When I stand in front of a training class of new CSRs or sit across from a newbie in a coaching session, you can usually feel the fear and insecurity radiating off of them. It’s so thick in the air that you can cut it with a knife. Time afer time, customer service newbies tell me that their greatest fear is being on the phone and not knowing how to answer the customer’s question. You can almost hear the uncomfortable "Ummmmmmmmmmm" as their faces take on the unmistakable look of a deer in the headlights and their brains scramble for what to say.
Here’s my advice: Remember that customers don’t expect you to know all the answers as long as you give them confidence that you can get to the right answer. So, stay calm, take a deep breath, and confidently respond:
"That’s a great question!.." (You’re so smart Mr. Customer – good for you! – it’s a compliment!)
"…Can you hold for a moment?.." (Ask permission, it gives the customer a sense of control)
"…while I get the answer for you…" (You know just where to find that answer!)
"…I know just who to talk to about that…" (You’re connected, you’re networked, you know people)
Once the cusotmer says, "Sure" hit the "hold" button. Now take a deep breath and figure out where to get the answer or who to ask. Instead of sitting there saying, "ummmmmmmm" or leaving the customer in dead air cluing her in that you don’t know what the heck you’re doing – you have successfully:
- Complimented the customer
- Given the customer a sense of control
- Given the customer confidence you know where to find the answer
- Given the customer confidence you know who to talk to about the answer
Now all you have to do is find the answer, but you’ve bought yourself a few moments while the customer is listening to hold music. Hop to it!