Fact: a customer?s impression of a customer service representative, the company, and his or her overall customer experience is influenced almost entirely by what is said and, even more so, by how it is said during an interaction. When serving customers in a call center, this fact is especially important as the nuances of communication in face-to-face encounters do not apply. Customer service representatives must have good vocal skills to control the tone, inflection, pitch, rate, and volume of their voice to maintain a professional and friendly customer experience. When it comes to customer service ? the small stuff does matter!
5 Important Vocal Skills to Maximize the Customer Experience
- Tone. Tone is the most important vocal skill to master. Tone is the vocal quality that reveals how you are feeling in general and how you feel towards the person with whom you are conversing. Tone expresses emotion ? and it is integral to keep vocal tone positive ? even in trying circumstances.
- Inflection. Inflection refers to the way words and syllables are emphasized to convey different meanings. Adding extra emphasis stresses importance and can aid in clear communication.
- Pitch. Pitch refers to how high or deep a voice sounds. Low pitched voices are generally more calming than high pitched voices. Being able to control vocal pitch and assert a calm and confident voice can assist in diffusing an angry caller.
- Rate. Rate refers to the speed of speech. A golden rule is to speak at a rate that is comfortable for the caller. The easiest way to do this is to mirror the speech rate of the caller. Being able to speed up or slow down speech to tailor service delivery to each individual customer helps build rapport and a more positive customer experience.
- Volume. Volume refers to how loud or how soft a voice is and is the easiest for most people to control. Speaking at a moderate volume is a good place to start, but listen for clues as to whether a louder or softer voice is needed to assist in customer understanding.
Vocal skill training is an important element of a successful customer service training program. Contrary to the popular saying, it is the small stuff that matters and best practice to focus ? and sometimes sweat ? on the small stuff.