The Pen Concept
January 10, 2023

The Pen Concept: How to strengthen the relationship with a customer virtually. 

MiM does not use labels; we do not want to refer to people by their job titles as they are more than a ‘customer assistant’ or ‘call handler.’ These titles are just a description of the role, and leaders may see numerous advantages when they view their team members beyond their roles. However, there will be more information on labels next month – stay tuned for this blog!  

People who have customer conversations via the web or telephone have a difficult job compared to people who have face-to-face customer conversations. It is difficult to understand a customer when you cannot see their body language – there can often be miscommunication or lost information. Interacting with customers via phone/internet means that you are connected with the customer at all stages of the business relationship; therefore, you may be the only representative of an organisation with whom the customer will communicate, which is a lot of pressure as your actions can make or break an organisation’s relationship with a customer.  

Arguably, it is easier to deal with an enquiry face-to-face. The answer is instant – According to RingCentral (cloud-based communications), most people will spend around 40 days of their life waiting on hold with a call centre. Talkdesk (browser-based call centre) found that the average call centre hold is roughly 13 minutes, which does not include the time it takes to solve the enquiry – that does add to a customer’s frustration. Telephone/internet enquires is a lot of work – dealing with angry customers and difficult enquires can be draining.  

However, most of the time, you can switch it around by using a simple concept: The Pen Concept. When customers are frustrated, they hand you their pen (metaphorically) to take. When you acknowledge their pen and take it, you create a space in their head for them to understand your ideas. However, you’re not easing their frustrations if you do not take the pen. Watch the video below to see an example:  

Where customers have spent a lot of time on hold, their first complaint will almost always be regarding their waiting time. To ease the customer, take the pen from them by acknowledging them and empathising. Customers love relatability – it’s human to connect. Once you have taken the pen from them, you can control the call and influence their thoughts as you’ve taken away their blockade.  

Although it is easier said than done, having a positive approach to each call can influence the process and an advisor’s experience. However, dealing with difficult calls and customers’ needs to be taught. As you can imagine, you may struggle to perform exceptionally if there is no support to deal with the stress and pressure. It is down to the leaders to help the advisors adapt to each call. Providing customer advisors with the knowledge and skills to run through different calls is pivotal. 

Masters in Minds offer bespoke training for any type of customer service employee. Using the pen method, along with many other methodologies, skills and tools. Our facilitators teach people how to rapport the customers experience and ensure they leave the conversation is a better space than they started, whatever the issue.  Get in touch to benefit from our experienced facilitators teaching your employees the art of customer service. 

If you enjoyed this, read the following:

The Evolution of Customer Experience

Versatility vs Experience