In addition to customers wanting customer service via social media, businesses need not forget about the tried and true methods for customer service that most people still prefer, like the phone and email.

Not only is phone customer service the most popular form of customer service, but phone customer service is also the most effective. Check out the above chart comparing the most popular channels for customer service.

A recent study by intent-based solutions company NICE Systems found the telephone is the preferred method for 88% of people seeking to resolve customer service issues, suggesting that real-life interactions are still paramount to customer satisfaction.

Despite double-digit growth in social media and mobile app use for customer service since 2011, these channels remain the least preferred, while speaking to live reps via telephone resolves at least 69% of customer service issues.

To help customer service phone operators be more effective at providing customer service over the phone, here are six etiquette tips for phone customer service.

  1. Develop an interest
    Showing you care can leading to building a lasting rapport with the customer. The customer should not feel like the rep is just going through the motions of providing phone customer service.
  2. Remain professional
    Avoid slang terms, or joking with the customer. They are calling for your help, not your humor. Also, refer to the customer as Mr. or Ms. unless they request otherwise.
  3. Convey respect
    The customer may not always be right, but they damn sure deserve the respect of the businesses and service providers they buy from. Even when/if the customer gets angry, it is important to remain calm and treat the customer with respect.
  4. Be honest and clear
    It almost goes without saying, but honesty is very important. It also helps to be clear, so there is zero confusion about the answers to each customer’s questions. Phone customer service operators should never guess or make up answers.
  5. Know what you’re talking about
    Customer service agents should be thoroughly trained on the topics required to sufficiently answer the customer’s questions and address their customer service issue.
  6. Be courteous
    Above all, being kind can go a long way to show how dedicated a support representative is. Keep in mind that when customers receive good service, it creates similar feelings of being in love.

With all this in mind, it’s important to remember that good customer service is much more than just being polite, interested, respectful, competent, professional, honest, and clear.

Good customer service is a combination of the person providing the service, the customer’s perception of how they’re being treated, the customer service processes and procedures in place, the software and systems used to deliver the customer service, and the amount of time it takes to resolve the issue. All of these elements combine to make the customer service experience either good or bad, and we do our best to always ensure a memorable (good) customer experience.