Preview TELEPHONE COURTESY. The Royal Connection. Leader s Guide RESOURCES HUMAN CAT. NO. CUS02L

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1 TELEPHONE COURTESY The Royal Connection RESOURCES HUMAN CAT. NO. CUS02L

2 Contents CONTENTS Introduction...2 About This Program...2 Training Materials...3 Preparation...3 Invite Participants...3 Establish Training Objectives...3 Determine the Audience...4 Agenda...5 Sample Invitation...6 Presentation Tips...7 Training Session Overview...8 Giving the Pre-Test...8 Presentation Outline...8 Discussion Topics...9 Exercises...13 Exercise 1: Time: 15 minutes Exercise 2: Time: 25 minutes Exercise 3: Time: 40 minutes Session Summary...16 Pre-Test...17 Post-Test...19 Evaluation Form...21 Overheads...22 (Overhead pages have been created to be copied to transparency sheets.) #1. Objectives #2. Telephone Organizational Skills #3. The Greeting #4. Guidelines for Transfer and Hold #5. Listening Skills #6. How to Be Responsive Notes

3 Introduction INTRODUCTION ABOUT THIS PROGRAM This program,, provides you with information that will teach all employees how to provide excellent telephone customer service to internal and external customers. Most business with customers is conducted by telephone and requires special skills to ensure the excellent service that customers have come to expect. This program is designed to equip employees with skills needed to conduct business by telephone. The participant will observe skills through the portrayals of both the right and wrong ways of conducting telephone customer service and have a chance to role play the skills in the exercises provided in this. This program is designed to help employees learn how to be prepared, professional, attentive and responsive in order to meet their customers needs and to build relationships which will increase customer loyalty. This is designed to help conduct a thorough training session on telephone customer service. It enables you to use this program in many different ways, giving you the flexibility to determine the best training format for your organization. The video is approximately 21 minutes long and, if you wish, can be stopped easily for discussion of important points. TRAINING MATERIALS You will need: A training room located away from major distractions or interruptions A comfortable arrangement of chairs and tables, preferably in a semi-circular pattern, with an opening for a TV monitor and other visual aids (Be certain all participants can see the viewing screen and each other.) Adequate lighting that can be adjusted while viewing the video A location, possibly including a podium and/or a flipchart, from which the trainer/speaker can lead discussion The training video TV/VCR with remote Copies of the handbook for each participant Copies of the class agenda (see page 5) Paper and pencil for each participant A flipchart or dry-erase board and appropriate markers An overhead projector, transparencies and transparency markers Other useful visual aids Copies of the Post-Test and Evaluation (see pages 19-21). PREPARATION Preparation is the key to effective training. There are several things you need to do prior to the session. Employees who conduct business by telephone will benefit from attending the program. Although this program is primarily designed for customer service with external clients, employees who conduct business by telephone with internal customers will also benefit from this program. The overheads in this will assist you in the presentation of this material. The overhead information may be transferred to a flipchart as an alternative to overhead projection. Purchasers and renters may copy the Exercises, Pre-Test, Post-Test, Evaluation Form and Overheads in this when used in conjunction with the video. Illustrated employee handbooks are also available for use with this program. These handbooks may be given to participants as a helpful note-taking and reference tool. We recommend that you tailor the program to your organization s needs by including information unique to your employees working conditions. The specifics of how you teach the class are up to you. Invite Participants Send out letters or memos to participants or post a notice two weeks in advance of the training date. (Sample is included on page 6.) State the location, date and time, and meeting agenda. Administer the Pre-Test in advance (see page 17). Establish Training Objectives Define the training objectives of this presentation. Training objectives should coincide with the particular needs of your organization and reflect the content of the video. Some examples are: Describe ways to be prepared when receiving and handling calls Demonstrate professionalism in your telephone interactions Explain how to make the customer feel welcomed and valued Show attentiveness and active listening skills Demonstrate a responsive approach for meeting customers needs. Introduction 2 3

