Blog Article

25 Best Techniques For Phone Customer Service

Tanushree Munda
By Tanushree Munda | April 22, 2024 11:33 am

“Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.” – James Cash Penney

Excellent customer service is the lifeblood of any business, and with the rise of digital communication like live chat, providing outstanding phone customer service is more important than ever. It can be challenging to resolve issues and create a positive experience over the phone, but with the right techniques, your business can excel at it. This blog will explore the importance of phone customer service and provide you with the 25 best techniques to deliver an exceptional experience to your customers.

What Is Phone Customer Service?

Phone customer service is the assistance and support provided to customers over the telephone. It involves handling customer inquiries, complaints, and issues by phone, ensuring their needs are met and problems are resolved efficiently and effectively.

Phone customer service is often the primary point of contact between a business and its customers, making it a crucial aspect of the overall customer experience. It can also be a significant factor in a customer's decision to continue doing business with a company.

Why Is Good Customer Service on the Phone Important?

Forget the impersonal clicks and automated greetings of the digital world. Exceptional phone customer service remains a golden ring for businesses seeking to build strong customer relationships. Here's why prioritizing phone support keeps your customers happy and your business thriving:

  1. Building Customer Loyalty
  2. Delivering a positive and memorable phone experience can increase customer loyalty and satisfaction. When customers feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to continue doing business with your company.

  3. Enhancing Brand Reputation
  4. Word-of-mouth recommendations are powerful. Providing excellent phone customer service can lead to positive reviews and referrals, enhancing your brand's reputation and attracting new customers.

  5. Increasing Customer Satisfaction
  6. Resolving issues and meeting customer needs efficiently and effectively leads to higher customer satisfaction. Happy customers are more likely to remain loyal to your brand and may even become brand advocates.

  7. Driving Sales and Revenue
  8. Providing exceptional phone customer service can directly impact sales and revenue. Customers who receive helpful and friendly assistance are more likely to make a purchase and may even spend more.

  9. Standing Out From Competitors
  10. In a crowded marketplace, excellent phone customer service sets your business apart. It showcases your commitment to customer satisfaction and can give you a competitive edge over rivals who may neglect phone interactions.

Also Read:11 Effective Reasons Businesses Need to Prioritize Customer Service

25 Best Techniques For Phone Customer Service

Now that we understand the importance of phone customer service, let's delve into the best practices to make your customers rave about their experience:

  1. Answer Promptly (Response Time)
  2. Aim to answer calls within three rings. A quick response sets the tone for a positive interaction and shows respect for the customer's time.

  3. Greet Warmly (Personalized Greeting)
  4. Use a friendly and welcoming tone. For example, "Thank you for calling [Company Name]. This is [Your Name]. How may I assist you today?"

  5. Listen Actively (Active Listening)
  6. Pay close attention to the customer's concerns and needs. Show them you're actively listening by paraphrasing their issue and asking clarifying questions. This builds trust and ensures a complete understanding of their situation.

  7. Empathize and Personalize (Empathy & Personalization)
  8. Put yourself in the customer's shoes to show empathy. Personalize the interaction by using their name and referring to their purchase history or account information (if appropriate) leveraging a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

  9. Set a Positive Tone (Positive Communication)
  10. Maintain a pleasant and professional tone of voice throughout the conversation. Smile while you talk, as it can even be reflected in your phone demeanor. A friendly tone instantly puts the customer at ease.

  11. Be Patient
  12. Some customers may require more time to explain their issues. Especially with elderly or frustrated customers, demonstrate patience and understanding. Rushing them can lead to further complications.

  13. Use Clear Language (Clear Communication)
  14. Avoid jargon or technical terms. Speak clearly and concisely, using language the customer can easily understand.

  15. Offer Solutions (Problem-Solving Skills)
  16. Don't just identify problems – present solutions! Offer options and collaborate with the customer to find the most suitable resolution.

  17. Take Ownership (Accountability)
  18. If a mistake has been made, own it and offer a sincere apology. Taking responsibility shows professionalism and fosters trust.

