Whether you are an anonymous cog in the gears of a giant call center or you are self-employed working in your home office, it’s important to answer your phone well. By the time you finish greeting the customer, he or she has already made a judgment about you, what kind of mood you’re in, and how easy you’ll be to work with. Depending on queue times, it’s not uncommon for a customer to listen to a monotone or gruff CSR bark out a greeting and decide to hang up and try again for someone who sounds like they’ll be more pleasant to work with.
Greeting the customer with an inviting, positive, professional greeting can put the customer at ease, endear you to the caller and start the call off on the right foot. Here are the common ingredients for a World-Class greeting:
- Offer a salutation. This might be "Thank you for calling…", "Good morning", "Good afternoon", "Hi", "Hello"
- Provide the company name. Unless customers have already been informed by the IVR, it’s important to let them know they’ve reached the right place.
- Provide your name. Customers want to know your name. They want to establish a personal rapport and know that you’re going to be responsible for helping. Not providing your name is grounds for suspicion.
- Invite them into the call. This might be "How can I help you?", "What can I do for you today?", "May I help you?" or any other inviting question.
Some people put these elements all together, and do so well:
CSR: Good morning. Acme Anvils. This is Homer. May I help you?
Yet, the elements don’t have to be delivered in one long statement. Because customers often introduce themselves at the beginning of the call, I’ve heard many stellar CSRs consistently use the elements this way:
CSR: Acme Anvils. This is Homer.
Customer: Yeah, Homer. This is Whylie Coyote.
CSR: Hi Whylie. What can I do for you today?
The last, and arguably most important element, is to present the elements with a positive voice tone. Saying all the right words with a monotone, in mid-yawn, or with the inflection of an angry pro-wrestler is not going to cut it.
One last thought. I discourage companies from greeting the customer with a long, silly, company motto…
CSR: Thank you for calling Radio Shack. You’ve got Questions. We’ve got Answers. This is Myron. Can I help you?
…or answering the phone with an upsell before you’ve even listened to the customer’s issue:
CSR: Thank you for calling Big Brand Booksellers. Are you interested in saving 10 percent on your purchases by joining our book buyers club today?
These greetings do not start the call off in an inviting, helpful manner. They will only serve to aggravate and irritate your customers before they’ve even had a chance to speak.
Related Post: Upselling Basics for Customer Service
Flickr photo courtesy of Troutfactory