“Thanks For Calling” is one simple sentence that so many customer service representatives are instructed to offer as a greeting or as a closing. But simply telling your customer service representatives to say something is not enough. You must also tell them how to say something.
It takes 5-10 seconds for your customer to form an opinion about you. How do they do so? They use their senses: sight, sound, touch, and smell. They immediately gather an opinion based on how the employee is dressed, how strong their perfume is, how weak their handshake is, or how loud their voice is. However, over the phone, the customer’s senses are diminished to simply sound. Within 5 seconds of the customer service representative offering a greeting, that customer can immediately form an opinion about the customer service representative answering the call.
Think about that simple sentence, “Thanks for calling.” How many different ways can it be conveyed? Try saying it aloud three different times, placing an emphasis on one word each time:
Thanks for calling
Thanks for calling
Thanks for calling
You notice that where and how you place emphasis on certain words in a sentence can greatly affect the conveyed meaning. In the first example, too much emphasis on “thanks” may signify that you are too busy to handle the call. Placing too much emphasis on “calling” may signify that you would rather have a customer e-mail.
Aside from emphasis, it is also important to consider emotions. Take that same sentence and say it with a specific emotion in mind. You can use:
When speaking the sentence aloud with a specific emotion, you can immediately grasp how your customers perceive you. If you answer, “Thanks for calling” in a bored, inconsiderate manner, chances are the customer will immediately become frustrated with your company. On the contrary, if you answer, “Thanks for calling” in a happy, enthusiastic manner, the customer will infer that you are eager to assist them with their inquiry.
Because customer service representatives must depend on their voice to convey their emotions or attention, it is important to practice such exercises to become conscious and aware of your tone of voice. Customer service representatives could also try placing a mirror on their desk. It will remind them to answer the call with a smile, as customers can “hear” the smile.
As a customer service representative, you can also test your tone of voice out on friends. You can use a common sentence such as “How can I help you today?” After speaking it aloud, a friend or coworker can offer an honest opinion of how it truly sounded. If you do not want to practice with a coworker, call your voicemail and leave a message. Act as though you would when you are dealing with a customer. Listen to the message several hours later and note how you sound. You can initiate change where needed.
Most customer service representatives apply to job ads that request “enthusiastic” persons. If you become angry and scream at a customer, chances are you’ll get fired. However, what happens if you are bored and detached? Although it likely won’t have the same consequences as far as punishment, the customer might still become angry and take their business elsewhere. Your tone of voice plays a critical role in customer satisfaction.
Yes, it may be the 30th caller of the day with the same story you just heard 2 hours ago. However, this is a valued customer who deserves your undivided attention. Treat each customer as though they are your first and foremost. And, remember to control your tone of voice, as it is the only way the customer can form an opinion of you and the company you represent.