Here at HigherRing, we celebrate, and practice, exceptional customer service. Every time I hear a customer say, “I didn’t know that customer service like this existed anymore!” I beam with pride that I work for a company that provides customers and clients with such thoughtful care.
In assuring quality, one of the things I’ve noticed that sets the stage for a positive interaction with a customer is the immediate and ongoing tone of the agent’s voice. The tone and atmosphere of the call is another topic for another day and critically important as well, but I’m specifically talking about the pitch and warmth of an agent’s voice.
When answering a phone call, I coach our agents to shoot for sounding like you’ve been waiting for this customer’s call all day -- every single phone call. If I’m a customer who is having a problem and feeling frustrated, I know that if I get a friendly voice that answers my call right away, I am less likely to become angry with that helpful voice. That positive first impression has been made -- the first step to establishing a connection -- and I’m more likely to believe that this friendly person is going to help me than I would if somebody with a monotone voice answered the call.
To me, and I believe to others, an inflectionless voice indicates a complete lack of enthusiasm in solving my problem or engaging me in the sales process.
Here are my top coaching tips when working with newer agents:
Sit up straight and take a deep breath before you answer the phone. Does your voice tend to sound flat and lifeless, bordering on monotone? This deep breath will help.
Smile when you answer the phone and greet your customer or prospect. This actually comes across in the tone of your voice.
Visualize standing face to face with the customer. This isn’t just some voice in a void, this is a real person with a real problem, and it’s your job to thoughtfully and efficiently help them.
Maintain your positive tone throughout the entire phone call, even if things do get a little tricky. Most of the time, anger and frustration are not personal and our agents quickly learn to empathize with caring and positivity. The ability to “rise above” consistently, is a true skill requiring patience and a helpful heart.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of poor customer service. When I think back to those experiences, it isn’t so much what the agent said to me that I remember, it’s the tone of their voice. Dismissive, condescending and frustrated agents do a huge disservice to the company they represent because customers remember how they were treated when it comes time to make that next purchase or when talking to their friends and colleagues about the company.
At HigherRing, we practice our version of the golden rule: speak to customers as you would want to be spoken to, including the friendly tone of your voice.