It's Susan Here!
This is a role-play scenario to work on with your teacher.
You will play someone who works for a medium-sized company. Your teacher will play customers who you need to talk to.
This is different from "You're Through To Michael!" because here, you are making the call - not answering it.
This is a great exercise for building confidence in telephone work and business English!
You are a Customer Service Representative for Banana Computers. Your job involves calling customers for a number of reasons, such as:
Giving them updates on problems they have reported
Checking customers are happy with Banana's service
These are standard scripts that will work at the beginning, middle and end of most calls. If you are nervous or have problems making calls in English, practicing and learning these will help your confidence.
We can't tell you how to handle every situation on a customer call. But if you're confident about the start and end, you should be more confident throughout. You might want to stick them on your desktop!
Getting Through A Receptionist
Sometimes you don't have a direct number for your customer, and need to go through a switchboard or receptionist.
“Oh hi, good morning. It’s Susan from Banana Computers. I’m trying to get hold of Valerie Martin? It’s about a fault she reported recently.”
It's not uncommon to be asked to repeat your details:
“Sure, it's Susan… Brown… from Banana Computers. That’s correct.”
Greeting Your Customer
Once you are talking to your customer, you can use one of these two formulas:
1. “Hi, good morning. It’s Susan from SuperTech.
You recently logged a problem with us, which I believe is now resolved.
This is just a courtesy call to see if you’re happy with everything?”
2. “Good afternoon, it’s Susan here from SuperTech.
I’m calling in connection with the problem you reported <last week / yesterday / on Monday…>
According to our Portal, the issue has been resolved. Are you able to confirm that?”
During The Call
Here are some lines you can use during a call, depending on the context.
If a customer asks what problem you're talking about:
“Of course. The ticket number is AB12345678 and it was raised on the 12th of April. The problem was not being able to reset a password.”
Don't assume a customer will remember the reference number - they usually don't! Always describe the problem in simple words (for example, "not being able to reset the password").
If a customer says they're not happy:
“I’m really sorry that you’re unhappy with our service. Is there anything you think we could have done better?”
If a customer asks for details of a problem ticket, or you need to look something up:
“Sure, I can look that up for you. Please hang on for just a few moments…”
Ending The Call
If the customer is unhappy at the end of the call, try using this formula:
“I’m really sorry you’ve had such a bad experience. What I’m going to do is discuss it with my boss, and then get back to you.
“Leave it with me and I’ll call you back within 48 hours. Is that OK?”
(The customer will usually say "Yes").
“Great, and thanks for your patience. I’ll be back in touch shortly. Goodbye.”
If the customer is happy, try one of these two endings:
1. “OK, well thanks for your time and I’m glad I could help.
Remember you can always contact us if you have any more questions or problems.
2. “Great, I’m pleased we were able to get that fixed for you.
Now, is there anything else I can help you with while I’m here?
(Customer will usually say “No”).
“OK, in that case thanks for your time and don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any more help.
Top Tip - Spelling Using The Phonetic Alphabet
If you have difficulty hearing or pronouncing words or names, you can try spelling them phonetically. This means using words to spell them rather than letters.
The most common system used in English-speaking countries is the NATO Phonetic alphabet.
For example, if you are looking for someone called "Valerie", as in this example, you can try saying her name. Or, you can spell it in English:
"Vee... Ay... Ell... Eee... Arr... Eye... Eee." But learners don't always know how English letters are pronounced.
If we use the phonetic spelling, we ask for:
"Valerie: Victor, Alpha, Lima, Echo, Romeo, India, Echo."
It's much easier to understand and gives people time to write down the letters.