Mastering the Art of Signposting: A Guide to Controlling Calls with Ease
When managing phone calls, signposting can make all the difference between a smooth and efficient conversation and a frustrating and confusing one. Signposting is the art of guiding the conversation using clear and concise language to let the caller know what to expect next. It's a crucial skill for anyone who frequently takes calls, such as customer service representatives, salespeople, or receptionists.
Mastering the art of signposting can help you control the call, build rapport with the caller, and ultimately achieve your desired outcome. In this guide, we'll explore the benefits of signposting, provide examples of effective signposting phrases, and offer tips on incorporating signposting into your phone calls. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, this guide will help you become more confident and effective in your phone conversations.
What is signposting?
What is signposting?
Signposting provides clear and concise information to the caller to let them know what to expect next in a conversation. It is an essential skill for anyone who regularly takes phone calls, as it helps to control the conversation and ensure that both parties understand what is happening. Effective signposting involves using simple, easy-to-understand language that avoids jargon or technical terms the caller may not understand.
Signposting is about proactively managing the conversation rather than simply reacting to what the caller says. By providing clear guidance on what will happen next and what the caller needs to do, the person taking the call can help to reduce confusion and misunderstandings and ensure that the conversation stays on track.
The importance of signposting in controlling calls
Signposting is an essential technique for controlling phone calls, as it helps to keep the conversation focused and on track. By providing clear guidance on what will happen next and what the caller needs to do, the person taking the call can help to reduce confusion and misunderstandings and ensure that the conversation stays on track.
Effective signposting can also help build rapport with the caller and demonstrate that you take their concerns seriously. By providing clear information and guidance, you can help to put the caller at ease and build trust and confidence in your abilities.
Finally, effective signposting can ensure you achieve your desired outcome from the call. By providing clear guidance and keeping the conversation focused, you can move the caller toward the desired result, whether a sale, a resolution to a problem, or simply a satisfied customer.
Common challenges when signposting
While signposting is a valuable technique for controlling phone calls, some common challenges can make it difficult to use effectively. One of the most significant challenges is balancing signposting with active listening. While providing clear guidance and keeping the conversation focused is essential, listening actively to the caller and responding appropriately to their needs is critical.
Another common challenge is adapting your signposting to different callers and situations. While some common phrases and techniques can be used in many cases, it's essential to be flexible and adapt your approach to the caller's specific needs.
Finally, it can be challenging to use signposting effectively when dealing with complex or technical issues. In these situations, it's essential to break down the information into simple, easy-to-understand steps and provide clear guidance on what the caller needs to do next.
Tips for effective signposting
To use signposting effectively, following some simple tips and techniques is essential. One of the most important is using clear and concise language that avoids technical jargon or complex terms the caller may need help understanding. Instead, use simple, easy-to-understand language to communicate what will happen next in the conversation.
Another important tip is to be proactive in managing the conversation. Rather than simply reacting to what the caller says, use signposting to guide the conversation and keep it focused on the desired outcome. This helps reduce confusion and misunderstandings and ensures both parties understand what is happening.
Finally, it's essential to be flexible and adapt your signposting to the caller's specific needs. While some common techniques and phrases can be used in many situations, it's essential to be adaptable and respond to the caller's needs and concerns.
Examples of effective signposting
You can use several signposting techniques and phrases in phone conversations. Some of the most effective include:
- "Just to let you know, we'll be working through this issue together, step by step."
- "I'll need you and your spouse on the line in a few moments."
- "I'll be ready for your credit card number after I take your shipping details."
- "Before we move on, let me recap what we've discussed so far."
- "In the next few minutes, I'll ask you some questions to help me better understand your needs."
- "Let me check that I've understood your question correctly before we move on."
- "I'll send you an email shortly with all the details of our conversation."
Using these and other effective signposting techniques can help guide the conversation, build rapport with the caller, and achieve your desired outcome.
How to train your call center agents on signposting
If you manage a call center or team of phone representatives, it's essential to provide training on effective signposting techniques. Some of the key elements to include in your training might consist of:
- The importance of signposting in controlling phone calls
- Common challenges when using signposting
- Tips and techniques for effective signposting
- Examples of effective signposting phrases
- Role-playing exercises to practice signposting techniques
- Ongoing coaching and feedback to reinforce good signposting habits
By providing comprehensive training on signposting techniques, you can help your team to become more effective and confident in their phone conversations.
The Role of Technology in Signposting
Technology can play a valuable role in supporting effective signposting in phone conversations. For example, call center software can provide prompts and reminders for agents to use specific signposting techniques or phrases. It can also provide real-time feedback on the effectiveness of signposting, helping agents to improve their skills over time.
Other technologies, such as chatbots or virtual assistants, can also use signposting techniques to guide customers through self-service processes or support common issues. By using clear and concise language and providing guidance on what to expect next, these technologies can help reduce customer frustration and confusion.
The benefits of mastering the art of signposting
Mastering the art of signposting can bring many benefits to both individuals and organizations. For individuals, it can help to build confidence and improve communication skills, leading to greater job satisfaction and career success. It can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty for organizations, leading to increased sales and revenue.
In addition, effective signposting can reduce the time and resources required to handle phone calls, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings or the need for follow-up calls. This can improve efficiency and reduce costs for organizations.
Best practices for signposting in different industries
While the principles of effective signposting are universal, some industry-specific best practices can help to improve its effectiveness. For example, signposting can guide patients through complex medical procedures or provide guidance on managing chronic conditions in healthcare. In sales, signposting can help to guide customers through the sales process and build trust and rapport.
By understanding different industries' specific needs and challenges, you can adapt your signposting techniques and phrases to be more effective in those contexts.
Mastering the art of signposting is a valuable skill for anyone who regularly takes phone calls. By providing clear guidance and using simple, easy-to-understand language, you can help to control the conversation, build rapport with the caller, and achieve your desired outcome. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, incorporating effective signposting techniques into your phone conversations can help you become more confident and effective in your role.
For more help controlling customer conversations, check out my Linkedin Learning course: Call Control Strategies.
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