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13-point checklist to improve your call center's customer service

Every business leader should periodically call his/her company to observe how their customers are being treated by their employees -- because, all too often a phone conversation becomes a customer turnoff rather than a relationship builder.

So, here's a checklist that is primarily from sales expert and author Paul R. Timm that you can use to evaluate your organization's customer service via the phone:

1. Was the phone answered after two rings or less?

2. Did the employee use an appropriate greeting?

3. Did the employee identify himself or herself by name?

4. Was the employee's tone of voice pleasant and businesslike?

5. Was the call handled efficiently without being abrupt?

6. Did the employee provide accurate information or refer the caller to an appropriate person?

7. Did the employee reflect the best image for the company?

8. Did the employee thank the caller?

9. Did the employee make prudent use of putting the caller on hold if it was necessary to do so?

10. Did the employee use friendly and tactful words?

11. Did the employee accuse the customer of anything?

12. Did the employee fumble when transferring the call if making a transfer was necessary?

13. Was there distracting background noise on the employee's end during the call?