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Acknowledging Concern & Call Control  Messages in this topic - RSS

Guest


1/1/2001
Guest
I work in a call center for the cellular industry as a performance coach (quality specialist) and currently am in the process of revamping our quality program. One of the line items that we will be incorporating is "call control." We have defined call control as using a statement or word that acknowledges the caller's concern or request (a statement/word that lets the caller know that they have been heard and that we can take care of their issue) and avoids and/or explains pauses in the conversation. What suggestions do you have as an acceptable acknowledgment of a caller's concern/request in your call center?

- Kathy Hartz
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Guest


2/1/2001
Guest
Your definition of call control is one that almost mirrors a line item which I use called "Empathetic Responses." Acknowledging a customer's concern or request is important, but I would hardly call that control. Call Control is better defined as the ability to steer the conversation to the resolution in the most direct way possible. Here is an excerpt of a guide I wrote for my techs: Poor call control is demonstrated in several ways: • Letting your customer ask question after question in order to "back you into a corner" and create a confrontational situation. • Letting your customer "go off on tangents" or get you to discuss things that do not pertain to the resolution of their issue. • Letting the customer control the way you do your troubleshooting and service. Remember that the customer does not have the training or experience that you have and that it is up to you to be the leader in any situation you encounter. If you ever do feel that your control is slipping, here are some tips to get yourself back in the driver's seat of the call. The most important weapon in your call control arsenal is your customer's first name. Make a habit of asking permission to use your customer's first name at the beginning of the call. A smooth way to work in this request is: "What is the name on your account?" (The customer then gives his name, i.e., John Smith.) "May I call you John?" If he says yes, this call should be in control from then on. Use that name like you are trying to wear it out. Using your customers' first name reaches them on many psychological levels and serves to soothe them, get their attention, establish a personal connection, and ultimately lets them know that you are in charge. Use it as often as possible and your customer will be like putty in your hand. Another call control weapon is the "yes/no series." This weapon is used by rapidly asking a series of pertinent yes/no (or one word answer) questions that causes the customer to focus on only answering your questions and being cooperative. It can also be used as a deterrent for uncooperative behavior if you use this method every time your customer tries to gain control of the call. You see, having to answer questions raises their anxiety level, which makes them briefly uncomfortable, and they will quickly begin to associate the discomfort with their efforts of trying to gain control. By using these two techniques, you can turn even the most bullying, bulldog customer into a docile, purring kitty-cat. Once he is in a cooperative mode of speech, use his first name in a friendly way as a psychological reward for his cooperation and to lower his anxiety level. If he tries to take control, start asking him a series of questions to raise his anxiety level. When he starts letting you control the call again, use his name some more to ease his anxiety and further condition his behavior. By passively adjusting your customer's anxiety level throughout the call, you can make him more cooperative and consequently boost your productivity. Another technique is one commonly called "sleepy-voice." This technique should only be used to calm an irate customer who is raising his or her voice in an attempt to fluster and overwhelm you. The technique is basically taking the exact opposite tone that the customer is taking in order to make him feel as if he is not "fitting in" in the conversation. When someone gets irate, his volume and pitch goes up and he begins to speak much faster than normal. You, on the other hand, must resist the natural urge to compete with him by raising your voice. On the contrary, you should lower your volume and tone and speak slower. That's why it's called "sleepy voice." This will make the contrast between your voice and your customer's so great that it will seem silly to him to continue yelling. The most important thing to remember when using any of these techniques is to use them with discretion and to use them subtly. Never use them in a way that is obvious. Never use them in a way that sounds unnatural or forced. They will take a little practice, and when used properly, are well worth the effort spent on developing them.

- Jonathan Rickner
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Guest


3/1/2001
Guest
My organization trained over 400 employees with Learning International's (now AchieveGobal) "Quality Service Skills" program, which thoroughly covers acknowledging customer concerns. If that particular product is not available, the content is probably covered in a similar program.

- Toni McElroy
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3/1/2003
Guest
A positive line might be "So that we can share meaning Mr./Ms. Customer, I understand your request to be (paraphrase), is this correct?" Issue discovery is important for us to achieve early in the call as issue resolution is sometimes a protracted exercise within our business segment.

- Jason Kennedy, Paymap, Inc.
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2/23/2007
Guest
If you are looking for effective empathy statements, I've observed the following formula to be effective:

Specific Empathy + Confidence statement = positive customer experience.

Example of specific empathy statement:
"I understand how frustrating (insert reason customer is calling) can be.”

Inserting the reason the customer is calling instead of using the word "that" is key to showing the caller that you are actively listening to their concern/issue.

Then the rep should follow that with a confidence statement such as:
“You've reached the right person and I can certainly take care of this for you.”

An empathy statement combined with a confidence statement is usually effective in defusing any situation.

- Julie Wheeler-Britton, Charter Communications
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6/2/2008
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Response #1....NICE.....I work in a call center and I use this approach.....always.....stay in control of the call...works everytime....

- Peggy
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