The Science of a Retention Call: The Friendly Voice

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Agent: Thank you for calling Citi credit services, can I please have your application ID.

Me: 2016…

Agent: I’m sorry I didn’t get all the numbers. Can you repeat that? 

Me: 2016…

Agent: Can you please repeat it again? 

At this point, I have no choice but to hang up the phone and curse out Sprint for terrible cell phone reception in the year 2016. I call back and search for a patient voice, hoping my repeated 2-3 minutes on hold will result in a card approval. In this instance, a soft-spoken gentlemen came on the phone and processed my application successfully.

Does a friendly voice make a difference? Does it result in more approvals? Or does the voice just sound unfriendly when the agent returns with bad news? Scientifically speaking, the data shows that a recon calls that begin smoothly end smoothly too. In the former case, a choppy connection could make the agent impatient tainting the review of my application.

When there is a lack of communication or a lack of confidence on the part of the caller, a rejection is more likely to occur. Take Chase as an example. The agent for the business card services answered the phone and started firing off question after question about my business. She couldn’t understand how my business had zero overhead expense and was all profit. Though I tried to explain to her that selling books via Amazon requires no inventory, she was not convinced. A few moments later my attempt at another INK card was denied.

Of course, there are examples to the contrary. US Bank may have the friendliest agent of all time but chances are a rejection will be coming if you’ve been in this business for a couple of years.

Still, in order to put myself in a position to succeed, I take note of the agent’s voice and remain patient throughout the process hoping that the sweet words, “Congratulations. You’ve been approved,” will be delivered.

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