Christmas is supposed to be a time of great joy, yet often we become harried and stressed as clients and customers demand Christmas deadlines. December 25th is looming and our patience is wearing thin. Under these circumstances it is easy to convey this frame of mind in your tone of voice.
In the middle of the stress and rush don’t forget that without your client or customer you wouldn’t have a business. Remember every call counts, every caller matters.
As Dale Carnegie said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” You have 10 seconds to make a first impression. Your phone manner is pivotal to how your organisation is viewed by the public. If your customer feels welcome and valued and the service you offer is warm, friendly and helpful, word of mouth recommendations will be positive for the company. It will encourage the customer to make repeat visits. Remember the golden rule: treat your caller in a way you would want to be treated.
It’s not what you say, but how you say it.
- Radiate personality over the phone
- Smile when you answer the phone – it will actually impact the tone of your voice
- Use a salutation in welcome, e.g. Good morning. Introduce the company, yourself and ask how you might help the client.
- Ask who you are speaking to. Refer to your caller by name during the conversation. Hearing their name tells them they are important to you (when they tell you their name, write it down on a piece of paper next to you so you don’t forget it).
- Be warm and enthusiastic. Your voice on the end of the line is sometimes the only impression of your company a caller will get. Phone calls deny us the benefit of eye contact and observing body language, things which help us make our interaction more effective.
- Speak clearly, slowly and cheerfully.
- Don’t use poor language. Slang, jargon or indecisive words are not appropriate and can be ambiguous. People will make a judgement of us – 87% through the tone of our voice and 13% through our words.
With any call that comes your way, you must be able to step into one or more of the following roles with poise and confidence instantly:
- You’re a host, making any caller feel comfortable and at home with your company.
- You’re a teacher, patiently answering the same questions repeatedly and always showing concern and courtesy.
- You’re a detective, hunting down information about products, services, prices and everything else people come calling for.
- You’re a healer, dealing with callers’ emotions and frustrations, and prescribing remedies.
Good customer service is about forming a relationship with the client – a relationship they will want to continue to have with your organisation and tell others about.
Sue Avison is the Director of ‘Say It Once’- Business Writing for Success. Sue specialises in writing web content, newsletters, articles and business documentation.