Avoiding Dead Air

Aug 28, 2007 8:49 PM  By

As in broadcasting, silence, or dead air, is not golden on the telephone line. In fact, it’s anything but. And it can wreak havoc in your contact center, especially among newer customer service representatives.

What is dead air? When an agent remains quiet for more than three to four seconds it’s called dead air and it’s a major problem with agents on incoming calls. Dead air can absolutely kill the rapport with the customer and ruin the sale opportunity. The only way to reduce dead air is to train the agent about the process, so that every possible rebuttal to common questions or comments is at the agent’s fingertips.

Make sure that the agents have a mock call session with either the trainer, team lead or quality assurance to avoid dead air on calls. Also, regularly monitoring calls and giving feedback about how to avoid dead air can help. At the same time, it’s mandatory to let the agents know what dead air is all about and its negative impact.

It often helps when the agent discusses what they are doing — especially while handling customer complaints. They can repeat back any notes documenting the customer’s complaint and describe the actions they are taking to resolve the issue. This helps minimizes dead air while letting the customer hear that the issue is correctly understood and documented, as well as what actions are being taken to resolve the issue.

Keeping the customer in the loop while on the phone does more than avoid dead air. Having your agents reconfirm the details and reply in an empathetic tone will help build customer rapport. If your CSR is researching an account, it’s not bad to let the customer know what they are looking for. This approach will instill an air of confidence to the customer by letting them know that the agent is competent and taking action.