Making sure you sound good over the phone is critical to building a good rapport with your clients. Whether you’re converting a lead into a buying customer or troubleshooting a technical issue, there are many techniques you can use to get the person on the other end of the line to really like you. Here are some of them.
(These tips are mostly aimed at people who use the phone on a daily basis to talk to clients, troubleshoot issues, book reservations, etc. but they can be used just as well for personal conversations).
Clear your throat (before entering the call)
It sounds like a no brainer, but it’s important. A couple of “ahems” will make your voice sound more fluid. Also, hearing your own voice before uttering the first word you’re about to say allows you to anticipate how you’ll sound for the rest of the conversation. It’s especially useful if you haven’t talked to anyone in the past hour or so. Just remember to do it before going into the call. Hearing someone clear their throat on the phone can be disgusting.
Use the customer’s name
Easily one of the most important things to do when beginning a conversation is to use the person’s name. If you don’t have it, kindly ask them what their name is, and use it multiple times on the call. This shows that you care.
Smile over the phone
You read that right. Smiling makes our voices sound warmer when the words come out, so you can be sure that positivity will be conveyed over the phone. If you can’t bring yourself to smile without inspiration, keep a photo of a loved one on your desk, or anything that pleases your eye.
Meet them half way
Even if they’re the ones asking questions, be sure not to talk too much. Answer the questions, but be sure to hit them back with a question of your own from time to time. This creates what is called a conversation pendulum. This also helps build trust and keeps the conversation flowing.
Get your ‘phone voice’ on
Take it up a notch! Show the customer some excitement, so they can understand that you’re there for him / her. At the same time, don’t rush it. Speak slowly so you can make yourself understood, but keep your tone relatively high. If they’re seeking help with a technical issue, you can be sure they’ll want you to take them through the motions as slowly as possible. Also, remember that the earpiece in most phones is usually not as loud as we’d like it to be.
Don’t slouch in your chair. If you’re too relaxed, that’s going to come over the phone. Stand up, fiddle with something, scribble on a whiteboard, do anything to keep you alert, but not distracted from the call. Staring at your computer screen can affect your focus.
Be prepared for anything
Do your homework! There’s nothing more annoying than a help desk representative who doesn’t know what he / she is talking about. Learn your product by heart and delve into situations that might not even occur. This enables you to feel confident picking up that call. Oh, and be sure to lend your ear even if the caller tells you something completely unrelated to the conversation you’re having. As long as it doesn’t get too personal, this too is a sign of good will.
Script it (if you have to)
This isn’t necessarily a must. Some people feel more comfortable to just let the words come out. Others – like a new employee at a call center – might feel more confident by using a scripted introduction.
Be respectful even when they’re not
It’s a golden rule. Keep your cool and be professional. Chances are they’ll feel embarrassed and adjust their tone before the end of the call.