4 Introduction Determine the training objectives in advance so that you can identify the approach to take for the training session. It is also important to decide what level of proficiency is expected from participants upon completion of the training. Determine the Audience Another aspect to consider in planning this training session is the audience. Tailor your presentation to the skills or experience of the participants. The focus of your discussion and the depth of content presented may vary, depending on whether you are providing an orientation for new employees or a refresher course for experienced employees. The group size should range from 10 to 20 people. Most of the exercises in this program require that the group break into pairs in order to increase participation. If the group size is an odd number, the facilitator should plan on participating in the exercises. 1-HOUR SESSION AGENDA INTRODUCTION Greet the participants and introduce yourself. Distribute and review the training objectives. VIDEO & DISCUSSION Watch the video. Review the main points of the video. EXERCISE 1 Title: A Smile Makes a Difference Purpose: To demonstrate the benefits of delivering service with a smile Materials Needed: Paper, pencils, small mirrors CONCLUSION 5 MINUTES 35 MINUTES 15 MINUTES 5 MINUTES Ask the participants for any final questions. Distribute the Post-Test and Evaluation, to be returned later. 3-HOUR SESSION AGENDA INTRODUCTION Greet the participants and introduce yourself. Open the session with introductions of participants. Distribute and review the training objectives. VIDEO & DISCUSSION Watch the video. Review the main points of the video. EXERCISE 1 Title: A Smile Makes a Difference Purpose: To demonstrate the benefits of delivering service with a smile Materials Needed: Paper, pencils, small mirrors 15 MINUTES 40 MINUTES 15 MINUTES EXERCISE 2 25 MINUTES Title: The Everlasting Hold Purpose: To practice greeting and placing a customer on hold Materials Needed: A large clock with a second hand BREAK 20 MINUTES EXERCISE 3 40 MINUTES Title: Telephone Service Live! Purpose: To practice active listening skills Materials Needed: Flipchart or whiteboard CONCLUSION 25 MINUTES Summarize key points. Ask participants if they have any final questions. Administer Post-Test. Distribute Evaluation and thank participants for attending. Introduction 4 5

5 Introduction 6 SAMPLE INVITATION Date: November 17, 2000 To: The Customer Service Department From: Cathy Jackson, Human Resource Manager Re: You are invited to attend a motivational training session on telephone customer service. Telephone Courtesy: The Royal Connection is a program that will help you provide excellent telephone customer service to external as well as internal customers. You will learn valuable tips on how to be prepared, professional, attentive and responsive when dealing with customers on the telephone. During the training you will practice how to treat customers professionally and will learn how to equip yourself for each caller in an organized manner. The program provides listening techniques tailored for telephone interactions. Excellent telephone customer service relies heavily on verbal communication, which can be difficult without the benefits of exchanging the nonverbal messages of communicating face-to-face. Please plan to be at the training session on December 1 at 2:00 p.m. We will be meeting in the main conference room for a three-hour session. If for some reason you are unable to attend, please contact me at as soon as possible. Goals of the training session are: To describe ways to be prepared when receiving and handling calls To demonstrate professionalism in your telephone interactions To explain how to make customers feel welcomed and valued To show attentiveness and active listening skills To demonstrate a responsive approach for meeting customers needs. Agenda: Introduction 2:00-2:15 Video & Discussion 2:15-2:55 Exercise 1 2:55-3:10 Exercise 2 3:10-3:35 Break 3:35-3:55 Exercise 3 3:55-4:35 Conclusion 4:35-5:00 We look forward to seeing you on December 1, PRESENTATION TIPS Overcoming anxiety The best way to overcome anxiety about speaking before a group is to be prepared. Although it s natural to be nervous, your sweaty palms will disappear once you focus on what you are saying. Concentrate on what you want people to understand and your presentation will flow naturally. Choosing your vocabulary Don t lose your audience by using overly complex words or phrases. It s best to use the same comfortable language that you would use when speaking to participants one-on-one. Getting rid of the umms One of the most annoying mistakes a speaker makes is saying umm every time there is a break between thoughts. Remain silent while you think about what you re going to say next. The silence will seem longer to you than it will to the audience. If you remember this, you ll feel less pressure to fill the silence. You can control your umms by jotting down notes beforehand of the points you want to cover. If you want to include personal anecdotes or examples, write down a few notes to trigger your memory. Controlling the speed and tone of your voice You ll put your audience to sleep if you speak too slowly, and they won t be able to keep up with the content if you speak too quickly. Approximately 150 words per minute is the best speed. If speaking too slowly doesn t put your audience to sleep, using a monotonous tone will surely do it. Vary your tone often, especially when making important points. Adding emotion to your presentation will keep your audience involved. Again, speak to your audience as if you re having a conversation with each person individually. Sticking to the schedule Begin class on time and restart the session promptly at the end of the break. Explain that, except for emergencies, messages will be taken for participants during the session and will be distributed to them at the start of the break or the end of the session. Asking for questions Ask for questions throughout the session. Be prepared to answer all types of questions, but don t be worried if you don t know every answer. Simply say, I m not sure of that, but I ll find out and get back to you. Then, after class, make sure you do find the answer and give it to the person who asked the question. Introduction 7

