With fewer conversations taking place face-to-face, it can be difficult to overcome the barriers to communication. In articles, you’ll often see the following research outcome – only 7% of the way our messages are received have to do with the words we choose. The remaining mix depends on tonality (38%) and body language (55%). As we deal with others remotely, such as via phone, how can we ensure effective communication when we can’t be seen?
Communicating via phone actually requires more skill, not less.
Without being able to convey non-verbal cues, messages can easily be misinterpreted. But, it’s increasing important to communicate well in today’s business environment. Customer service can be an area of distinction for your organization and superior service may make you the market leader. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance to improve phone communication.
To improve communication, it’s important to make a good first impression.
Smiling, even though no one can see you, is a good rule of thumb. This will set the tone for the call and customers can hear the smile in your voice. Being polite and customer-focused is also important. By staying focused, adding personal touches, and listening, your willingness to resolve the situation will be conveyed to your caller.
Perspective and active listening can make all the difference.
Remember, while you may have relayed the same information to 20 callers over the course of the day, it’s the first time the customer is hearing the message. It’s important to slow your speech rate to the pace of your customer. Active listening is also key. Don’t assume that you already know the caller’s concern. Ask questions that help clarify and stay engaged in the conversation to ensure that you get to the heart of the matter.
Simplicity, clarity and precision are important.
When you are communicating with customers, avoid industry jargon. Limit your responses to simple terms that will easily be understood. Provide clear and accurate facts in a confident manner. Offer viable solutions to the customer’s concern.
End on a positive note.
Reassure the customer that he or she can call back, if necessary. Adding your personal extension and hours is a very nice touch. Summarize key information again before closing the conversation. Thank the customer for calling and sign-off with a positive closing, such as “Have a nice day,” or “It was nice talking with you.” Don’t forget to document your conversation. That way, if your customer calls again, you’ll be aware of their history with customer service.
These communication tips can help generate customer goodwill and loyalty. Do you have other phone techniques that have helped your small business?