Did you know that customers can tell if you are smiling or frowning, even when they are not able to see your face? When you smile, your facial muscles relax, and when you frown, your facial muscles contract. This has an effect on how you speak and modulate your voice, and how it sounds over the telephone line. While voice modulation is an art, one doesn’t need to be trained in it to serve customers well. However one just needs to use the right tone of voice to make it pleasant for the caller.
1. Your tone
Your tone has a major role to play while you are on a call. Your tone easily reveals your emotions and attitude through your voice. Hence even if you are upset with your manager, co-workers or because of any other personal issues, you need to be able to keep a friendly tone of voice while on calls. You can earn extra brownie points from customers if you are able to keep your tone sweet and polite. As human beings, it is not easy to always sound cheerful and maintain a pleasing tone, but that is exactly what this job demands.
2. Your pitch
Pitch can be described as the rate of vibration of your vocal folds. Pitch reflects the overall brightness of the call and like your tone of voice, even your pitch can reflect your emotions while on the call. It’s very important to keep is medium level pitch while talking to your customer. Speaking in a shrill pitch can sound annoying, as if you are screaming at the customer. A very low pitch can make you sound condescending or difficult to understand.
3. Rate of speech
It can be difficult for the listener to understand if you speak too fast, or too slow. It’s important to keep a moderate rate of speech so that your customer understands clearly. If the rate of speech is too high, you leave an impression of not caring about the issue being resolved and wanting to hang up as soon as possible. An ideal rate of speech ranges between 140-160 words per minute. If you speak too slowly, they may think you are not knowledgeable. There are regional differences in terms of rate of speech; hence it’s important to train yourself to speak at an average pace, and clearly.
Callers can identify if you are being sarcastic. That shows in your tone of voice and the words that you use. Always speak with a polite tone of voice. Choose the right choice of words while you speak with your caller. Try to acknowledge their humanity whenever required. You need to use please, thank you, and sorry, wherever required. However, just about anything can be misconstrued as sarcasm, and unless you are wary about not sounding sarcastic all the time, you might end up portraying an image of you not only frowning at the caller, but also ridiculing the caller.
5. Level of attention
Callers need your attention and care as they usually call you up with a concern or problem, or with a question. It’s important that you listen to your caller as they expect you to listen to them, without being interrupted. Only when you are attentive do they feel comfortable with sharing their problems with you. When you are not attentive, it shows in your choice of words, your tone and pitch. Though the customer can’t see you, your level of attention will reflect in the way you speak, and let’s face it: callers and customers are very perceptive.
6. Willingness to help
Callers need help with their problems and that’s exactly why they call you. You need to be empathetic and frame your sentences accordingly. A positive approach, the right frame of mind, and being friendly are very important for someone who provides customer service. Your willingness to help is reflected in the way you speak, the way you handle the call, and how empathic you sound.
7. Unconscious recognition of emotions
There are a number of qualities which cannot be trained to a customer service agent, such as, recognizing the emotions of your caller. You need to understand from the tone of voice what their state of mind is. If you don’t recognise your customers’ emotions, then you will not be able to help the caller with their concerns in an empathic manner.
So what should you do?
Callers cannot observe your facial expressions but they can easily identify your emotions and willingness to help through your voice. Thus, the right tone and pitch of voice, being able to smile and respond kindly, understanding the caller’s emotions, etc are tools to satisfy customers. If you think you are unable to consider so many factors to ensure your callers are satisfied, you might probably want to consider hiring a virtual receptionist service. Abby Connect’s answering service ensures that callers are always responded to cheerfully and professionally, no matter how demanding the situation is.