serious, formal tone. Mirroring their tone will help you build a more personal relationship.
Customer: Oops, my bad! Mondays, right?
Wrong: Sure, no problem.
Right: Hey it happens to the best of us, no worries!
6. Avoid overused customer service phrases.
There are some lines that have long been associated with customer service. These are the phrases that get under our skin and make us roll our eyes. Why? Because they denote an air of insincerity. In other words, people know you're bluffing.
Wrong: Your call is important to us.
Right: I'm happy to help you in any way I can!
7. Create style guides and templates rather than a script.
Of course, you want to prepare your agents with some sort of guide to help them during calls -- especially when they get stuck with a tricky situation and are unsure how to respond. However, old-fashioned customer service scripts end up producing artificial, robotic reps.
Instead, using style guides and templates can equip your agents with the tools to navigate customer scenarios without feeling overly attached to a script. Style guides can provide important information about your company, while templates help with online conversations and save time when answering FAQs.
8. Show that you want to help.
If you've had a positive experience speaking with a customer, you shouldn't rush to get them off the phone. This leaves them with a bad taste in their mouth, making them believe problem-solving is a chore for you. So, you should close your conversations seeing if there's anything more you can do for them.
Wrong: Okay, great, have a nice day!
Right: Glad I could help. Is there anything else I can help you with today?