Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Enhancing likability over the phone, part of Customer Service Foundations.
Building rapport with customers over the phone can be tricky. They aren't able to see your smile, eye contact, and other elements of non-verbal communication that make customers feel welcome. A different approach is often necessary when you can't see your customers face to face. This video focuses specifically on ways you can enhance your likability when serving customers over the phone. One of the important things to realize is body language is still important even though your customers aren't able to see you. That's because our body language influences the warmth and friendliness of our tone of voice.
Here's an exercise you can try to examine the impact of body language on tone. Get comfortable. Sit up straight, and then lean back slightly in your chair. Now, look directly at the screen, put a big smile on your face, and give your best greeting. It might sound like this. Hi, how are you today? Now try it again, but this time, cross your arms, slouch down to one side, look at the screen out of the corner of your eye, put a frown on your face, and give the same greeting. It might sound like this. My, how are you today? For most people, it's really hard to sign warm and friendly over the phone, if their body language doesn't match.
I always try to remember three tips when speaking with customers over the phone. First, sit up but be comfortable. Try not to slouch. Next, remember to smile. Your customers can here it in your voice. Finally, focus your body in the direction of the phone or computer screen, as though you were having a conversation with the person right in front of you. Here's a great way to practice enhancing your likeability over the phone. Use your voicemail or your smartphone to record yourself giving your best phone greeting. Listen to the recording, and notice what you like and also notice how you'd like to improve.
Keep practising until you feel good about your greeting and then try it out the next time you receive a call. Greetings are especially important since they set the tone for the rest of the conversation. A good greeting can immediately put a customer at ease and help you quickly develop rapport. Now here's one last tip to help you develop rapport and enhance your likability over the phone. Whenever possible eliminate distractions. It's easy to lose concentration and start focusing on other tasks like checking email when we're on the phone since other people can't see us. However, when we get distracted it becomes hard to be fully present.
You are much more likely to develop rapport with someone over the phone when you're giving them your full attention. Try to practice these skills the next time you speak to a customer on the phone. You may even find it helpful to write a reminder or two on a sticky note and attach it to your screen. Some customer service reps even have a small mirror at their desk so they can check their body language and remind themselves to stay positive. Remember using these skills to develop rapport with customers over the phone can lead to happier customers who really like your service.
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- What is outstanding customer service?
- Identifying your customer
- Creating a customer service vision
- Enhancing likability in person, over the phone, and via email
- Actively listening to customers
- Going the extra mile
- Taking ownership of problems
- Diffusing angry customers
- Using data to evaluate and improve your customer service<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.