How To Win When Calling Or Chatting With Customer Service


Introduction

 

Christina K. (Host)

Welcome everyone! Today we're going to be talking about those times when you have to call or chat with customer service. There are a lot of different ways that we get in touch with customer service in this day and age. And there are so many different companies that we potentially are calling at some point or another! We could use some advice. So that's why I brought you here, but I will go ahead and get us officially started and start with our introduction here. I want to welcome everyone and definitely thank you for joining us today here at Copper State Credit Union. A little bit about us – Copper State Credit Union serves over 43,000 members and growing, over most of the state of Arizona. If you live, work, or worship in Arizona, we can be your credit union. What we value here is family and empowerment.
We want to empower Arizona families to find financial success in whatever that means for you. It means something different to everybody. So it's not a one size fits all situation.

Now for our special guest! I was able to convince Henrietta, the Director of Digital Banking, to join me today. And the reason why I asked you Henrietta is because you have so much experience in the industry – at Copper State CU for 6 years, in banking for 15, and in customer service for over 25 years. I can't wait to hear what you have to share with us today!

I know you’ve mentioned that your favorite part of your job is the dynamic aspect, how it changes on a day-to-day basis and you have the ability to help your team members as they navigate that. Some fun facts – Henrietta loves watching her grandkids play sports, and then they love to take on that coach role and help you as you get out there and play as well! Now, Henrietta - do you have any idea - how many minutes per day American consumers spend on the phone?


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Probably closer to an hour.

Christina K. (Host)
Yes. It's 41 minutes per day. Very Interesting.

 

How To Prepare For A Phone Call

 

Christina K. (Host)

So my first question for you: How can we prepare for calling customer service? Maybe I've got a question or an issue. How can I prepare before I even pick up the phone to call?


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
I think you said the keyword, prepare. We need to prepare to make that phone call by making sure we have the information pertaining to that call, whether it's an account number, a member number, confirmation number, a billing statement. And we need to make sure that we have looked at that to have specific questions that we want to ask surrounding the situation we're trying to get resolved.


Christina K. (Host)
Yeah. So having whatever information to help them solve your problem, but also knowing, I guess, what it is you want.


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Absolutely.

 

Beginning The Call


Christina K. (Host)
So having those two things ahead of time is going to be really helpful. But what about tips for beginning the call? So when you first have someone answer the phone, what are you going to tell people for the way to start or open the conversation, what's going to really help them?


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Well, I think first of all, as the caller, you should have some expectations. You should expect to be greeted professionally, pleasantly, you should hear a sense of willingness in the tone from the person that you're talking to on the other end and you really should be able to hear a smile on their voice. Those are the expectations. So if you expect to do that and hear that, then of course you're going to do the same. You're going to call in with a pleasant tone of willingness to be open to the information that you're presented. Even the willingness to, if you need to have a call back, if they can't resolve it right away, but you're going to have that positive attitude that I'm talking to an expert, and I'm confident that they're going to be able to resolve my issue.


Christina K. (Host)
Now you said something really interesting and I want to back up, you said "hear a smile." Tell me more about that. Are you saying that, without looking at you, I would be able to hear in your voice whether you're smiling or not?


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Absolutely.


Christina K. (Host)
Okay. I think we should try it. Ready? So I'm going to just keep my eyes closed and you go ahead and say something and I'll try to determine if you are smiling.


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
(Not Smiling) Who do I have on the other end of this line?


Christina K. (Host)
I'm going to say... not smiling?


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Not smiling, correct.


Christina K. (Host)
All right. You want to try one more?


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
(Smiling) Hi. This is Henrietta, who am I speaking with?


Christina K. (Host)
Yeah, I can definitely tell you're smiling in that one. It's not the words you said but how you said it. It sounds like you're saying that it's not just about the person on the other line. You actually have a lot of control as a consumer picking up the phone, starting out a certain way with a certain tone, with a smile, you can actually impact the way that conversation goes.


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Absolutely. You actually can control that call and where it goes, how it goes and the result of the call just by the way you interact with that person. Again, you want to have the confidence in the person that you're speaking with. You want to give them the opportunity to resolve your issue, whether that's being open to a call back, a follow up, but you want to just be positive and open to allowing that person to give you the best member experience possible.

 

Communication Tips & What To Avoid

 


Christina K. (Host)
I love that. I really love the positivity and thinking about going into it with that positive attitude, that makes a big difference. I think all of us should do that probably more often, whether we're on the phone or not. So how about tips for just communicating in general? We're talking in this webinar about calling customer service, but that can be at your bank, could be your utility company, it could be your phone company, your internet. I mean, there's so many different places we could be calling. It could be you purchased something online and now you're calling customer service. So it's not any one place specific, but just communicating in general, if I need something, what should I be doing? Or what should I avoid?

 

Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Okay. One of the things, and we go back to the very beginning, as far as your tone, when you're calling, you're seeking information. Do - ask for assistance. 


Don't - make demands. 
When someone is upset and making demands - "You're going to do this or that, right now" for example.  Once you do that, that turns the phone call into a different story because you shut yourself off from really listening to anything except what you think you need or want.. So you want to make sure that in your communication, you are also presenting that willingness to listen and accept. Sometimes you're not going to get the answer that you want. Sometimes the results are going to be very different than what you thought, but if it resolves your issue, it might help to remain open. And you're going to keep a positive thought and attitude, and your communication is going to be clear and concise.


