5 Ingredients for a Great Conversation

Dawn Courtney works for Insurance Provider Paymentshield as a Sales and Retention Adviser. Working in customer service since she was twelve years old as a Saturday girl in her parent’s shop, she’s honed her conversation skills from an early age.

My guiding philosophy when it comes to supporting customers when they call Paymentshield is to see each call as a conversation and that a good conversation is not good enough; I believe every customer conversation should be a great conversation!

Here are my tips for success:

1) Listen
Probably the most important part of a great conversation is actually the bit where you say nothing at all. Actively listening to the person you’re in a conversation with is key. I make a mental note of keywords and key pieces of information and even listen out for what’s going on in the background to help get to the bottom of what I can do to help make their lives a little easier.

Listening out for verbal cues are also really important. Being able to recognise that someone is in a rush, perhaps because they’ve called during a quick moment of peace and in those situations making sure the call is as efficient as possible means the customer goes away feeling happy with their experience. Whereas with other customers, I’ll sense they appreciate a friendly voice at the end of the phone and are happy to take things a little slower. With those customers, I’ll make sure that I take more time with them so they feel properly listened to and understood.”

2) Be you, be big-hearted
Something I picked up while working for the insurer Royal Sun Alliance was the phrase ‘Be you, be big hearted’ and It’s stuck with me throughout every other role since.

I’m an upbeat person and I try to make sure my personality comes across in every call. Caring about people and wanting to support them comes quite naturally; I think if you work in Customer Service and don’t feel that way then you’re probably in the wrong job. It really is as simple as always treating customers how you would want to be treated and you know you’ve done a great job when you see your name mentioned in a positive online review!

3) Make it personal
Working in a regulated environment a lot of our calls are heavily scripted but that doesn’t mean they have to be dull.

My first priority is to make sure I ask and listen to how the customer likes to be called– you should never have to ask this question more than once! I’ll also do little things like checking their date of birth to see if they’ve got a birthday coming up and listen out for clues about their life such as the sound of a child or pet in the background. That way if I’m talking through information about the benefits of their insurance policy, I can make it relevant to them. I also think that showing an interest in the customer as a human being not just a policy number makes a huge difference to how they’ll feel about me and Paymentshield once they get off the call.

4) Keep it real
Many people will have heard the cliché ‘dial with a smile’ well I go one step further than that and I’ll imagine that the person on the other end of the phone can actually see me, as though we’re chatting face to face. This keeps me focussed on the customer and I truly believe your body language comes across in your tone making for a much more natural conversation.

5) Enjoy it!
I love gabbing to people whether it’s in work or outside of work. My favourite conversations have always been with my whole family around the dinner table, including my 4 (now grown-up) children. Even now we still make time to share funny stories with each other and I enjoy hearing about what they’ve been getting up to since we were last all together. I love getting to know our customers too and having great conversations with them just makes the day feel more fulfilling.

Obviously sometimes I’ll have a call which hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to, but I aim to treat every call like the first call of the day – It doesn’t matter what’s come before. I think it’s important that each customer feels special and individual and hopefully goes away having enjoyed our conversation too!

Content provided by Paymentshield. For more information visit their website www.paymentshield.co.uk