Interaction Tips

Tip of the month for the frontline. Stop by frequently for new tips.

Stay Focused at the Close

So often professionals take a sales call right up to the close and panic or give up. Here are a few "don'ts & tips" to see you through:

More Tips:

Don’t Fight or Flee…Find Your Rational Self

When we’re attacked or in stress-mode during our interactions, we often react in a Fight or Flight mode.

Fight modes:

Condescending Parent – “do this or else.” Resorting to rules at expense of a positive exchange. Don’t let the customer see your finger wagging through the phone.
Emotional Child
– “how dare you,” “you’re the idiot for not getting it.” You can practically hear yourself beginning the irrational “no, he did it; no, she did it” sandbox routine.

Flee modes:

Drama Club President – “aawww” (with head cocked to one side). Here we flee our “corporate-representative self” and hold only the customer’s hand. Beware of getting TOO involved and overly sympathetic, which is ineffective and
prolongs the call.
Customer-Phobic – silence – “uh, huh” – silence. Resist the urge to opt-out completely where you are too removed to be helpful.

Anytime we’re in a stressful environment, it’s harder to call on our best selves and much easier to revert to our comfort fight or flight role. Seek to balance the company needs with customer needs and finally with your own needs to help you stay engaged in a rational manner.

Try breathing (without sighing), visualizing the customer as a real person, and remembering you’re the best person for the job. A calm, genuine empathy statement expressed with a non-confrontational question to move the dialogue forward usually works - even if you have to try multiple times. “Yes. All these forms in the midst of your pain are frustrating to complete. Would it be all right to look at line #12 together?”

Treat Your Voice Like An Instrument

Being a phone rep is actually one of the occupations most at risk for strained vocal cords. Our non-stop talking, caffeine, smoking and antihistamines are the biggest culprits for dehydrating our vocal cords. Drinking LOTS of water can keep them in working order. Water at room temperature is best so as not to either shock or overly relax the muscles. When you have laryngitis, remember that whispering puts more strain on your cords than trying to speak - it's not a myth. NY Times web site quotes Dr. Robert F. Ward, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Cornell University Medical Center in New York explaining it this way, " the swollen cords are forced nearly together without letting them meet. It is like lying down and trying to hold your feet a little way off the floor for a long time."

Gift Your Power

Often our callers' frustration is rooted in feeling uninformed. Think about it. Representatives hold all the keys - the product expertise, the database, the processes, the procedures. One approach that can help break down barriers is acknowledging what our customers are feeling as quickly as possible and sharing how you'll give them what they need: "I can appreciate how confusing our rebate process is. I'm glad to work with you to make it easier." Staying away from phrases like "Hold on, OR Wait a minute, OR If you'll just, OR You must" serves to tone down the conversation making your calls easier to manage.

Demonstrate You Care …Online

Examine Look. Listen. Be.’s definition for Electronic Customer Care and ask yourself where you can improve:

E-Care is the delicate process of interacting with customers online resulting in customers who believe you:
- Value the online exchange
- Commit to their medium of choice
- Deliver online partnership
- Balance intimacy with confidentiality
- Honor the customer experience & your promises.

How dedicated is your company to showing you care online?
Where can you improve as a spokesperson for your company?

After reviewing your answers, take the first step. Start a brown-bag lunch discussion, task force, or inter-office facebook conversation committing to make a tangible difference.



Branding in the Interaction Center

Download Here

Do Your Contact Center Reps Brand Their Customer Interactions?
Are Your Contact Center Conversations in Sync With Your Social Media Messages?

Read what you said about branding in the interaction center over 10 years ago. Compare where you are today with where you were. Surprisingly, the needle may not have moved very far for many of us. However, with the advent of social media and the maturation of the branding industry, marketing departments and contact centers must begin working together to close the gap between our projected brand personalities and what customers actually experience on the phone and online. Download here.

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