6 Training Session Overview TRAINING SESSION OVERVIEW GIVING THE PRE-TEST It is recommended that you send the Pre-Test along with the Invitation before the training session. That way you will have an opportunity before the session begins to review the participants answers and get an idea of what they already know. Otherwise, administer the Pre-Test at the start of the session so you can review participants responses while they are watching the video or during the break. PRESENTATION OUTLINE Open the session. Welcome the participants and introduce yourself to the group. Give a brief explanation of the purpose of the training session and quickly review the agenda. Have participants introduce themselves and state the department or area in which they work. You may want to use an ice breaker to get the class warmed up for group discussion and to get to know each other. However, be sensitive to people who may be shy or nervous in front of groups. Distribute and review copies of the training objectives for this session. (An example of objectives is provided in the handout/overhead on page 22.) Be sure the participants understand what you expect them to learn and what skills they need to display as a result of this training. Knowing what is expected in advance better prepares the employees and helps them to participate successfully. Learning objectives for this program are to: Pause the video, as appropriate, to emphasize a point or discuss a practical application in your organization. You may want to practice pausing the video in order to freeze images on the screen that have significant meaning. Or, you may choose to wait until the end of the video for discussion. DISCUSSION TOPICS If you choose to view the entire video first, follow the video with a 20-minute discussion. Discuss the following highlights and scenes from the video. Talk about the scenes that depict behaviors which are unacceptable for telephone customer service, and the ones which help build your relationship with the customer. The Objectives of This Program Use Overhead #1 (on page 22) as a guideline to review the overall training objectives for this session. Telephone Organizational Skills Using Overhead #2 (on page 23) as a guide, lead a discussion on how to be prepared. Be prepared for the caller Be prepared by having paper and a pen next to your phone for taking notes while talking with your customer. Back-up materials such as files, essential information, addresses and phone numbers should be within reach and logically arranged. Make sure your computer is up and running before you take your first call. Describe ways to be prepared when receiving and handling calls Demonstrate professionalism in your telephone interactions Explain how to make customers feel welcomed and valued Show attentiveness and active listening skills Demonstrate a responsive approach for meeting customers needs. Start the video. It s a good idea to adjust the volume of your monitor before the training session begins. Doing so avoids startling participants if the sound is too loud, or frustrating them with missed information because the sound is too low. Manage your time Start your day off right and arrive at your desk a few minutes early. A late start can throw off your whole day. At the end of the day, clean up the files and desk so you are ready to start the next day with an uncluttered work space. Know your job Know your job and how you can best serve the customer in a timely fashion. If you know your job and how it fits in with your company goals, you can avoid placing someone on hold to ask questions or avoid transferring the caller to someone else. Training Session Overview 8 9

7 Training Session Overview The Greeting Using Overhead #3 (on page 24) as a guide, explain how to greet a customer and why it is important to start off the conversation with a proper greeting. The Greeting: Sets the tone for the entire conversation Should show courtesy and a friendly approach Should convey a smile in your voice The customer picks up on your mood through your volume, tone, pitch, inflection and attitude. Try to talk with a smile in your voice to indicate a pleasant and helpful attitude. Your voice can actually reflect the smile when you speak with a smile on your face. How to Greet: Say good morning or good afternoon Use your company s name or department Identify yourself This greeting is just an example. Your company may have a formal greeting that is slightly different. The point is to offer a greeting that is efficient, professional and friendly. You can state the different components of the greeting in whatever way best suits your company s style. Guidelines for Transfer and Hold Using Overhead #4 (on page 25) as a guide, discuss the best methods for transferring a customer and placing a customer on hold. Ultimately, it is best to help the customer yourself and refrain from transferring the customer to another party within your company. Also, customers dread having to be put on hold since seconds seem like minutes. It is best to avoid this situation in the first place, but if you do have to put the customer on hold, make the wait be no more than 30 seconds. To transfer: Tell your customer the name of the person who can help Ask your customer permission to be placed on hold while you contact that person Stay on the line until the transfer is complete To put the customer on hold: Ask your customer if he or she is able to hold Give the customer a realistic time of how long the hold will last If the customer can t hold, try to take the call Make sure if you do place the caller on hold, it is for less than 30 seconds Listening Skills Using Overhead #5 (on page 26) as a guide, discuss how to effectively listen to customers. Discuss why it is important to show that you are listening. Talking on the phone lacks the benefits of communicating with nonverbal language. For this reason, silences can be easily misinterpreted as disinterest in what is said. Let the customer know you are listening by filling moments of silence with listening noises. Listening habits to avoid are assuming, interrupting and insincerity. Never assume, even if you think you have heard it all before. Interrupting is rude and suggests you are more important than the customer. Customers want to be heard. The best rule of thumb is to listen twice as much as you speak. When you do speak to the customer, show sincerity. Avoid speaking in a monotone voice or a memorized, rote manner. Add inflection and try to match your tone to the message you are conveying. Speak in a manner that reflects value and respect towards the customer. Listening Noises: Uh-huh I see Listening Habits to Avoid: Assuming Interrupting Insincerity How to Be Responsive Using Overhead #6 (on page27) as a guide, talk about how to be responsive to a customer s needs. Four elements required to respond to the customer s needs are: Approach needs with knowledge Have a clear understanding of the company s policies and goals Know your company s capabilities Know which decisions require authorization from a supervisor Training Session Overview 10 11

