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How to Provide Great Customer Service Over the Phone

You can say all the right things, but if you aren’t saying them in the right way, you aren’t providing great customer service over the phone. Follow these tips to deliver an excellent phone experience for your customers.

Image of a man providing great customer service over the phone

It is said that about 90% of all communication is nonverbal, but when it comes to providing great customer service over the phone, that isn’t the case now, is it? With no gestures, facial expressions, or postures to influence the conversation, we are left with two elements: what is said, and how it is said. In the realm of customer service over the phone, tone, inflection, and communication are key. They are your best tools you can use to maintain call control, and insure your customer hangs up that phone in the happiest way possible.

So let’s take a look at these three elements to dig in and really understand how to build a positive customer conversation even when you’re missing all the physical elements.

The first of our tools we should inspect for great customer service over the phone is “Tone.”  The tone we hold can make or break any call, and while in our everyday lives we may not think about our tone, to provide great customer service over the phone, it will need to be at the forefront of your mind. Smiling while on a customer call can go a long way to establish a  noticeably  positive tone. Be sure to ask yourself if you are being polite and friendly, while remaining professional and helpful. Do you sound interested in their needs, and have you provided detectable empathy for their issue? You want to make sure that you can answer yes to all of these questions, or else you aren’t really providing great customer service over the phone.

The middle child of our tools is “Inflection” and it is a powerful and sometimes elusive tool that can be used in practically any sentence and situation. Are you monotone and robotic, or approachable and speaking like real people do? Changing the inflection on a word makes it stand out, allowing it to set the right tone for the statement or who that statement is concerning. Inflection can make you sound confident, inquisitive, or any number of ways that a caller will pick up on. Try to sound natural while putting some proper inflection on the key words and terms you want to highlight in your conversation.

Last, but not least, we have “Communication.”  While the other two elements are more about how you say things, communication is about what you say.  You are constantly communicating with your customer over the phone, whether it’s a hum to express that you heard what the customer just told you, or it’s providing the information the caller needs effectively. Sometimes you will need to communicate bad news and you want to make sure you can express this to your caller politely while keeping your statements informative. Don’t forget your pleases and thank yous. And always ask if there is anything else you can help with before ending a customer service call.

You can answer every single question, and resolve every issue without worrying about your tone, inflection or how you’re communicating, but is that truly providing a great customer service experience? Employ these elements to create positive, memorable phone conversations with your customers. And remember, what you say is important, but so much is also riding on how you say it.

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About Dylan Snodgrass

Dylan is the Office Manager for Sound Telecom. He is responsible for providing excellent customer service for callers and clients while also taking care of the various needs around the Seattle headquarters. It is not uncommon to also find Dylan helping out with Human Resources, Accounting and Billing as necessary. Before joining the Sound Telecom team, Dylan worked with a large call center providing training for new agents. He also worked for a call center start-up for multiple years with duties ranging from Customer Service Representative to Team Lead Supervisor for a team of over twenty agents. When Dylan isn't helping manage the office, he is spending time enjoying video games, or playing board games with a local group in Seattle. The Emerald City always felt like home for Dylan while he was growing up an hour away in Bremerton, so when he finally moved over a year ago, he couldn't imagine living anywhere else!