Building Trust over the Telephone
When a customer calls your company, he looks to you to help solve problems, meet needs, or alleviate concerns. Every customer who calls your company deserves to talk to a competent, confident individual. Even if you don't know all the answers, speaking confidently will help you build the customer's trust.
There are techniques that can help you build the trust of the person on the other end of the telephone. The techniques for building a caller's trust are:
When a customer calls, he depends on you to help solve a problem, or meet a need. He is much more likely to put his trust in you if you sound like you're confident and self-assured. Of course, that doesn't mean making promises you can't keep. Even if you do not know all the answers, use your confident demeanor to let the customer know he has reached someone committed to helping him solve his problem or fulfill his needs.
Take control of the situation
When customers call your business, chances are, unless they're looking for information, they're having trouble or are otherwise confused. They are looking to you to take charge and sort things out. As a representative of your company, make sure you're in control of the situation without being too assertive.
By speaking confidently and taking control of the situation, callers will start to feel like they can trust you. An angry caller is likely to calm down and work with you once you've successfully won his trust.
Show genuine interest
Hearing complaints on the telephone, day in and day out can be tiring and draining. However, every caller believes his complaint is unique, valid, and important.
Since every call is different, you'll need to use discretion to determine when to use which strategy for building trust. Say "I will" instead of "I'll try". I will says that definitive action will be taken and builds the caller's trust in you. I'll try implies that there's a chance you may fail at whatever it is you're attempting and leaves a doubt in the caller's mind.
It's not always possible to know everything about your job. Don't let your lack of knowledge be a barrier to the person on the other end of the phone. It's your job to get the answer. Saying "I'll find out" instead of "I don't know" builds trust. Assuring the customer that you understand the situation and that you're following as he relays his story helps build trust.
Go above and beyond the call of duty
Offer the customer a small discount, or reverse the fees or service charges that have accrued due to the situation she's calling about. Invite the customer to call you directly, if the problem persists. Offer to make a special note in his file to alert others to the situation.
Building trust isn't necessarily about doing exceptional things for customers or possessing superior product knowledge. It's really about using the right words and projecting the right image.
You can probably find applications for the techniques for building trust in most every telephone conversation you have. If you can succeed in building trust for a customer one on one, you also succeed in building that customer's trust in your entire company.