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Handbook of Advanced Phone Skills

Customer Service Answer Guide

To help you get the most from your training materials, you’ll receive a copy of the Leader’s Guide. It will show you how to introduce the materials to your staff in a positive and motivating way. How to reinforce important points in the booklet. Plus techniques to keep the message fresh long after the booklets have been distributed.

Best of all, you don’t have to be a professional trainer to use the program because the Leader’s Guide includes discussion topics, activities, trainer’s tips, and more.

Read the sample below to see how much useful information is packed into a brief section of this guide.

Activity 1: Building rapport

It’s often easiest to learn new skills when they are presented in a familiar format such as a typical customer service call. In the box below (Not included online.), is a generalized call scenario, which focuses on rapport building. You may use this as is, or customize it for your organization.

The exercise is best conducted in groups of not more than six reps. Arrange chairs in a circle or around a table. Project the script on an easy-to-view screen or provide the script as a handout.

Part 1. Read the scenario aloud, then lead the discussion by focusing on each of the four steps to building rapport with customers: Mirroring, Finding common ground, Listening, and Empathizing.

For example: “The first rapport-building technique covered in your guide is mirroring. Did Jennifer successfully use this technique? Why or why not?” Proceed through each of the four techniques. The responses should be similar to those listed below:

  • Mirroring: No. Jennifer fails to mirror the customer’s “cheerful and relaxed tone.” Instead she is “crisp and businesslike.”
  • Common ground: No. Everyone has a vacation. Jennifer could have found common ground by sharing her hope that the caller enjoys the trip or has good weather.
  • Listening: No. If Jennifer had been listening, she would have known that the customer needed the tent on Friday, not in four weeks.
  • Empathizing: No. Jennifer expressed sympathy but she did not show understanding or empathy with the customer. A better phrase than “I’m sorry” would have been, “I can imagine how stressful this is. I’m sure I can find a solution that will work with your tight schedule.”

Part 2. Now that everyone has had a say in what went wrong with this call, it’s time to role-play the call to get it right. Ask for two volunteers or have supervisors or team leads act the part of rep and customer. The two participants should sit back to back and move through the script with one rep reading and improvising the customer’s part and one rep responding appropriately.

When the call is completed, take a moment to debrief the group with the same questions used previously: “The first rapport-building technique covered in your guide is mirroring. Did (name of rep) successfully use this technique? Why or why not? Were there any additional opportunities to use mirroring?”

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