Christina K. (Host)
Well, it sounds like because you could really miss out on some benefits if I go into an interaction with a lot of demands. I might be missing out on whatever it is that that company has designed to give me service.


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Absolutely. And a lot of times we want to be recipients of the benefits of that organization. And a lot of things, if we don't know what to ask we may miss out. So we should allow that person to engage us in the conversation so that we can get all the benefits of what they have to offer.


Christina K. (Host)
Yeah. That's so true. So basically I need to just ask questions.


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Ask questions, listen, ask more questions and just be open for resolution. And don't go in with a preconceived thought as far as what you expect and what you want out of the call. It may be better than you ever expected.


Christina K. (Host)
That's really interesting. What do you think about using people's names? What does that do?


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
I can tell you a story really quickly, but I was hiring for a customer service position and I interviewed this one lady one time and through the interview, she used my name so much and so personably that I forgot to ask about the skills that I was looking for!
Most everyone likes to hear their name. It gives you the idea that that person is truly focused on you and only you at the time.
That's something we expect from a member service standpoint - of course we're going to use the members' name because they're a member of the credit union. They're important to us. They're a part owner.


Christina K. (Host)
What we don't tend to think about is how powerful it could be from the other end, from the member using the member service agent's name, or for me calling my water company and asking for that person's name. They may not have heard that all day. So that could lead to me having a better experience. There's a chance.


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Absolutely. We all like to feel valued. And by using our names, we feel that it's a value to that member or to that person thought enough of us to even say our name.


Christina K. (Host)
That's so true. And it is just about respect. We're all humans and we can definitely show that respect to each other.

 

Handling Conflict

 


Christina K. (Host)
The next thing I want to talk about is conflict. What if things aren't really going the way you'd like? Maybe I followed your tips, but I'm just at a dead end. Things are not going well. I'm getting into this conflict situation with the other person. What is your advice for people?


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Remain calm.
And then if you're not getting the information that you need from that person, you can ask the question, is there anyone else I can speak to? Or is there another way to go about getting the information that I'm asking for?


Christina K. (Host)
And I love that you just started again with a question.


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Yes.


Christina K. (Host)
It's almost like everything you do, even when you get to a conflict situation, it's still taking that question approach and that inquiry approach, instead of the demanding end.


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Let me talk to your manager. Because you want again, both parties have to be open to coming to a resolution. And when you're asking the question, you're engaging that person in that. And so it may be that the person just is having a difficult time relaying or communicating what they need to. And so it's okay to ask for additional assistance.


Christina K. (Host)
Yeah, or maybe like if the two of you aren't understanding each other, I know something I've heard is the concept of restating what the other person has said. So if you guys aren't really getting on the same page, you could say something like “What I’m hearing is…”


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
It could help as well.

 

Closing The Call


Christina K. (Host)
Before we close out the call, what do you think people should be doing?


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Well, I think you really should recap. You talked about that a little bit. Recap to make sure that you you're leaving with the same understanding that was presented to you. And I like to get the person's name that I'm talking to. And even asking them if they have a direct extension and that puts ownership on them. When you're the owner of the information going out, guess what, if I value my member, if I value my position, I'm going to do the best that I can to resolve that person's inquiry.

I'm giving them my name so they can call back and refer to exactly what we talk about. And then always thank the person and let them know that they're appreciated because we all work hard and it's always good to let a person know when you appreciate the extra step that they've taken for you, or just the time that they've taken with you to explain something. So express that appreciation.


Christina K. (Host)
Yeah. That appreciation, recapping, making sure we're both on the same page, getting the name of the person, maybe a direct extension, I'd imagine any type of confirmation or follow up, like knowing what you need to do next. That might be important as well.


Christina K. (Host)
So we talked about a lot today. We talked about several different ways to approach this winning phone call. If you had to give people one or two things to really take away, when I'm getting ready to pick up the phone, what would those be? Your top pieces of advice if they missed everything else, or maybe people are signing on later and only catching this, what do you want everyone to remember?

 

Key Takeaways

 


Henrietta B. (Director of Digital Banking)
Just remember when you're making that call to make sure you're prepared with your information, including anything that pertains to a billing statement, account number, confirmation number, etc. Also, call with a positive attitude, have the thought that you're going to get the information that you need and be open to whatever you receive from that person, whether it's a callback or a follow up or a complete resolution. And if you can do those things, you will definitely have a winning phone call.


Christina K. (Host)
Well, that's awesome. Thank you so much, Henrietta. Again, everyone, this is our Director of Digital Banking. She is very busy, but I convinced her to talk to us for a few minutes about how to win on a phone call with customer service. Or if you're doing the whole chat thing, typing in, a lot of these same things could work!
Thank you everyone for joining us today! We hope that this was helpful and always check copperstatecu.org/events. We offer live webinars, on demand webinars, and lots of resources for you on our website. We'll see you again soon!

 

budget-plan-ebook



 

 

Don't have time to watch now? Send the link to your inbox:

This article is intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute legal advice. Any recommendations are based on opinion only. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change and may vary based on creditworthiness, qualifications, and collateral conditions. All loans subject to approval.