Call Center Greeting

Coaching/Feedback

Oct 01, 2004

What are the essentials to be addressed to have a good call center greeting? -- Mehdi Raza, ITD SaudiPak Commercial Bank

Answers

  • Posted at 12:00AM on Nov 1, 2004

    Mehdi,

    My view is that call centre greetings are (or should be) very specific to the organisation. By that what I mean is that the organisation should be considering their culture, the types of service they are providing from the centre and the types of customers they are servicing. These considerations will influence whether the greeting focusses on brevity and efficiency as opposed to great friendliness and warmth.

    Over and above this, I would say the basics are:

    • You must 'welcome' the customer to talk to you, e.g. welcome to........, you have reached......., good morning / afternoon / evening.......
    • You should clarify which organisation you are and qualifiy which department in some cases.
    • Customers usually appreciate the agent providing their own name as a confirmation of 'ownership' of that call - in many cases this is just first name only, which provides a more friendly and perhaps casual approach (subject to cultural considerations you may or may not use just first name).
    • To provide an offer of help, e.g. how may I help you? can I take details of your order? A word of caution here in terms of how agents say this - this can be prone to a rather 'sing-song' tone and so care must be taken as to how agents actually say this as well as what they say.

    Hope this helps - good luck.

    -- Becky Simpson, Managing Consultant, Improvement Solutions Ltd, UK, and Certified Associate, Incoming Calls Management Institute, Tel. +44 (0) 1926 640787, Fax: +44 (0) 1926 642281, becky@improvementsolutions.co.uk

  • Posted at 12:00AM on Nov 1, 2004

    Greetings Mehdi!

    First, I would like to thank you for your question and offer some assistance. A good telephone greeting, whether the call center's or another department is important isn't it? Those first few words/sentences our customers hear can help create a memorable impression of our company, reinforce brand awareness, create rapport with them and make them feel welcome. So as you might guess, not only are the words themselves important but so is the way those words are delivered via tone of voice.

    In general, greetings should contain:

    1. A salutation
    2. The company's name
    3. The department (if necessary, i.e., sales support vs. technical support group if you have various call centers)
    4. The representative's name
    5. An offer of assistance

    A couple of notes on the above, starting with keep it short and simple. The more words you have, the more errors can be made, the more "rote" the reps may get and frankly, the more likely it is the customer will cut the rep off mid-greeting.

    In addition, consider whether or not you have many repeat customers (meaning customers who call multiple times in one day) and/or if your customers are internal employees. If they are internal employees, you would not need to say the company's name, but you would need the department name.

    Just some examples:

    1. The salutation: Example: "Thank you for calling..." Many companies might ask representatives to say "Good morning or Good evening..." However, you may not wish to do so, since it can cause confusion when you rotate shifts and or support multiple time zones.
    2. The company name: The only caution here is if the company name is very long or if it is an acronym. If it is very long, ensure that your reps enunciate and slow their rate of speech so it doesn't run together. If it is an acronym or if there is one for your company, take care to use only one your customers would be familiar with versus one that is an internal one. You may also use a tag phrase that you want customers to remember (branding). Example: Thank you for calling, XYZ company, where service comes first...
    3. The department, if necessary: Example, Thank you for calling the customer support group for XYZ company...
    4. The representative's name: Example, Thank you for calling the customer support group for XYZ company, this is Ann.
    5. An offer of assistance: Example, Thank you for calling the customer support group for XYZ company, this is Ann, how may I help you?

    These are just examples and I am certain there are many ways of creating a greeting that is appropriate and reflects your company's brand, values and culture. However, I hope these guidelines and examples help.

    Best wishes,

    -- Rose Polchin, President, RPolchin Consulting and Training, Certified Associate, Incoming Calls Management Institute, Tel. 201-652-0443, Fax 603-806-8162, rpolchin@att.net

  • Posted at 12:00AM on Dec 1, 2004

    I was taught that the last thing you say in the greeting is the information the caller will retain. Therefore, the agent's name should be the last thing said. For instance, "Thank you for calling (company name), this is Jane." I was told that you don't need to ask the question, "how may I help you," because it is already assumed that the agent is answering the call to help. What do you think? -- Diana J. Harrison, RBC Ministries

  • Kumar Sree Posted at 12:00AM on Apr 15, 2005

    Apart from giving company name, rep name, and offering help through words, what I see as most important is the tone. The tone should tell the caller you are listening, you are willing to help, you are a very responsible person by taking ownership of the call. -- Kumar Sree

  • Cyprian Lukhele Posted at 12:00AM on Sep 28, 2005

    Most companies prefer the three part greeting: welcoming the customer (with a friendly and warm tone), state the company name and lastly your name so that the customer can remember. However, some companies prefer to be stronger on the salutation because with calls last impressions last. -- Cyprian Lukhele, MTN

