The focus of many telephone answering services is affordability over quality. Paring a few pennies from each phone call is one way to help justify the investment in a call answering service. But, while controlling costs is an important part of managing your business, cheaper is not always better. As the old adage says, “You get what you pay for.”
Would you be willing to spend those “extra” cents if you could be assured that your calls would be handled professionally, courteously, and with a level of compassion that makes your customers feel appreciated?
All too often the stereotype of a telephone operator turns out to be true. A poorly trained and unenthusiastic agent can be dismissive, curt, disinterested, and eager to be through with the call. That attitude comes through loud and clear to callers. And it is not the image any company wants to impart.
What you want is a telephone agent who can “read between the lines” and represent your company with a high level of empathy. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines empathy as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”
It is empathy that allows an operator to truly connect with a caller, to make them feel important, and to enhance the relationship the caller has with your company. It is a difference the person on the other end of the telephone line can feel, a fine line between speaking to a robot, and conversing with a human being.
A good phone agent knows the company they are representing, whether it is a funeral home, doctor’s office, or HVAC contractor. They understand the grief being experienced by a family member who has just lost a loved one. They know how upset a new mother can be when calling the pediatrician at midnight because her baby has a high fever. They feel a homeowner’s frustration when the furnace breaks down on the coldest night of the year.
Good phone agents tap into those emotions and convey not just a veneer of sympathy, but real empathy. Not only does this help develop trust between your company and your customer, it can also go a long way toward diffusing a potentially stressful situation. This approach puts the caller at ease instead of on the defensive.
The difference in the quality of a caller’s experience is not always whether a problem was resolved or message conveyed. The difference lies in the empathy displayed by the phone agent at the point of contact. That level of caring is not something you can measure analytically. And the long term benefits derived by your business is well worth the investment of a few extra pennies.
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