Ever wonder how to serve three customers at one time without the customers getting agitated?

If you’ve ever held a job in customer service, you’ve doubtlessly been put in a position where you felt you had to “multi-task” service with multiple people. Perhaps a person walking up to a front desk, when a phone rings, and another call comes in right behind it.

Hey, you can’t prevent these situations. So let’s learn how to cope with them. Here are some tips for dealing with multiple customers at one time.

The best way to serve multiple customers simultaneously depends on whether these customers are calling in on the phone or have walked into your office. In either scenario, however, every customer deserves to be treated with respect and made to feel that her/his business is important to your organization.

As a general rule, a person who walks into your office takes precedence over a phone call. If you receive a phone call while working with someone in person, either let the call go to voicemail or take the call, get the caller’s phone number, and call that person back once you have finished assisting the person in your office.

If several people have come into your office, try to handle them in the order in which they came in, but it is crucial to make eye contact with everyone waiting for you and let them know that you will be with them shortly.

When juggling several telephone calls at once, it is best to finish one call before starting the next. If you have the freedom to answer calls as you see fit, it is best to finish up with one caller (and enter notes in the customer database, if your position requires this) before starting the next call. Nothing upsets people more than hearing someone answer “Thank you for calling Archives and Records; will you hold please?” Besides making the person on the phone wonder why you picked up the line when you weren’t ready to assist her/him, you will be breaking the continuity of the first call and making that call take longer, thereby aggravating your first caller.

As there are many resources online about this subject, I highly recommend researching other methods, particularly communication skills training and David Allen’s GTD theory.

Seth Brickner is a trainer and consultant for Impact Learning Systems, a leader in improving customer loyalty and telesales training. Learn more by Googling “Impact Learning Systems” or via Twitter @ impactlearning.


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