This article contains some more tips for making sure your child care center employees are ready to communicate in a clear, positive manner over the phone (see Parts 1 & 2). You want them to be ready and willing to provide your center’s families as well as inquirers with the type of excellent customer service which they deserve.
7. If possible, try to suggest a solution to some of the problems that the caller mentions. A word of caution is in order on this point, however. Only mention such a solution if you’re authorized to do so. In other words, don’t make answers up as you go along, or promise that a situation will be handled in a certain way if you’re not the person designated to make that decision. If a customer brings up something that is outside your realm of knowledge or beyond your ability to rightfully address, assure them instead that you’ll bring it up to someone else who can help them. Then, make sure to follow through and do so after your conversation is over.
8. Express empathy when your caller seems distressed, even if you don’t agree with their position on an issue they’ve raised. Let them know that you and the rest of the staff truly care about their needs and concerns.
9. Strive for clear, professional communication at all times. Don’t use words that your caller may have difficulty understanding, such as unfamiliar pet names for people or programs, catchphrases, or slang words. You don’t want to say anything that could be accidentally misunderstood.
10. Be prepared to explain what makes your center unique in a positive way. Let prospective parents know why they should want to send their child to your center. Have a list of benefits ready to share with them over the phone.
11. Always try to end calls cheerfully. Express gratitude that they called. Tie up any loose ends that were raised during the call, and offer reminders and confirmations of important points that were discussed, such as an upcoming meeting.
12. Work at being more of a listener than a talker during your phone interactions. Most callers will appreciate someone who pays close attention to their needs and doesn’t keep them on the phone for long periods of time unnecessarily. At the same time, don’t make your answers so brief that you sound rushed. Strive for a healthy balance in the amount of time you talk and listen, while putting a greater emphasis on listening. Make sure you move beyond just hearing to actively listening. This skill involves giving the caller your focused attention, thinking about what they’re saying rather than simply planning your response while they’re talking. You can demonstrate how well you’ve been listening by repeating a summary of the points they’ve raised back to them for clarification. Avoid distractions such as other conversations or computer work.
Making sure your staff members are well versed in these etiquette guidelines will give them confidence as they answer the phone. Implementing such a system can greatly enhance your center’s reputation as well as facilitate optimal customer service for your valued customers.