The Art of Conversation: 7 Top Tips for a Solid Customer Service Strategy

We have had the privilege of talking to millions of customers on behalf of some of the UK’s best known brands for over 17 years. Delivering the very best customer experience as part of a comprehensive customer service strategy is an art and the art of conversation is our philosophy. It takes the right blend of people, skills, training, frameworks, environments and technology to enable us to hold great conversations on behalf of our clients. Here are 7 of our fundamental tips to help you achieve the art of conversation in your interactions…

1. Warm welcomes

The first point of interaction in a conversation can really set the tone for its success so avoid robotic openings and make your welcomes feel genuinely unique and special to each caller. Your brand personality should be evident in the opening style and language enabling any caller to really feel the connection. Consumers shop with you or use your services for a reason and they will want to feel the same purchasing emotions in any non-purchase interactions. So if your brand personality is led by a quirky, high energy and low fuss approach, use the same in your opening call tone. Likewise if you are a serious, process-led and compliant based brand, your callers will expect this throughout the call so ensure your welcomes, training and call quality reviews recognise the key brand personality traits.

2. Showcase personalities

Don’t underestimate the importance of tone of voice; gone are the days of scripted robotic advisors in our contact centres, and thank goodness for that! Scripted robotic approaches just don’t work; they don’t create the best places to work and don’t deliver the best customer experiences, so let’s enable our talented people to showcase their personalities, skills and abilities, to be accountable, passionate and to be able to deliver great outcomes. Empowering our frontline teams will ensure they enjoy the job they do and that will reflect in each of the conversations they have. Don’t hold your very best people back by quality tick lists, set them free to optimise the caller experience.

3. Let your values shine through

Show your values in all that you do throughout the call. Having a great conversation embodies the uniqueness of your company’s values and ensure the most positive outcomes for both the caller and the advisors handling the calls. If your logos and mission statements focus on ease of use, speed and accuracy, make sure this is reflected in the abilities of your advisor communities and call outcomes. We have all seen the ‘no fuss or no quibbles’ guarantees and if it’s to be believed, show just how easy and valid your guarantees come to life in each of your calls.

4. Listen and anticipate

Understanding the customer’s situation accurately from the start of the conversation will help speed up the resolution and keep the interaction positive. Let the customer know you’re listening, don’t interrupt, but during voice interactions it’s important for the customer to know you’re still there. You can interject by saying ‘I see’ or ‘I understand’ without interrupting.

When you’re dealing with thousands of customer interactions a day, your team can share commonly asked questions and objections so you can build these into your tools and your conversations to address these quickly to enhance the customer journey.

5. Focus on the positives

If something is your fault (it wasn’t delivered, it was broken or it was the wrong product for example), apologise, don’t make it the customer’s problem and fix it. They will thank you for owning the situation with their repeat business.

Follow up by telling customers what you can do, use positive language and avoid negative questions that may help to escalate the situation. For example, ‘you haven’t downloaded the app?’ sounds accusatory and would be better rephrased as ‘have you downloaded the app?’

6. Keep the customer informed

If an issue can’t be resolved immediately and is in a process of being resolved, communicate it with the customer – tell them what stage it’s at and when it’s resolved. If a customer has to spend time contacting you repeatedly, it will only heighten their frustration and escalate the issue.

Make suggestions and offer options for customers. It allows them to have input in the conversation’s outcome and helps them make their own decisions.

7. Invest in your team

More and more businesses are finally recognising that no two consumers think the same, and therefore aren’t going to behave the same nor will they engage ’emotionally’ the same. With so many variances of thoughts, behaviours and actions, we must ensure our people are ‘emotionally fit’ to manage the complexities and dynamics of their changing audiences. For the optimum customer experience, we have to invest in Emotional Intelligence awareness, understanding and training in our contact centres, ensuring our people strategies have the right investment and support to ensure the very best people are retained and are enabled to deliver optimal experiences in each interaction.