Telephone Skills for Customer Service

Make successful outbound calls

Most people tend to be more scared to make an outbound call than they are to receive an inbound call. Outbound calls require more planning and preparation, especially if the call is to deliver an unwanted message.

You can learn to make successful outbound calls as you follow these key points:

  • Develop a plan
  • Follow up on service
  • Deliver bad news

Develop a Plan

Anytime you call a customer, there are some important steps you need to follow even if you may not be calling to sell any item, the basic steps of a
successful telemarketing call still apply.

Before you make a call, remember that you develop an action plan:

  1. It is very important to greet your customer in a friendly way
  2. Introduce yourself and your company
  3. State the reason of your call
  4. Deliver your message in friendly, clear, and businesslike terms, leaving room for questions
  5. State any customer benefits
  6. Ask for agreement

Follow Up on Service

Following up on the service you provide is a professional way to conduct business. Many customer service providers do not regularly follow up. They claim they do not have time. Even when it is impossible to follow up with every customer, there are certain situations in which it should be done.

Never hesitate to make a follow-up service call. Even when the customer was irate or the service you provided did not go as planned, call. It is always better to know the level of customer satisfaction than guess at it.

If a customer continues to have a problem, you need to know about it so it can be corrected. And when the customer does not have a problem, the follow-up call will be appreciated even more.

Deliver Bad News

Occasionally you will not be able to provide something that was promised. In these situations it is essential to telephone the customer to explain what has happened. Keeping a customer informed is courteous service.

There will be times when it may be unpleasant to deliver bad news, but it must be done.

When you make an error (and we all do), it is important to accept responsibility for it. Be honest with your customer.

No one likes unpleasant surprises such as unexpected billing amounts, people who do not show up, or shipments that differ from what was ordered.

Summary of this lesson

By now you should know the basics of how to use your telephone. You’ve learned about your equipment, what words to use, how to handle messages, and how to make an outbound call. These are the basis for everything else you do on the telephone. Now it’s time to focus on the interpersonal skills necessary for satisfying your customers. As you learn more about telephone skills for quality customer service, remember to:

  • Understand your equipment
  • Manage your voice and diction
  • Take appropriate messages
  • Make successful outbound calls