When I first started working in customer service, I used to fear Monday morning. I used to fear in particular that first phone call. If you worked in health insurance customer service, that call had the ability of ruining your day, and instead of that call setting the tone of your day—you set the tone of the day. You might even make the caller see that silver lining in the situation they are calling on. The key to maintaining your sanity is to maintain your control, your balance and yes your happiness. So whether your first day of the work week is Monday, Tuesday or Friday these tips will help you maintain your composure through the most brutal phone call.
- 1. Put a smile in your voice. When I first started as a telephone customer service representative one of the first bits of advice that I received was about putting a smile in your voice. Even though people can’t see your smile they can sense the positivity that you radiant over the phone. Radiating positivity goes a long way to disarming anger from a customer. This is especially important if the person has had a problem or has been in pain since the weekend and they want to talk to you on Monday. This may sound a little cliché but if people sense positivity in your voice sometimes they won’t be as angry when they voice their concerns. A friendly voice goes a long way towards disabling angry.
- 2. Empathic. You also have to have the ability to be empathize with the caller. Empathize doesn’t mean agreeing with that customer that your company is being unfair but rather that the situation is unfair (i.e. sorry that our product malfunctioned. Let me see if there is a way I can make you a satisfied customer.). It could be a challenge to be empathetic in healthcare customer service when you are dealing with a person who is in physical discomfort (i.e. sorry you are in pain….lets get you out of the pain you are in).
- 3. Effective listening or taking notes. It is very important to take notes during the customers conversation. You don’t necessarily have to take down everything just the gist of the situation. You need to know the what, when and where of the problem. It makes it easier to communicate with the customer when they feel confident that you understand their particular situation. You also need that information when you are going through warranty and coverage information as to provide them with a remedy.
- 4. Organization. Organization is very important as a telephone customer service representative. In order to sound knowledgable and professional you need to know where the information is. More importantly, you have to have it accessible to you when you need it. I used to have a cheat sheet or a cheat binder of readily accessible information. It helps especially if you are handling many different contracts.
- 5. Think happy thoughts. There is something to be said about the power of a happy thought before you take that phone call. You are already in a positive mindset and it goes a long way towards putting a smile in your voice. So think happy thoughts: that fuzzy blanket, favorite food, last vacation or even payday. Negativity doesn’t have to be contagious—you have what it takes to stop it in its tracks your positive attitude.
Above all remember you are the face and voice of the company that you represent and by providing the customer the correct information you are providing everybody good service.