Call center representatives are constantly striving to do their jobs well, but there are challenges. One of the hardest things they face is when a prospect assumes a defensive manner. When that happens, they offer as little information as possible in responding to questions. Let’s face it; prospects don’t usually trust telephone salespeople in the first place, so it’s a big hurdle for a call center agent to overcome.
Trust is essential for an agent when working on the phone and is often what separates those who are successful from those who aren’t. Here’s how call center representatives build customer trust.
They Actively Listen
A call center representative who’s a good listener helps to build trust because it shows the prospect that they are actually being heard. Nobody likes being ignored, especially when the person ignoring them is supposed to be helping them solve a problem.
A good agent:
- Allows the caller to talk without interruption even if what the prospect is saying is incorrect
- Takes quick notes on important issues
- Asks clarifying questions if necessary
- Demonstrates interest
- Summarizes the caller’s main points before responding
In this way, the customer will feel sure that they’ve been listened to and that will allow them to open up and continue talking to the representative.
They Build Credibility
A call center representative must build their own credibility in the eyes of a prospective customer. This is an important component in building trust. The more of an expert on the subject matter that the representative is the more the customer will trust their recommendations.
By showing the prospect that they are an authority in the industry, a customer will be more open to buying whatever product the agent is offering.
They Use Testimonials and Third Party Stories
People look to their peers for help and advice on whether or not they should buy or do something. They want to hear from other people who’ve had similar experiences. While an agent can’t have some of their clients’ customers provide positive testimonials on the spot, they can certainly tell their stories. Relating a similar story to a prospect’s situation can often be the deciding factor in whether or not they trust an agent and the product or service they represent.
They Never Lie
If an agent lies to a prospect and the word spreads, that agent’s trustworthiness will be destroyed. Good call center representatives never lie, because they know it will harm rather than help the brand they represent.
They Build a Rapport with Customers
People trust and buy from a person they connect with and that’s why call center agents who effectively build rapport sell more and receive higher customer satisfaction ratings than their peers.
They Take a Personal Interest in Their Callers
A good call center agent remembers important information about a contact and truly understands that person. By taking a genuine interest in getting to know the person beyond a superficial level, the agent gains insight into their desires, motivation, cultural background and belief systems. This becomes actionable intelligence that can be leveraged throughout the agent/prospect relationship.
They Adjust Their Approach to Each Different Caller
Once an agent discovers that a certain caller is interested in tech information about a product, they concentrate on giving the caller that information. If the caller knows a lot about the product and uses tech-savvy language, the agent matches their style by communicating in a similar way. If a different caller is anxious to get back to work, the agent dispenses with small talk and deals immediately with the issue at hand.
They Establish an Emotional Connection with Callers
An experienced call center agent knows how to put themselves in the customer’s shoes. They can imagine how the customer feels if they are running late because it’s taking too long to activate their new service. The agent is always genuine in their apology and tells the customer how they might feel if it was them in the customer’s position.
They Communicate with Respect
A good call center agent always communicates with a caller in a respectful way. That means always saying please and thank-you, asking how the caller would like to be addressed, never talking down to a customer and always remaining patient.
They Remain in Control
Often callers who reach a call center are angry, upset, dissatisfied or in a hurry. The representative must acknowledge their emotional state by conveying empathy for their situation and matching their speech patterns to the customer’s. That means, if the customer speaks with urgency, the representative does, too. Gradually, the call center representative slows their speech down and guides the caller to a calmer state of mind, speeding up the problem-solving process and helping to build trust.