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Engaging effectively with customers on the phone

Martha Rogers gives tips for engaging effectively with customers over the phone in this expert tip.

I just started work at a call center where we are encouraged to build profitable customer relationships. Do you have any tips for using my time on the phone with customers effectively?
When customers call they already have an agenda. And to them, that agenda is a lot more important than the agenda of the company. To a customer, his own policies are much more important than company policies. Company polices are interesting to the company employees because they are on the payroll. But the customer is not on the payroll, so why in the world should they be interested in a company's policies? In fact, why in the world would a customer even think of those policies as remotely binding to her? The fact is, the company's policies are not law and the customers have their own policies in mind. Companies might want to find out what those "customer" policies are and try to start abiding by them.

The point is, if we want to spend time effectively with customers, what we really want to try to do is learn from the customer so we can serve her better next time. We don't want to try to stick her with more stuff, but rather help provide a solution to whatever problem she has, so we are better able to offer her the next right thing that she's bound to need. So, that's the best way to use our time on the phone with customers -- it's precious time, and we need to think of it that way.

Hear more in Creating Customer Value, a SearchCRM.com monthly podcast series with Peppers and Rogers.

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