8 Training Session Overview Control emotions Don t take a customer s anger personally Let the customer vent Stay calm to work through the solution process Uncover the facts Ask questions to uncover facts Paraphrase repeat back in your own words what you heard Empathize as you gather facts to show you understand Ask what the customer wants to see done Agree on a solution Offer the customer a choice of possible solutions Restore the customer s sense of control by involving him or her in the solution process Offer something extra for the customer s effort Thank the customer Exercises Three exercises are provided on pages for use after the discussion. Refer to the agenda to determine which exercises you have scheduled in your training session. Make sure you stick to the schedule minutes for each exercise to avoid running out of time. EXERCISE 1 Exercises TITLE: A SMILE MAKES A DIFFERENCE PURPOSE: To discover the change in a person s voice when speaking with a smile TIME: 15 MINUTES MATERIALS: PAPER, PENCILS, SMALL MIRRORS Ask participants to pair up with another person and sit back-to-back. Distribute a pencil, some paper and a mirror to each pair. Have one person in the pair take observation notes as the other person reads the script printed below with a smile, and then without a smile. Have the participants use the mirrors as they read the script to encourage a noticeable, genuine smile. Have participants switch roles. After five minutes, reconvene and discuss observations. Ask participants if they felt a difference when they spoke with a smile. Ask if they think the customer would hear a difference and what impact that might have on their relationship with the customer. Script: Hi, my name is from (company). I am following up on our call from earlier this morning. I found the information that you requested. Do you have a moment? 12 13

9 Exercises EXERCISE 2 TITLE: THE INDEFINITE HOLD PURPOSE: To practice a professional greeting with a customer and to learn how to place a customer on hold. TIME: 25 MINUTES MATERIALS: A CLOCK WITH A SECOND HAND THAT IS IN CLEAR VIEW FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS Review the steps for greeting a customer: Say good morning or good afternoon Use your company s name Identify yourself. Read the following sample greeting to the participants. Good morning. This is Betty from XYZ Corporation. Review the steps for placing the customer on hold: Ask your customer if he is able to hold Give the customer a realistic time of how long he will be on hold If the customer can t hold, try to take the call. Ask participants to form pairs and be ready to take turns role-playing a telephone conversation with a customer which begins with a formal greeting and involves placing the customer on hold. Ask participants to practice placing the customer (their partner) on hold for 30 seconds and then for two minutes. Participants should record their perception of time for each duration. Reconvene and ask participants to discuss their findings. How did 30 seconds feel? What about two minutes? EXERCISE 3 TITLE: TELEPHONE SERVICE - LIVE! PURPOSE: To practice active listening skills TIME: 40 MINUTES MATERIALS: FLIPCHART OR WHITEBOARD Exercises Divide the participants into pairs. For this exercise, have the participants sit back-to-back so they lose the benefit of seeing nonverbal communication. Have one person assume the role of speaker, the other of listener. Each participant will have an opportunity to assume each role by repeating this exercise. You may choose to demonstrate this exercise for the group before they begin. If so, you should perform the role of speaker, and a volunteer should assume the role of listener. 1. Instruct the speakers to pretend to be customers calling in to complain about a product or service. These participants should plan on speaking for about two minutes. 2. Instruct listeners to listen actively to their customers. When the speakers are done telling their stories, listeners should clarify their own understanding by asking questions, paraphrasing and/or summarizing what they heard. 3. The pairs should then turn to face each other. Instruct the speakers to provide feedback to the listeners. Respond to the following questions: How did the listener make you feel? How did the listener demonstrate active listening? In what ways did the listener paraphrase? Did the listener interrupt? 4. The listeners should also provide feedback to the speakers by answering the following: How did the speaker use inflection to deliver his or her complaint? Describe the speaker s tone of voice. How did he or she sound? How did the speaker feel when placing his or her complaint? Was how the speaker felt the same as how he or she sounded? 5. Have partners switch roles and repeat the exercise. 6. Reconvene the group and discuss each participant s experiences

