How to Win Over a Call Center Employee by Being a Charmer
There are many call centers out there that are moving to a quality driven focus. But from my own experience, there are still a lot out there that are driven by metrics such as talk time and incoming call rate. Recently, I have spent a lot of time recruiting for call centers and it has got me thinking about how much better I myself have gotten when dialing up a customer service center.
We constantly hear about how winning people over will help us get what we want. Although I am not the most charming person out there, my ability to charm people has come a long way. And when complaining to customer service folks, I used to seriously lack charm. Frankly, I tended to be mean. As you can guess, it didn’t usually work out well for me. As the saying goes, you win more bees with honey than with vinegar. Whatever. I am an opinionated person, and I knew that I was right.
But, now I am SO much better. And I can do it in a way that I am not creating stress for myself or the unfortunate representative on the other end of the phone. Here’s some tricks I have learned.
1. Get on a first name basis
It sounds corny and uncomfortable, I know. But try it just once. There’s tons of research and arguments out there that business transactions are made better by human connection. Check out my toolbox of inspiring short videos around the web for some great arguments for this. Plus, it’s just a friendly thing to do. Pay attention to the name of the representative on the phone, and use it.
2. If you’re calling for help with a problem, start by asking for help.
Duh, it sounds obvious. But for me, I used to be so wrapped up in the shuffle of my own life I would treat people on the phone as if their only purpose was to solve my problem. Told you I was a jerk.
One of the basics of winning an argument is to create buy in from your audience. Start off with a question by stating something like “Hi Bob, I have a problem, will you help me get to the bottom of it?” This forces Bob to answer the question, creating an attitude of partnership versus opposition.
3. Don’t assume anyone can read your mind
My motto is “the answer is always no unless you ask”. Don’t be afraid to ask for whatever it is that’s going to make you happy. This goes for both the flow of the call as well as any concessions you’re looking for.
If you’re being told that you will be transferred, it’s okay to ask the rep if they would mind hanging on the phone until they’re sure you can be helped by the next person. If your satellite tv has been out for 2 days and you feel you are owed a credit ask for it!
4. If you’re not getting resolution, what’s next?
I am guilty of not taking no for an answer. Maybe it’s my paternal grandfathers stubborn streak in me, or maybe it’s that I’m opinionated to a fault, but I tend to turn the wheels until I’m happy with a resolution. If you are not getting the help you need, ask what other options are available. Make sure that you understand not only everything that is offered as a solution, but how to achieve it.
5. Know when it’s time to ask for a manager
The minute that the representative on the other end of the line is starting to become frustrated, ask if some help can be roped in. Often times, the supervisor or team lead working escalated calls has more experience on how to find viable solutions as well as more authority. I tend to think that it is an old fashioned strategy to put all the knowledge and authority on a call center supervisor, but there are definitely call centers that still operate this way.