Educating front line employees on appropriate telephone etiquette is imperative for all call center trainers and managers. Presenting a professional image over the telephone is the first step to building great rapport with new customers, and keep them coming back for your product or services.
Phone Etiquette: Vocal Skills
Voice reflects attitude. Even if the words are correct and intended to be polite, tone could imply the opposite. Voice is made up of five distinct elements: tone, inflection, pitch, rate and volume. Your voice contains specific percentages of each element that makes it uniquely yours. However, there is a best practice range within which your voice sounds confident and most importantly professional.
- Tone is the most important vocal skill in great telephone etiquette. Tone expresses your overall attitude and lets the person you are communicating with know how you feel about them.
- Inflection refers to the way you highlight certain words and phrases. When used well, a representative can use inflection to stress the importance of certain words and keep the caller engaged and on track.
- Pitch refers to how high or low your voice sounds. Generally higher pitched voices sound abrasive, while low deeper voices tend to be more soothing.
- Rate refers to the speed and cadence of your voice. Remind your front line staff to speak slowly and clearly, and/or adjust their rate to match the customers.
- Volume refers to how soft or loud you speak. Volume is the easiest element to control. However, many people are unaware that they speak too softly or too loudly and will need to be coached to use an appropriate level when taking a call.
Telephone Etiquette Guidelines
Telephone etiquette can easily be addressed during customer service training sessions. Use the tips below to remind representatives on how to provide good phone etiquette:
- Use formal greetings. When answering the call use a formal greeting and clearly state your name. It is considered best practice to use sir or ma'am to address customer's if names are unknown.
- Speak clearly. Taking the time to speak clearly and in a positive, professional tone will put the caller at ease.
- Hear & understand. Train your representatives to listen carefully to customers and let them finish their thoughts without interrupting. Ask questions that clarify information and confirm that everyone is on the same page before moving forward.
- No food or beverages. This may seem like common sense, –but stress the importance of refraining from consuming food or beverages while taking a call. The last thing your customers want to hear is slurping and crunching.
Good Phone Etiquette Increases Customer Satisfaction
Telephone etiquette is one of the key components to customer satisfaction. Customer service representatives need to be well versed in product or service knowledge and possess the skills to positively share that information with customers. Representatives who do not have good phone etiquette are a liability and will negatively impact sales and customer retention. However, representatives who have good phone etiquette will decrease escalations, increases sales and improve customer satisfaction.
Telephone etiquette is an integral part of customer service training and a key indicator of not only customer satisfaction, but employee satisfaction.
Posted on August 18, 2011
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