  19. Provide Feedback (Communication & Transparency)
  20. If a hold or transfer is necessary, explain why and provide an estimated wait time. Offer regular updates if the hold or transfer takes longer than expected.

  21. Use Holds Effectively (Call Management)
  22. Minimize placing customers on hold. However, if unavoidable, use them strategically and efficiently. Check back in to ensure they haven't disconnected and provide updates on the situation.

  23. Offer Callback Options (Convenience)
  24. For longer wait times, consider offering a callback option. This demonstrates respect for the customer's time and can significantly improve their experience.

  25. Know Your Products/Services (Product Knowledge)
  26. Be an expert on what your company offers. This in-depth knowledge allows you to provide accurate information and personalized recommendations to customers.

  27. Stay Calm (De-escalation)
  28. Even in challenging situations, maintain your composure. A calm demeanor can de-escalate tense situations and project professionalism.

  29. Use Silence Strategically (Active Listening)
  30. Don't be afraid of short pauses in the conversation. Silence gives the customer time to gather their thoughts and validates that you're actively listening.

  31. Show Gratitude (Positive Reinforcement)
  32. Thank the customer for their call and time. A sincere expression of appreciation goes a long way in building a positive relationship.

  33. Be Accessible (Availability)
  34. Ensure your phone lines are adequately staffed during regular business hours. Consider offering extended hours or even 24/7 support if possible. The goal is to make it easy for customers to reach a real person whenever they need assistance.

  35. Train Your Team (Employee Training)
  36. Invest in comprehensive and regular training for your customer service representatives. Well-trained staff are confident and equipped to handle a broad range of customer inquiries and issues.

  37. Use a Professional Voicemail (Professionalism)
  38. If you miss a call, have a professional and informative voicemail greeting. Promptly return calls and make a note of any required actions to ensure follow-through.

  39. Learn From Feedback (Customer Feedback)
  40. Actively seek customer feedback on their phone service experience and use it to continuously improve. Regularly review and implement changes based on the feedback to demonstrate that you value their opinions.

  41. Handle Complaints Efficiently (Complaint Resolution)
  42. Address customer complaints promptly and effectively. View them as opportunities to transform a negative experience into a positive one.

  43. Go the Extra Mile (Customer Satisfaction)
  44. Always look for ways to exceed customer expectations. Small gestures, like sending a handwritten thank-you note or offering a discount, can leave a lasting positive impression.

  45. Be Consistent (Quality Assurance)
  46. Consistency is key. Ensure all customer service representatives adhere to the same standards and procedures to deliver a seamless and predictable experience for every customer.

  47. Use a CRM System (Customer Relationship Management)
  48. Utilize a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track customer interactions. This allows for a personalized touch and a consistent experience across all touchpoints, whether by phone, email, or even chatbots.

  49. Regularly Review and Improve (Continuous Improvement)
  50. Continuously evaluate and improve your phone customer service practices. Stay updated on industry best practices and adapt your techniques to meet evolving customer needs and expectations. Consider using tools like help desk software to streamline processes and identify areas for improvement.

Additionally, you can explore integrating AI-powered solutions like:

These can provide 24/7 support for basic inquiries, freeing up your human representatives to handle more complex issues and personalize the customer experience.

By following these techniques and embracing innovation, you can transform your phone customer service into a competitive advantage, fostering customer loyalty and driving business growth.

Related:Customer Support: Definition, Importance, Benefits + Best Strategies for Customer Satisfaction

What to Avoid On Phone Customer Service

Providing exceptional phone customer service is a powerful tool for building customer loyalty and driving business growth. However, even well-intentioned representatives can fall into some common traps that damage the customer experience. Here's what to avoid:

  1. Excessive Hold Times
  2. Imagine a customer reaches out for help with a pressing issue. After navigating an automated menu, they're greeted with hold music – for ten minutes, then fifteen. Frustration sets in. This scenario is a surefire way to send customer satisfaction plummeting.

    The Fix: Strive to answer calls promptly, ideally within three rings. If a short hold becomes unavoidable due to high call volume, apologize for the wait and offer an estimated wait time. More importantly, deliver on that timeframe. Regularly update the customer with the status and assure them their call is important.

