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Thank You For Calling!

by Rosanne D’Ausilio, Ph.D., President Human Technologies Global, Inc.

How often do you hear ‘thank you for calling’ when you make a call to a company?  Almost all the time is my experience, you too? How often does it sound sincere?  Much less time, don’t you think?

What should it be?  It should be a very sincere ‘thank you for calling,’ and you should mean it.  If someone has a problem or a complaint and they don’t call, you have no opportunity to assist them, remedy the problem or complaint, and more importantly, create relationship with the customer such that you are their vendor of choice.

And that doesn’t mean that they’re not talking about their problem.  They are—just not to you—but to anyone who will listen.

Maybe you’ve had the opportunity to get an upset customer and then turn them around, where at the end of the conversation you each walk away feeling good about yourself, the customer feels good about him or herself, and you feel good about the interaction and the issue was handled.  I’m sure you have—otherwise all the customer service reps would be burned out and flipping burgers at a fast food place!

Let’s look at complaints for example.  Complaints, by definition, are about the past, not the future.  We are powerless over the past; we have no choice about the past because it has already happened.  There is choice in the present, however.

You do have a choice of how you interpret the past and how you will treat your customers.  We recommend that you focus on establishing a relationship with the customer, rather than engaging in a  tug of war that could drain you both.

Truth be told, the customer calling in has some hope of being taken care of or they wouldn’t have made the call in the first place.  Sometimes they only want to be heard.

The Impact of Conflict Management Training on Customer Service Delivery—my case study in partial fulfillment of my doctorate, included the following pertinent data:

*Research shows that listening to the customer may increase repurchase intention even if a complaint is not resolved (Lapidos & Pinkerton, 1995)

Firms that develop a reputation for consistently remedying customer complaints are more likely to develop customer loyalty, and, over time, may increase their market share (Blodgett et al, 1995).  That is, it was not an initial failure to deliver service alone that caused dissatisfaction, but rather the employee’s response to the failure (Bitner, 1990, p. 80).  A dissatisfied customer, once persuaded to stay, was more loyal and more valuable than before (Fornell & Wernerfelt 1987, p. 141)

So when you say ‘thank you for calling’ really mean it because it presents an incredible opportunity for you and your company to solidify your relationship with the current or potential customer, regardless of the outcome. 

A simple acronym is H.O.P.

H – How would I feel in th customer’s place?
O – Oh no, I cannot believe that happened to you, or I’m so sorry that was your experience
P – Poor you.  I’m so sorry that happened to you.

Mother Teresa said kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

About the Author
Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D., industrial psychologist, President of Human Technologies Global, Inc., specializes in human performance management for contact centers, providing needs analyses, instructional design, and customized, live, world class customer service skills trainings.

Known as 'the practical champion of the human, she authors the best-sellers, Wake Up Your Call Center: Humanize Your Interaction Hub, 4th edition, Customer Service and The Human Experience and Lay Your Cards on the Table: 52 Ways to Stack You Personal Deck, and hot off the press How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: 101 Insider Tips as well as her popular ‘tips’ newsletter on How To Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch! available at http://www.HumanTechTips.com. Reach her at Rosanne@human-technologies.com.