With the busy pace in most service centers, it might seem counter-intuitive to recommend that reps make time to pause during the day. But according to Nance Guilmartin, author of The Power of Pause, taking time to pause can help save time in the long run by humanizing customer interactions, reducing automatic responses, defusing angry customers, and giving yourself time to better understand the underlying needs of customers.
This is particularly true when the customer is calling about a problem. “The first thing reps can do when they are listening to somebody who is complaining or venting is to literally take a deep breath,” Guilmartin says. “And use that pause to get in touch with whatever it is that this person is going through, even if you have heard it many times before. If you don’t, if you respond without pausing, then your response will come across as automatic.
“And if you fail to respond to the caller as a person first, rather than as a problem, then the caller is more likely to become defensive and even offensive.”
A simple pause, on the other hand, gives you a chance to get your bearings, adopt a more helpful mindset, and avoid providing an automatic (and perhaps unhelpful) response.
More tips for using a well-placed pause to improve service appear in the February issue of Customer Communicator newsletter.