Quick note on telephone skills

Telephone skills - so what..?

Sarah has worked many years in customer service and complaint handling, but much of those years was spent on the telephone speaking to people. Some of that time included talking to people that were far from happy. So, she knows exactly what it’s like to have people screaming, swearing or crying down the phone.

It can be tempting to want to avoid this type of interaction with someone by sending them a quick email. But, picking up the phone is the quickest and easiest way to connect with someone to start to unpick things and work towards a quicker resolution.   

Why the telephone is still the best

You could be thinking that this is just nostalgia and that in today’s world where technology is moving at a pace we’ve never seen before, it’s redundant. But, how many text messages have you seen convey empathy and does an emoji really do it justice? How many emails have you read and come away believing one thing, only to be corrected by the sender?

That’s why for us, being focused on the people in the process means the phone takes some beating. The number of misunderstandings that can be resolved or avoided, or the fact that you’ve been able to turn a situation round from one of entrenchment to meeting in the middle can’t be underestimated.

Building rapport

How does that all start? It’s all about making that connection and building a genuine rapport with people, even if that person is someone that’s presently unhappy with your business. Building that connection with someone can be hard to do when something has gone wrong, but it’s far from impossible.

Sarah knows from experience that even when people had been waiting over 12 months for an outcome on their complaint, she was still able to successfully mediate resolutions, just by picking up the phone. Using the phone means you’re able to build more rapport because you’ve taken the time to speak to that person, rather than whizz of an impersonal email.

Tone and body language on the phone. Really?

Did you know that what you say makes up only 7% of what you’re saying? 55% is body language and the remaining 38% is tone. And all three of these are critical when on the phone, because the tone and body language are very closely related.

Don’t believe us? If you speak over the phone with a smile on your face that comes across in your voice and your engagement. Try speaking over the phone with a frown when you’re trying to be upbeat…the other person will be able to spot it, even if they can’t tell you why.

It also works with dealing with angry customers. If you’re feeling that the customer is trying to shout you into submission, stand up and even pace it out. It puts you back on an even footing with things and you can put all the emotional energy into walking rather than escalating a challenging call. 

Wanting more?

Then it's time to book on to our telephone skills course.

During the one day workshop we cover everything you need to know about honing and toning those telephone skills including:

  • What it takes to build rapport early in calls
  • Steering conversations without talking over the customer
  • Dealing with emotions 
  • Managing a customer’s expectations 
  • Managing call endings 
  • What makes a good call, great? 
  • Good customer service – what needs to happen after the call