Question: How do I conclude end-of-day customer calls without shortchanging the customer?

Answers from frontline reps —


Conduct “mission focused” communications. Due to our military roots, our representatives know when to be “mission focused.” In other words, our representatives are encouraged to get the member’s concerns taken care of fully without allowing the call to become uncontrolled. Our representatives are trained to keep conversations focused on resolving the member’s needs efficiently without being perceived as rude or disrespectful. Representatives should ask closed and open questions at appropriate times to keep the call on track. When this is done correctly, your customer won’t even know. It’s almost like playing conversational chess!

— Megann Wither, Navy Federal Credit Union


Keep customer needs in focus. Never rush your customer off of the phone just because it is quitting time. Customers are our most important asset and should never be made to feel as if they are a burden or interfering with your time. If you have to run over the hours of operation to make sure that your customer is taken care of and made to feel important, then you do so. Think of it as if you didn’t have customers calling you, then you most likely wouldn’t have a job.

If there seems to be a lull in the flow of conversation, you can always politely ask the customer if there is anything else that you can help them with, or if there is anything else that they might need. Just be sure to remember that a customer’s satisfaction and feeling of importance to you, has no time frame or hours of operation.

Make sure that just because it is quitting time that you are still being professional and that you are focusing on the customer’s needs. If you are not doing the latter, than this alone can increase the length of time that you will be spending on the phone with the customer.

— Jo Sprowl, SKF USA Inc.


Make the caller feel valued. The first thing I try to do is to answer the member’s initial request as quickly as possible. In my opinion this cuts down the possibility of getting sidetracked and forgetting to answer the member’s original question, which could prolong the call. Secondly, I try to give the member a piece of information that will improve their overall experience. For example if the member is calling in to make a payment, I may suggest them using our mobile app. This can directly have an effect on their time, while also reducing our call volume. The final step I take is to try and find some type of connection between myself and the member. This is how I personalize the call, and it could be something as simple as calling the member by their rank. I have often found that once someone feels you have something in common or share the same interest, the encounter becomes more memorable and they end up feeling more valued.

— Jerrard Gates, Navy Federal Credit Union


Don’t rush the call. The important thing to keep in mind is your own pace. You will have a tendency to try to rush your caller when you receive a call at the end of the day, and that is not fair to them.

If you receive a call at the end of the day it is natural to feel that you need to complete the call as soon as possible. However, as with all customer service, every customer should be treated with the same amount of respect and dignity. A call received at the end of the day should follow the same format you would use for the first call of the day. Over time you develop a flow to every call and this will carry over to any you receive, regardless of the time of day.

— Rachel Dillon, Assurant Specialty Property


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