10 Session Summary SESSION SUMMARY TIME: 25 minutes Summarize One summarizing technique is to review the course objectives with the class. Another technique is to ask each participant to highlight what was learned from the training session. Ask the participants if they have any final questions. The main points to review are: Be prepared by arriving early at an uncluttered desk and being ready to receive a call with the necessary information and tools within reach. Be professional in how you greet your customer and avoid placing the customer on hold or needlessly transferring the call. Be attentive through active listening. Make listening noises to let the customer know that you are listening. Paraphrase and ask questions to uncover facts, but never ignore, interrupt or assume you know what the customer is going to say. Be responsive by approaching needs with knowledge, controlling emotions, uncovering facts and agreeing on solutions. Administer the Post-Test Distribute a copy of the Post-Test (located on page 19) to each participant. You may want to customize the Post-Test to fit your organizational objectives. The Post-Test is an excellent tool for determining how much each participant learned during the session. Compare the results to the Pre-Test and review the different answers. PRE-TEST Please read each question carefully and write your answer in the space provided below it. Your answers will help us adapt the Telephone Courtesy: The Royal Treatment training session to best meet the needs of your group. Questions: 1. List ways you stay prepared for a caller. 2. How do you greet a caller? Evaluate Distribute the evaluation form (located on page 21) to participants when they have finished answering the questions on the Post-Test. When each participant returns the evaluation form to you, thank him or her for attending the session. 3. How can you avoid placing a caller on hold? Pre-Test 16 17

11 Pre-Test 4. What do you do to let a customer know you are listening? 5. How can a telephone customer service representative show a responsive approach to the customer s needs? POST-TEST Please read each question carefully and write your answer in the space provided below it. Questions: 1. List several ways to prepare for a caller. 2. What are the three elements of a greeting? 3. How can you avoid placing a customer on hold? If you do have to place a customer on hold, what would be the best method? Post-Test 18 19

12 Post-Test 4. List two examples of listening noises. 5. State and explain the four elements of a responsive approach to meeting a customer s needs. EVALUATION FORM Please circle your rating for each statement. Ratings: 1=NA, 2=Needs Improvement, 3=Satisfactory, 4=Very Good, 5=Excellent SUBJECT: The material was informative: The information was interesting: The material was easy to understand: TRAINING PROGRAM: The exercises as a learning tool were: The use of the video as a learning tool was: The program provided real-life examples: TRAINER: Trainer s presentation of information: Trainer s level of knowledge: Trainer s ability to facilitate discussion: Evaluation Form ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: 20 21

13 Overheads OBJECTIVES Describe ways to be prepared when receiving and handling calls Demonstrate professionalism in your telephone interactions Explain how to make customers feel welcomed and valued Show attentiveness and active listening skills Demonstrate a responsive approach for meeting customers needs Telephone Organizational Skills Be prepared for the caller Manage your time Know your job Overheads Overhead #1 Overhead #

14 Overheads THE GREETING The Greeting: Sets the tone for the entire conversation Should show courtesy and warmth Conveys a smile in your voice How to Greet: Say good morning or good afternoon Use your company s department name Identify yourself GUIDELINES FOR TRANSFER AND HOLD To transfer: Tell your customer the name of the person who can help Ask your customer permission to be placed on hold while you contact that person Stay on the line until the transfer is complete To put the customer on hold: Ask your customer if he or she is able to hold Give the customer a realistic time of how long the wait will be If the customer can t hold, try to take the call If you do place the caller on hold, it is for less than 30 seconds Overheads Overhead #3 Overhead #

15 Overheads LISTENING SKILLS Listening Noises: Uh-huh I see Listening Habits to Avoid: Assuming Interrupting Insincerity HOW TO BE RESPONSIVE Approach needs with knowledge Control emotions Uncover the facts Agree on a solution Overheads Overhead #5 Overhead #

16 Notes NOTES 28

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