Learn how to diagnose the issue a customer is experiencing by using customer service best practices. In this video, we look at closed- and open-ended questions.
- Now that we've open the interaction with the Greeting and Validation it's time to start to investigate and diagnose the issue after all they're not just calling us to chit-chat. So no matter what type of service we are providing there are some simple customer service techniques we can utilize to investigate and diagnose properly. They key to successfully investigating and diagnosing lies in two key areas: Questioning and Listening. The process requires us to listen and question and question and listen. It's a process that repeats throughout the interaction of life cycle and requires us to be very skillful in our delivery.
There are different types of questioning techniques that can be employed to gather useful information from a customer so we can effectively investigate and diagnose the issue. We're going to review four specific types of questions: Closed. Open. Probing. And Confirming. These questions are all equal in power. What we have to determine is when is the best time to use each type of question. So let's get started with closed-ended questions.
Closed-ended questions have answers that are simply yes or no or are limited to a few options. These closed questions allow us to help guide the call reign in that talkative or emotional customer and gather valuable information to troubleshoot the issue. In our greeting and validation we recommended asking for validating information such as a unique customer identifier. Examples we discussed included: a customer ID number a computer tag or Social Security Number.
We typically start our process with the closed-ended question but we can use them throughout the contact whenever needed to help keep the conversation on point. Once of the key components to asking closed-ended questions is to start the question with a verb. Verb examples include such words as: can may are is does will have could would and should. By using these verbs they help us to signal to the customer that you need specific pieces of information and you're trying to narrow down the information that you need as well.
What are some examples of additional close-ended questions that you use at your desk? Take a minute to think about them and write down at least three questions using the verb examples we've just discussed. Now it's often helpful to think about a common issue or request that you receive. Here are some examples of closed-ended questions: May I have your first name? Are you seeing an error message on the screen? Could you show me that screen again? We can also use closed-ended questions to inform the customer and gain agreement before we begin our questioning process.
It helps to set the expectations and control the call for the customer. And it sounds something like this: – I'm going to ask a few questions that will help diagnose the issue, is this okay? - Once you gain agreement another technique that can be used in certain situations is to let the customer know that you're specifically going to ask them closed-ended questions. This is extremely helpful when you're working with the confused or uncertain or emotional or even a really talkative customer. This allows them to simply respond without needing to give a lot of extra information.
For example; - I'm going to ask a few yes or no questions to isolate the issue. Did this issue start today? I did, okay. Is anyone around you also experiencing this issue? Okay! Thank you, that helps. Did you click on the corporate icon to get into the program? No. (whispers) Okay. - Think about how you can incorporate the verbs in your closed-ended questions. Also, when are the best times you utilize them throughout the life cycle of the contact?
First, Fancy provides guidance on how to use the right types of questions to gather information about an issue. Then, she explains how to professionally handle common customer service tasks, like escalating and transferring calls. Then, she shows how to hone interactions with customers by refining communications—acknowledging how tone and word choice can diffuse tension. She wraps up by covering common customer behavior scenarios in which the tools, techniques, and strategies from the course can be applied.
- Greeting and validating contacts
- Asking investigative and diagnostic questions
- Confirming and validating responses
- Reaching resolution and closure
- Using mute or hold on a call
- Escalating or transferring a call
- Building rapport over the phone, in writing, and face-to-face
- Refining word choice, style, and tone
- Managing conflict effectively
- Recovering unsatisfied customers
- Redirecting customers
- Identifying customer behavior