Have you ever had communication with someone turn sour because you came across as angry or frustrated, even if you weren’t? It happens to all of us, and it can be very frustrating. Often, these conflicts can be easily avoided by being more conscious of your tone of voice. This goes for customer service as well. Since most of your interactions with customers will take place over the phone, it’s important to remain conscious and purposeful in verbal communication. Here are 5 helpful voice tips for dealing with customers over the phone.
1) Pay attention to context.
While customers typically prefer a casual, friendly tone, each person is different. A good customer support provider should be able to assess the situation and adapt to it appropriately. It is best to start with a neutral tone and change it according to your customer’s demeanor.
2) Identify the tone you would like to use with the customer.
The first step in communicating effectively is to be clear in how you want to portray yourself. Do you want to seem smart and casual, empathetic and understanding, or humorous and entertaining? While these are just a few examples, consciously choosing your intended tone of voice can provide a good framework for positive communication.
3) Be aware of the speed at which you’re speaking.
Talking quickly or slowly is an easy trap to fall into, especially if you’re nervous. However, it can be detrimental to your experience with a customer. Whether you’re speaking too fast or too slow, both can make your customer nervous, or perhaps lull them to sleep. Practice speaking at a moderate pace by recording your voice and playing it back to get a good idea of your tempo and adjust it accordingly.
4) Be conscious of your breathing.
Most people can become shallow breathers when they are under pressure. This is problematic because when it happens, your vocal chords can tighten, making your voice’s pitch sound high and strained. You can fix this by trying to take slow, deep breaths. It’ll help you relax, bring down your pitch, and create a calmer tone of voice. You also don’t want to be breathing directly into the phone, as this will distort anything you’re saying to the customer.
5) Smile while you’re speaking.
Even though no one will see your face, smiling while you speak is a good way to get into a positive tone of voice. When you smile, the soft palate at the back of your mouth rises and makes sound waves more fluid. If you sing, you have probably noticed that the wider you open your mouth, the better tone you get – this can also apply when you’re on the phone. Smiling helps your voice sound clearer, friendlier, and more receptive.
Effective customer service requires close analyzation of each situation and the ability to adapt to new circumstances. Every customer has unique needs, and your talent in identifying the correct response is what sets you – and the business you work for – apart from the rest to truly get the job done right and efficiently satisfy the caller. Always ensure that your phone communication is enhanced with a proper tone of voice and speed of conversation.