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Britons still prefer to press ‘1’ for an operator

A recent survey conducted by YouGov in the UK revealed that 58% of Britons would call a contact centre rather than e-mail or visit the company’s website when they need their query to be dealt with immediately. Nearly half reach for the phone when they are frustrated and 47% call when they want to talk through a problem in detail.

The key factor that contributes most to having a positive customer service call is when an agent knows what they are talking about. This was followed by having a query dealt with quickly (16%) and talking to friendly agents that treat them like a valued/potential customer (14%).

When questioned about what annoys them most when on a call with a contact centre, the majority of respondents stated not being able to understand what the agent is saying (51%), followed by being put on hold (19%) and time delays on the phone (10%).

According to Monique Rissen-Harrisberg, CEO of The Voice Clinic, a leading voice and communication skills training company: ‚The telephone is often our first point of contact with another person or with a business ‚ and as they say, first impressions count.‚

Rissen-Harrisberg explains that a call centre agent’s voice plays a vital-role in driving customer service and satisfaction.

‚Agents are under pressure to deal with frustrated customers or handle complicated queries, so access to the right information and providing a speedy, high quality response is essential. Headsets provide a vital tool to delivering a positive customer experience and can help agents ensure clear sound levels and cancellation of background noise,‚ says Harrisberg.

Harrisberg continues: ‚Non-verbal messages are more important than the words. If the word message is different than the non-verbal message, people will rely on the voice, tone, tempo, rate and volume rather than the words to tell them the truth.

‚On the phone, paralanguage – like accents, pauses, volume and emphasis becomes extremely important. On the phone much of emotional impact and true meaning of the message is interpreted from these and other non-verbal cues like time and background sounds,‚ says Harrisberg.

Harrisberg’s number one tip for call centre agents is to build rapport with the client on the other end of the line.

‚During a conversation try and match the other person’s verbal style. For example, if the person talks at a slower pace than you usually do – slow your speaking speed to match theirs. This may sound simplistic but it is a very potent way to make someone feel very relaxed and comfortable.‚

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