In today’s integrated customer marketing environment, the customers receive information regarding products and services through a variety of channels. Even customer service requests can be used to increase sales with upsells and cross-sells.
How can we make our offering sound different from the rest? Two phrases I always remember hearing my parents say were “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” and “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” Those pearls of wisdom are relevant when selling in a contact center environment.
Here is how we update thsse two phrases for 2012:
It IS what you say AND how you say it—each and every time.
You have less than 30 seconds to make a lasting impression.
How can our client help us make the products and services sound different? Most clients provide us with specific call guides or scripts, often designed to meet specific compliance requirements. We understand the importance of these tools, but many times there are other aspects of the scripts/call guides where we can work with you to create a more compelling presentation.
Here are a few points to consider:
How we initially engage with the customer sets the tone for the call.
If we start the conversation in a “traditional” manner (example, “Hello, may I please speak to…”) we may find immediately that a customer is less likely to engage with us. Finding creative ways to introduce ourselves including starting with our name first or finding creative phrases to start the call can disarm customers almost immediately.
Engaging the customer with dialogue can also put them at easy immediately.
Taking a moment to acknowledge the importance of their time, common courtesies, asking them if the time is convenient, etc., are sure ways to allow the customer to feel more in control of the conversation.
If we do have a brief period of time to create a bond with the customer they will listen more closely to the conversation.
The opening of the conversation is indeed the most critical time for us.
Once we have made our lasting impression, what we say and how we say it comes into play.
We all are attuned to listen in a way where certain words can catch our attention. Have you ever been passively listening to a television commercial and hear a word or phrase that makes you stop and pay attention? The same principles apply when presenting information to a customer.
We find that customers listen longer and more carefully when key words or phrases are utilized to “grab” their attention.
What kinds of things grab our attention? Emphasizing key words that are meaningful, a feature followed by a benefit, using words or phrases that apply in our every day environment, using examples, slowing down our pace when points are important, etc.
Careful evaluation of call guides to present information to the customer in a way that compels them to listen is always something we reinforce. Any time our clients can work internally to provide us the flexibility (within guidelines) to use all of these tools (including modifying the guides themselves) we invariably see increases in customer satisfaction, and our selling abilities.