The part that customer service plays in the success of any company cannot be overemphasized. American Express reported that 78 percent of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. Therefore, running a company means constantly taking care of customers and tending to their needs. One effective method of doing so is by establishing call centers through which customers can directly contact the company.
However, when customers make phone calls, the conversations between the caller and the agent cannot be unstructured and chaotic – it simply isn´t an effective way of dealing with problems. On the other hand, those conversations cannot be too rigid and robotic – consumers don’t follow any scripts and each call is unique. The solution is to find the right measure between control and flexibility, which can be achieved with quality call guides. Let us get acquainted with this concept.
About Call Guides
A call guide is a standard and organized document with a set of guidelines that agents need to follow while talking to customers. Call guides serve the purpose of providing a template for call agents, while not constraining them to any single mode of delivery.
There is often concern that call guides make agents stiff and impersonal, which should not be the case. On the one hand, call guides do give a structure and form to the agent-customer conversations. On the other hand, developers of effective call guides know that customers don’t follow a script and that no two calls are the same. A good guide should, therefore, give room for agents to adapt to each and every caller. It should be flexible enough so that the agents are able to meet every customer´s specific needs while restricting themselves to the information the company has made available.
Benefits of an Effective Call Guide
By using an effective call guide, agents get an opportunity to build rapport with customers and provide stellar service. In addition, call guides are beneficial to the company because they allow for data capturing. Call guides enable agents to build the conversation by asking the right questions in order to collect specific information. Those pieces of information are useful to the company as they paint a picture of the customer’s specific needs and wants. Furthermore, with a well-established data system that shows the customer’s purchasing and call history on-screen, agents can cross-sell and up-sell in subsequent calls, thus contributing to the overall revenue of the company.
General Rules of Call Guides
There is no such thing as a universal call guide. Call guides are customizable and differ from company to company. They are created according to the specificities of each company in terms of its products/services and customer service protocols. Regardless of these factors, all companies should meet bare minimum practices when setting up call guides for their call centers. Let us see what those are.
Based on the previously recorded call history, a company can chart a list of the needs that many customers have in common. With such information at hand, it is possible to provide solutions with universal applicability. When it comes to call guides, that info can be used to answer the frequently asked questions. The FAQs should cover as many scenarios as possible, giving the agents a wide resource from which they can resolve caller issues.
Use of Language
The language that agents are to use in calls should be spoken and not written English. Spoken English has a better flow, while written English often impedes the natural flow of the conversation. Using spoken English and even allowing for a little slang here and there prevents the call from becoming mechanical and stiff.
Greetings and Closings
Even though agents should make use of customer calls to derive as much info as possible, they should also keep in mind that their time is limited – other callers are usually waiting. Calls should, therefore, be as short as possible and should not stray into irrelevant matters. Greetings should be kept short and simple so that an agent can move on quickly to the purpose of the call. This also applies for the closing of the call and moving on to the next one.
Call guides should include company branding information in the form of logos, corporate colors, and signatures. They also need to be typed out clearly and made easy to read. Important commands and instructions should be highlighted. All this is important because it allows agents to remain focused.
A full script rehearsal over several days gives agents a chance to familiarize themselves with the guide, understand it better, and become more comfortable with it. Rehearsals will enable agents to deliver the script more naturally.
In addition to these generally applicable aspects, all call guides should follow the same basic flow while still being specific to the brand. Let´s see which parts of agent-customer conversations all call guides can refer to.
In the opening of a call, an agent can greet the customer, introduce themselves by their name, and offer assistance with a short question. This can all be very simple: “Hi, I´m Andy. How can help you?” Such an opening sets the tone for a pleasant conversation.
2. The purpose of the call
Once the agent has opened the call, they give way for the caller to present their reason for calling, and establish the problem that needs to be resolved.
3. Probing questions
By this time, the call should flow as a natural conversation. The agent should ask more questions to clarify the problem.
4. Restating the answers
By repeating the answer given by the caller, agents can build better rapport and push the conversation further more effectively.
5. Resolving the issue
The agent then resolves the issue according to the predicted scenarios in the guide. If they are not able to do so, they can transfer the call to people who more technically skilled for it.
Finally, all calls need to be ended with an appropriate closure that entails a greeting.
While all these rules and parts of the guide can be universally applied, it is important to understand that each guideline is different. What works for one company doesn’t have to work for all of them. Finally, it is also important to bear in mind that developing a good, quality guide isn’t a one-time thing, but an ongoing process. Even the best guides need to be constantly updated and adapted to new circumstances.
The purpose of the guide is to model conversations that will resolve customer issues in a manner that is both enjoyable and effective. After such calls, customers are satisfied and more likely to remain loyal to the company. Therefore, companies need to improve their call guides and, consequently, the quality of assistance provided by their agents. We are here to help you with that.
We understand the challenges that come with developing a quality call guide, and we offer customized solutions to companies looking for more effective customer service systems. With our customized call guides and structured scripts, your agents can have successful conversations with callers. Those phone calls will allow agents to be both structured and flexible. In other words, agents will be able to carry on a conversation based on a structure that enables call control and a template for uniform data collection. However, agents are left with a certain amount of freedom and flexibility to make sure they add a personal touch to every call.
Overall, our call guides enable contextual conversations, encouraging agents to ask questions and truly listen to the answers. In the end, a quality guide will make the customer comfortable and help them establish an emotional connection with your company.