  • Tom Posted at 12:00AM on Jun 16, 2006

    I feel the most important part of the phone call is the greeting. It gives the customer a sense of having their inquiry answered. If the CSR answers the phone in a monotone voice the caller will automatically assume that the CSR is not going to be paying full attention to the customer's needs. The greeting should, at the minimum, thank the customer for calling your company. Also, address the customer by name during the conversation and end the call with comments like "Is there anything else I can assist you with, Thank You Mr. xxxxxxxx for calling your company's name..." -- Tom, TPC Consultants

  • Posted at 12:00AM on Jun 28, 2006

    No matter what you choose to have as your greeting, remember, people are going to be saying this hundreds of times a day. Say what you need to say, but don't make it so long the person must wait five seconds until they can talk. A rep may begin to sound scripted, no matter how hard they try, if a greeting becomes too lengthy. Also, before getting to the rep, have they already had a general greeting by your IVR? Read your IVR scripts and be sure to avoid repeating yourself. Finally, don't stress out too much. Nothing can replace a first impression, but typically customers are so busy worrying about what they will say, they don't all listen to your greeting anyway! Keep it natural and short, say it with a smile and you will be fine!

  • April Posted at 12:00AM on Aug 11, 2006

    I am currently instructed to have my employees answer calls as follows: "Good morning/afternoon, this is April." This is a large call centre, with thousands of calls from clients daily. Based on all the comments I see here, this is not considered a complete and professional greeting. Can anyone provide some thoughts? -- April

  • Nik Posted at 12:00AM on Sep 8, 2006

    I have always relayed to my team that the customer can not see you smile on the phone but they can certainly hear you smile. We also use a very brief greeting of 'Welcome to Vodafone phoneInsure, you're speaking to .....' Too long a greeting can have the customer interupting before you actually finish. -- Nik , Vodafone phoneInsure

  • Sean Posted at 12:00AM on Nov 10, 2006

    I think this is one of those places where I do not think that specific elements need to be specified as a general standard requirement. What should your greeting *do* is a better question: - Introduce the rep taking the call - Confirm the department the rep belongs to - Convey a feeling of welcome and receptiveness - Set the tone for the contact I have often argued against repeating the company name where an IVR has just preceded and has clearly confirmed to the customer that they have indeed reached company X. Instead, I often insist only that the representative mention the department "Business office/ billing/ Technical Support, whatever the customer-friendly title of the department is." In most cases, customers tend to hate a long, repetitive greeting because it seems forced. As a result, I tend to argue for more freedom (everyone hates scripts, no matter how short) for the rep. As long as they hit the key points (Their name, department, tone, etc.), they are free to arrange this in an order that seems the least mechanical to them. This freshens up the greetings, and allows the rep to truly feel like they have some control from the get-go. -- Sean, Canada

  • Fred Slayden Posted at 12:00AM on Nov 10, 2006

    We recently completed a training with Eileen Schenker on phone skills and a suggestion she had worked for our organization. Most of us have an ACD/IVR system upfront that the clients hear when calling into our call centers. Therefore, we answer with a standard, this is Fred, this is Jon...that allows the customer to immediately say Fred, I need assistance with... or Jon, my email is not working. This opens the call up to a comfortable tone and the client does not have the potential to interrupt the agent. Our clients seem to like this. In addition, they are dialing the number to our organization for support. -- Fred Slayden, Digital IMS

  • saira Posted at 12:00AM on Jan 12, 2007

    Irrespective of the order of phrases, the CSR should identify his/her name very clearly so that the initial relationship between caller and CSR is established. With loads of calls it is easy to fall in the rote rut. -- Saira

  • Sameh Abdel Ghany Posted at 12:00AM on Jan 25, 2007

    I can see that the call must begin with the company's name then the CSR name then good day or something like that just to make a relation between the caller and the CSR. -- Sameh Abdel Ghany, Xceed

  • A.Antoine Prasad Posted at 12:00AM on Apr 6, 2007

    A good call center greeting represents how efficient and friendly the executive will be. An enthusiastic greeting makes the customer cool even if the customer had called the call center to fire the agent for the services not provided. A good greeting must include the opening greetings "Good Morning" or "Good Evening," the company's name followed by the agent's name, and willingness to help or ask how he/she can help the customer. -- A.Antoine Prasad

  • Premraj menon Posted at 12:00AM on Dec 14, 2007

    As most organisations have IVRs, the agent needs to sound very helpful as the customer has reached him/her post navigating the IVR tree, and the call has landed on the ACD due to a non-resolution at the IVR front. Hence it is imperative the agents sound extremely cheerful by giving her name and offer of assistance. The customer should feel, "hey, now I have someone to speak to and resolve my issue." Scripts can vary depending on organisation, brand, image, etc. -- Premraj Menon, Bharti Airtel Limited

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