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The Art of the Call-Back

When a customer has an issue and requests a call back, your company is at a crossroads. A well-handled call could earn you the customer’s loyalty. On the other hand, a negative experience might cost you not one customer but many.

According to the 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer, consumers are twice as likely to share a bad service experience as they are a positive one. Clearly, much is at stake when resolving various concerns, which is why your communication strategies can make or break your business. Read on to learn what makes a call-back successful and how to master the art.

The Benefits are Plentiful

Companies rely on the call-back as a way to space out customer interaction and avoid long wait times. Few things are more annoying to consumers than having to listen to elevator music with a recording saying, “Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold,” every two minutes. Unfortunately, that is what often happens at call centers during peak times. The call-back is a more efficient alternative—the individual leaves his or her contact information, and a customer service rep returns the call.

Defusing a Delicate Situation

During call-backs, customers are often frustrated, impatient, or downright angry. This is more than simply resolving complaints; they must also defuse a negative situation and burnish your brand’s image. Doing so is an art. Inexperienced service reps often escalate the situation by responding with indifference or rudeness when what the customer needs is empathy and validation.

If this system fails to defuse the situation, the costs are steep. Forrester found that 89 percent of consumers who experience poor customer service will abandon a brand for its competition. Even if the customer stays, consultant Ruby Newell-Legner estimates that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for a single unresolved negative experience.

What Makes a Call-Back Successful

A well-handled call-back leaves the consumer on the other end feeling like his/her issue has been fully resolved, of course. Equally important, though, is that the consumer hangs up feeling valued and understood. Success depends more on how service reps say things than what they say. Here are a few traits of successful techniques:

  • Active listening. Jumping right into problem-solving mode can be counter-productive if customers haven’t had an adequate opportunity to describe the issue or vent their anger. A good approach involves empathy, not just cursory apologies read from a script. The agent should acknowledge the customer’s concern and repeat it for clarity.
  • Positive language. At all costs, a successful call-back avoids the use of negative language, such as “can’t” and “don’t.” For example, instead of telling the individual “We don’t have that product, so you can’t get it until next month,” the rep could say, “That item will be available next month. Let’s place your order now, so I can ship it to you as soon as it arrives.”
  • Accountability. The Global Customer Service Barometer found that avoiding responsibility and shuffling consumers from one rep to another are two of the top four service problems. A good agent is accountable and finds the answer to customer’s problems if he or she doesn’t know it.

Rely on Trustworthy Professionals

As you can see, handling inquiries properly takes a great deal of care, experience, and skill. While your company could handle call-backs on its own, the reality is that your customer service team can’t offer the expertise of a third-party call center. Outsourcing these responsibilities to a company like Novasors ensures that your customer service needs are in the hands of experts.

Every time your company places a call-back, the loyalty of a customer is on the line. With such high stakes, it makes sense to outsource your customer service needs to ensure that every inquiry goes smoothly.

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