5 Cliches you should avoid in call centers

Posted by ICCS BPO on Wednesday 6th of November 2019

Like any other industry call centres are also plagued with the common cliches. Here probably more so as the calling profile invariably has so called tried and tested formulas coming from left right and centres. Every training programmes end up focusing on such cliches hence making the industry riddle with them all the more. These cliches range from emotionless opening liners to indefinite uninformed or misguided holds they range on a wide spectrum. Call centres have fair share of cliches playing on our minds. What we need is to shake them and make customer – agent interactions more healthy and fruitful. Few of them are listed below:

Cliche #1 

"Customers are always right" ... well not really. Even customers can make mistakes, can be at the wrong end of the stick and we need to accept that Period!! We need to Shape our conversation around that. We need to recognize the futility of always assigning customers as being correct and ending up serving as a yes man to the customers. Sorry!! But it will not serve the real purpose of actually serving the customer assertively. We need to be in command of the call, be assertive in stating facts and steering the call to a win - win situation. Blindly assuming and behaving as if customer is always right more often than not is detrimental to a healthy customer-agent interaction. It serves as a mental block in dealing customers unbiasedly. We automatically assume that customer can make no mistake hence all wrong has to happen from our end. This can have some dramatic effects on the psyche of the agents especially the newer lot who end up apologizing profusely for mistakes which have probably not even happened by them. And hence not able to provide a fair resolution. It actually makes them less confident about the call and how it should be handled in such a situation. So, accept the unthinkable and then move on the resolution part. Be in the driver’s seat, be assertive gather facts and march ahead also informing customer about the mistakes which have probably been an oversight on their part. Believe it or not it definitely strikes the right chords with the customers.

Cliche #2 

Empty sentences devoid of real feelings like apologizing one liner are the key to instant customer gratification.

"I am sorry ", "I apologize for the inconvenience caused ".." I understand that you are frustrated "are just empty words when devoid of empathy and feelings .What customer needs is not only reassurance but also the promise of a resolution and also the confidence on the agent that he had taken all the relevant details and is working on them with immediate effect. And believe it or not customers are very intuitive in detecting sincerity on a call taken. What we need to do to break away from this common enough cliché is to start taking calls with the pinch of real empathy and good intention to provide resolution. We can start by acknowledging the issue and reiterating the important facts related to the issue and providing resolution. Hence the simple I am sorry for the inconvenience caused we can be replaced with regret the inconvenience caused due to missing

Shipment but let me assure you that we are tracing it right away.

Cliche # 3 

Holding indefinitely on a customer service or a call center call is a given ..

well it's not and more often than not results in heated exchanges and frustration on the customers part Customers don't deserve to be on uninformed unduly long holds. Saying a minute for hold and taking twenty minutes to come back on a call is not okay. Anything that unnecessarily puts customer in an uncomfortable and frustrating position has to be done away. Customer’s time is important and randomly throwing in the approximation of hold time is simply not justified.

saying "let me put you on hold for a second " ..and doing the disappearing act for fifteen minutes is not acceptable .It taints the very core of professionalism that we are supposed to exercise in every call .So if a hold time is expected to take approximate fifteen minutes that is what we are supposed to convey to the customer .Period !! On call hold time if increasing we need to either reinform the expected time of hold or should ask for a call back time. Its always better to be direct and specific with the details.

Cliche # 4

Listening skills means letting customers go on & on about the issue at hand ..

Listening skills are a must in a customer service scenario but letting customers rant on and on about the same issue serves no purpose. Healthy interruption on an ongoing rant is a must for the call to be steered in right direction. And this what an agent should focus on. The cliche of dragging call in the name of listening skills is not going to serve any real purpose. What we need to focus on is the resolution and that can only be possible when the call is not unnecessarily been dragged on venting out frustration. What we need here is listening attentively to the concern raised by the customers and then doing the damage control. Reiterating the gist of the issue, reconfirming what customer needs here and then charting out the resolution plan is the correct approach. Having said that we should also understand that there should not be compromise on actual listening part of the call.

Cliche # 5 

We will get back to you at earliest ...

We will call you back today to confirm ...

We will ensure you get a call back today.

And then that call back does not happen ...because it was just said as a way to gain some more time to investigate or to delve deep in to the case.

Throwing this randomly at customers without ever having the intention to call them back is probably the worst cliche. It is akin to hara -kiri. Customers have raised their concern; we have noted it down and then forgotten all about it. Forgotten to follow up as per the TAT confirmed to the customers is a mandate. If a call back needs to happen within twenty -four hours then a call back has to happen in the TAT promised to the customer. This is the one call which should happen at the time promised. So, the key is telling customer the exact time when we can finally get back to them. Whether it is twenty -four hours or seventy- eight hours. Customers also understand that resolution can take time. But what they will not understand is why they had to call again and again to remind on the same and why they are told the exact duration of time needed for follow up. If we need the calls to stay in control, right resolutions happening at right time and most importantly happy customers then we should focus on adhering to the TAT informed to the customers.

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