S1 EP 11 How to close any call with confidence

How to close any call with confidence

In this episode of the CX Matters Podcast, host Justin Tippett talks to one of Australia’s leading contact centre trainers Simon Blair as he reveals the secrets on how to close any call with confidence.

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CX Matters Podcast

10 May · Season 1 · Episode 11

9 Min, 20 Sec · By ACXPA

In this episode of the CX Matters Podcast, host Justin Tippett talks to one of Australia's leading contact centre trainers Simon Blair as he reveals the secrets on how to close any call with confidence.

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Welcome to another episode of the CX Matters Podcast. My name is Justin Tippett, CEO of ACXPA, and in this episode, I am joined by one of Australia’s top Customer Service Experts and ACXPA board member, Simon Blair. Welcome, Simon.

Welcome, Justin. Thank you for having me. Yeah, looking forward to giving some valuable content on how to close a call. I’m sure everyone is very much listening with bated breath to learn these secrets behind how to close a call.

As people would know who listen to our podcast, we typically only cover one topic on the podcast. There are plenty of others that you’ll find there in all the usual places on the CX Matters Podcast. But for this one, as you alluded to, Simon, we’re going to be talking about how to close a call.

Now, I have to say, having worked in the industry for God, I don’t know, longer than I care to remember, surely by now, Simon, everyone knows how to close a call.

You would think so. But as you know, I listen to a lot of calls for clients, and of all the parts of the call from start to finish, how calls end is typically the most poorly executed in terms of what I hear across the board. So, what do you put that down to? What are the reasons for that?

I think there’s so much time and effort that’s put into starting calls, discovering needs, providing solutions, the knowledge, etc., the processing of inquiries. But unless the actual end is just severely neglected, and it’s probably because there’s just not a lot of expertise in how to get that right. And so, staff have never been taught or shown a structured method, then they tend just to make it up as they go along. And as you know, you can get those awkward exchanges that we have as consumers. People just don’t know how to end it. So, yeah, I’ve got a method to simplify that.

Okay, you’ve got everyone going, “All right, what’s this method, Simon?”

Now, before you reveal the method, it’s a good time to tell everyone that there are lots of great tips on the ACXPA website. So, if you are looking for tips, there are articles written by Simon and lots of other experts on all elements of phone calls, customer service, customer experience, etc. So please make sure you check it out.

Simon, with this particular call close, you said there is a technique, a method, a methodology, because like you said, for a lot of contact centres, it’s a QA-driven process. You must say this at the end of the call. You know the pet hate I know for both of us is, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” And it’s like, man, you didn’t help me with the funny initial phone call, right? So, I’m guessing we’re going to avoid that. So please tell our listeners what is this fantastic technique that you’ve developed over lots of years?

Yeah, you just triggered me now, Justin, with that. Every time I hear it, I cringe. So, there’s a better way. And so, one of the first things I do with my clients is I ban them from saying, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” Right straight up, no more. Check that out, there’s a better way.

Yeah. What’s the better way?

Now the point when that would normally be asked is when they’re trying to close the call. So what should you say instead?

Justin, before I let you go, do you have any questions for me?

Oh, actually, no, I don’t think so.

Simon: That’s great. Fantastic. So then we can roll all that into the second technique. This is where you can hit an emotional peak in terms of the experience for customers, especially if you’ve been good leading up to this point. Really help them, hopefully resolve otherwise why are you finishing the call in the first place? Okay, if you’ve checked they’ve got any questions, they don’t or they might, in which case you would address that. Yep. Expression of gratitude.

Gratitude is one of those things that’s the single most powerful thing you can do in terms of communication with another person on planet Earth is to express your gratitude, but we don’t want to overplay our hand. It’s got to be genuine, simple, sincere. The best way to show gratitude is with the word “appreciate”. So, what are you showing appreciation for? Well, the simplest thing you can do for any circumstance is that they’re called or their time. If there’s been a bit more involved in the call, like it hasn’t been simple, there’s been stuff to work through, you can use words like patience, understanding. Let me demonstrate for you.

So, I’ll repeat it with what I’ve done.

Technique number one: “Justin, do you have any questions for me at all?”

Uh, no thanks Simon. You’ve been great.

Look, just want to say I really appreciate your call and I’m glad I could get that sorted for you. Okay, so that’s two. Now there’s one more which is literally how do you end the call? Now, what so many people do is they use the word “bye”, “see you later”, “have a good one”, those sorts of phrases. Unfortunately, what tends to happen, especially with “bye” and I’m sure you know where this is going, you can get caught in that sort of little dance that loop. You’ll say “bye”, the other person feels they have to say “bye”, you say “bye” back, who’s actually going to end this call? Yeah, so we want to avoid that awkward dance of “you hang up”, “no, you hang up”. And the simplest way to end that is with the word “thanks” or “thank you”.

Okay, why does that work? “Thanks” or “thank you”, look what I do with my hands and say, “thank you, thank you”. It’s a very clean, it’s a clean finish, it’s a definitive piece of language. And so if you put “thanks” or “thank you” either on its own or within just a final sentence with all words, it makes that sentence clean, like it puts a full stop at the end, and it’s that full stop that triggers, is the trigger and the cue for the customer to literally hang up without that awkwardness. Words like “bye” and “see you later” tend to, if it was scripted, if it was written down, you’d see either “bye” dot dot dot and they have ellipses, it’s like the trails often do nothing. But “thanks” or “thank you” is clean and definitive, and it makes the whole literal end of the call just comfortable for everyone. Yep.

So could we role play that out, that three-step process, just for the benefit of our listeners? So if I play customer, just imagine Justin that I’ve been an amazing consultant, has delivered an incredible…

Look, just want to say I really appreciate your call and I’m glad I could get that sorted for you. Do you have any questions for me at all?

Uh, no thanks Simon, you’ve been great.

Thanks, Justin. It’s been a pleasure to speak with you today. Have a good one.

Thank you, Simon. You too.

Okay, well, that’s a wrap.

Um, but yeah, thanks or thank you. Have a great day. So, that’s an example of just that final sentence incorporating thanks or thank you with some other, you know, nice farewell. Still makes it clean, still makes it defended. Fantastic.

The other thing that’s, as per that role play, is critical is, uh, it’s got to be quick, it’s got to be efficient, it’s not too, it’s not overground, it’s not overplayed. Why? Because what do customers want to do at the end when they’ve got what they need? You know, what do you want to do?

Get off the phone, right? I’m busy, yeah, you want to get off.

So, anything that’s not quick and flowing, and that’s where the structure becomes very useful, it’s just bang bang. Um, yeah, so it’s got all the ingredients of good structure, a clean finish but still personable, still engaging, has that gratitude. It’s the real real um, strength of that glow, yep. And it leaves that strong final impression. And that’s really what you’re trying to create as an outcome.

So, staff who are good at their jobs, they’re able to not sort of fall apart a bit at the end. They can really leverage the good work they’ve done, right? Right to the end. And of course, as you know in the customer experience world, customers remember the last thing. That’s right. I mean, Disney have made a very famous, uh, yeah, case study out of it, right? So, um, fantastic.

There you go, three-step process, everyone, on how to close a call properly. Simon, thank you so much for sharing some of your expertise.

Thanks, Justin. I don’t know how to, uh, don’t know how to end this podcast because I don’t want to say goodbye and do that awkward dance. So, if you’ve got any other questions, uh, thanks everyone for listening, and we will catch you on the next episode of the CX Matters Podcast. Bye for now.

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