The way that you transmit verbal messages over the phone to your customers has a major impact on the level of service you provide. Your entire message is communicated through your choice of words and tone of voice.
If the customer can’t understand you because of jargon used they will be confused and may switch off. If customers feel you are abrupt with them it will make them feel that you are not interested in them. If customers feel you are preoccupied by what you were doing before they rang (i.e. continuing to type/rustle of papers) they will feel they are an interruption.
Once your customer has such feelings they will believe the service received is well below their expectation and will instantly form an impression of you and your business based on that encounter. Many customers will tell others about their experience possibly through social media and/or will decide not to contact your business again.
I recently received a call from a business about a kitchen appliance that I had ordered and had arrived that morning. The caller advised me she was ringing about the delivery procedure to which I informed her that the appliance had already arrived. She then asked me for feedback about the delivery drivers which I happily gave. Then she began to inform me of the delivery procedure again to which I replied “The appliance has arrived and is already in the kitchen” to which she replied “I’m sorry, I really was listening”. To my amazement she then asked me a second time for feedback about the drivers. When she realised she had previously asked me, she sounded very embarrassed (I too felt embarrassed for her) and she quickly said “Er…um…er…thank you” and put the phone down.
Follow these 7 steps to ensure clear verbal communication:
- Give the caller your full attention – Immediately stop what you’re doing and actively listen
- Smile as you talk – Smiles shine through your voice. Tip: Keep a mirror beside the phone to check you are smiling throughout the call
- Soft volume – Not too loud or not too quiet, finding the right balance is essential to sounding confident. Tip: Speak a little slower than you normally would if you were talking face to face
- Be concise – Don’t use technical words or jargon
- Be clear – Pronounce words correctly – don’t mumble or waffle – get to the point
- Inflection – Raise and lower your voice to emphasise key points putting real feeling into your words
- Tone down any strong accents to avoid the message being lost
“74% of customers would be prepared to pay more for a product if it came with better service…”
The way you form your words says a lot about YOU. Make sure you are portraying the right message. Think for a moment: If I was a customer would I be happy speaking to ME?