  3. Excessive Transfers
  4. Imagine a customer calls about a billing issue. After explaining their situation, they're transferred to the "billing department." After another wait, they're informed the issue requires transferring to "account services." This runaround can be incredibly frustrating. It makes customers feel like their problem is getting tossed around and not being addressed seriously.

    The Fix: Empower your representatives with the knowledge and resources to handle a wide range of inquiries. Utilize internal resources and knowledge bases to equip them to solve problems independently. If a transfer is absolutely necessary, ensure a smooth handover with clear communication about the reason for the transfer and relevant customer information provided to the receiving department.

  5. Poor Listening Skills
  6. Active listening is the cornerstone of effective communication. Imagine a customer calls in, upset about a malfunctioning product. The representative interrupts them mid-sentence, launching into a troubleshooting script. This approach disregards the customer's concerns and can escalate the situation.

    The Fix: Give customers your full attention. Listen actively to their concerns without interrupting. Paraphrase key points to ensure comprehension and demonstrate that you're truly hearing them. This builds trust and shows that you value their time and perspective.

  7. Unfriendly Tone
  8. A monotone or unfriendly tone can leave a cold and indifferent impression. Imagine a customer calls with a simple question, but the representative sounds bored and disinterested. This negativity can color the entire interaction.

    The Fix: Project a warm, friendly, and professional demeanor throughout the conversation. Remember, a smile can translate over the phone! Enthusiasm is contagious, and a positive tone can instantly put a customer at ease. Use greetings and acknowledgements appropriately, and be mindful of your inflection.

  9. No Solutions Offered
  10. Identifying a problem is just the first step. Imagine a customer calls in about a delayed shipment. The representative acknowledges the delay but offers no solution. This leaves the customer feeling helpless and frustrated.

    The Fix: After pinpointing the issue, take the initiative to offer practical and helpful solutions. Collaborate with the customer to find a resolution that best suits their needs. This could involve expediting the shipment, offering a discount, or providing a clear timeline for resolution.

  11. Arguing with Customers
  12. Even if a customer is frustrated or mistaken, arguing is never the answer. Imagine a customer calls in, convinced they've been overcharged. The representative gets defensive and enters into an argument about billing policies. This approach only escalates the situation and damages the customer relationship.

    The Fix: Stay calm, empathetic, and professional, even with difficult customers. Focus on de-escalating the situation by acknowledging their frustration and offering to help. Use active listening and open-ended questions to understand their perspective. Work collaboratively to find a solution that addresses their concerns.

  13. Broken Promises
  14. Building trust is essential in customer service. Imagine a customer calls in about a faulty product. The representative promises a replacement will be shipped overnight. Days later, the customer still hasn't received anything. This broken promise leads to disappointment and erodes trust.

    The Fix: Never make promises you can't keep. Be honest and realistic in your commitments. If a specific timeframe is uncertain, acknowledge that and set expectations accordingly. Under-promise and over-deliver whenever possible to exceed customer expectations.

  15. Lack of Follow-Up
  16. Following up demonstrates that you care. Imagine a customer calls in about a technical issue. The representative suggests a solution and promises to follow up the next day. The customer never receives a call. This lack of follow-up leaves the customer feeling forgotten and diminishes their overall satisfaction.

    The Fix: Set reminders or use call management tools to ensure timely follow-through on all commitments. If a solution requires further investigation, keep the customer informed with regular updates. A simple call back or email update demonstrates that you're actively working on their behalf and haven't forgotten about their issue.

By avoiding these phone customer service blunders and implementing the best practices outlined earlier, you can ensure that your customer service representatives leave a positive and lasting impression on every caller. Remember, a happy customer is a loyal customer, and exceptional phone service is a powerful tool for driving business growth.


Excellent phone customer service separates you from the competition. By following these tips, you can create positive phone interactions that build loyalty, enhance your brand image, and boost sales. Remember, Appy Pie Desk can be your secret weapon for managing inquiries, tracking issues, and empowering your team to deliver exceptional service every time. Let's keep your customers happy and your business growing!

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