10 Things You MUST DO Before You Call Your Customer

Posted on Posted in customer relationships

Businesses have come a long way since the old days, when telemarketing meltdowns were a daily occurrence. Things are better now. That’s largely due to training.

These days phone people know what they’re doing.

Any telemarketer can tell you the first key to engaging your listener is to smile. The person on the other end can hear when you smile. They can also hear when you don’t.

One Client Call Success Story

I tell a story about my early days in the corporate world. I shared the office with a woman who managed a young male population. They were great guys but young. Most of them still lived with parents.

Not a day went by that you wouldn’t find her calling one of our guys to finish up paperwork. She endured much frustration on this job, but you’d never know it to hear her voice. Instead, she’d vent her anger by hurling a tennis ball against the wall with a BAM.

“You received the form in the mail, Mr. …” SMILE. SMILE.
“I sent it registered mail, and I have the return receipt in my hand.” BAM. … SMILE.
“It says you got it yesterday.” BAM. … SMILE.

The guys at that company loved her. They knew she cared. Still, the scene never failed to bring a smile to my face.

Have The Right Customer Call Mindset

When someone pays you money for products or services and picks up the phone to talk … you’ve been given a gift … they’re listening.

You owe it to them to bring them everything you’ve got to give, including a genuine smile. It’s good etiquette and it’s good business.

Here’s some advice to make client calls awesome. After all, don’t the biggest rewards come when customers are delighted?

Ten Tips For Great Customer Calls

1. Listen to your jam, especially when you’re having a rough day. There’s nothing like an upbeat melody or snappy lyrics to help shake the blues. In fact, new research shows that listening to music can alter (or reinforce) your mood. It’s like hitting an emotional reset button. If you work in a crowded office, use your iPod and ear buds so as not to disturb coworkers.

2. Eat something. You might be watching your calories but testiness may result of being hungry. Thinking takes work. Scientific American in a recent article stated:

Though our brains are only 2% of our overall body weight, they consume 20% of our resting metabolic rate.

When you’re nervous, capillaries expand to allow more glucose and oxygen to get nutrients where they’re needed.

When you’ve got a desk full of papers and a phone message list ten deep, your mind needs extra fuel. If you’re feeling cranky, it might be your body telling you it’s time to fill up the tank.

Eat something but with one caveat: overeating can be as bad as no eating. Both can interfere with blood flow to your noggin.

3. A ten-minute nap. One thing productive artists and writers will tell you is the importance of getting enough sleep. The parts of your brain that work creatively need solid periods of rest. And while customer service might not qualify as artistic, helping people can be very creative.

Dr. Oz says the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Not only does that help  your mind to function at its peak, but it can actually help you lose weight.

Getting all the sleep you need isn’t always possible, but a little catch up nap can take the edge off.

4. Go for a walk. The light from sunshine covers a wide spectrum. Our brains function better when we’re exposed to the high frequencies found in sunlight. Extra oxygen in your bloodstream from exercise also helps your brain.

Getting outdoors improves the your state of mind. Studies show that sunshine not only lifts our moods but it is essential for mental health. Sunlight is used by mental health professionals in battling depression. Sunlight helps regulate the body clock, which allows for deep sleep. The production of vitamin D plays into this.

5. Review your client’s file. It’s always a good practice to review client details. That way you’re up to speed on past issues, and not caught off guard.

Log the dates and times of phone calls. Track past concerns. What models of products or levels of service does your client use?

Use what you find in the file to…

6. Give something of value. The higher the value, the more satisfied your client will be.

Value is in the eye of the beholder. Does his problem threaten him/her on one of these levels? Identify with your client. Does (s)he need:

• A sense of safety
• A feeling of importance
• Respect
• Improved ability to deliver to his clients

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own.” Henry Ford

7. Listen without interrupting. Find suggestions here. Don’t plan what you’re going to say. Hear the other person out. Jot ideas down and review when it’s your turn to talk.

Ask questions. Be prepared for criticism, and don’t take it personally.

8. Take as much time as you need. Shift other priorities around. But don’t make the mistake of telling other clients in detail that your first client’s problem has pushed them aside.

“…successful polygamy depends upon pretending to each spouse that she is the only pebble on the beach.”  David Ogilvy

9. Ask the client to write down their problem. Getting things on paper will save time in the long run. Sometimes the client is uneasy because (s)he’s in reaction mode. He may need time to reflect to be able to identify what isn’t working.

While your client is getting things figured out, you may still need to do some fixing to buy time. But refuse to move forward on anything substantial until you get a clearly defined statement of the problem in writing.

It’s impossible to hit a moving line. Until the client states for him or herself the nature of the problem is, you’ll never be able to fully satisfy him.

10. Schedule a followup call. Do this before you hang up. It’s critical for building trust and collaboration with your client.

Thank’s it for now. Until next time … to your success!

If you’ve got a customer tip or incident you’d like to share, please leave me a comment.

Photo courtesy of HubSpot

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2 thoughts on “10 Things You MUST DO Before You Call Your Customer

  1. Thank you Rita. You have given us some very helpful reminders and resources. And thank you for giving me permission to do some of the things that I often worry could be seen as procrastination. 🙂 my favorites are the “10 minute nap” and “eat something.” Also I recently read about how exercise stimulates the brain. So we have a choice – nap or exercise. Take your pick!

    1. I know. The nap exercise quandry has long been a pickle for me. I remember in my twenties going for days on sleep deprivation and wondering why I struggled to get meaningful work done. Glad you enjoyed the article.

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