Imagine this: You’re talking to potential candidates for an open job, and one exchange sticks out. During the call, this particular candidate seems apathetic to the conversation. No enthusiasm. No politeness. Really, it seems like they don’t care at all—about an interview that could potentially land them a job! The conversation leaves a bad taste in your mouth, and you wonder if the applicant really wants the job at all.
That situation is bad enough if you’re on the phone recruiting for a job. But what happens when the tables are turned, and it’s your employees who are disengaged, apathetic, or downright unpleasant?
Tone of voice can make or break an impression. It’s that simple. And when your customers are on the line with an employee who doesn’t seem interested in the conversation, it molds the customer experience, which can stifle sales or potentially damage your company’s reputation.
So, what can you do to keep the tone of voice issue from affecting your bottom line? Here are four tips:
1. Think positive.
This Skills You Need article gives specific tips that can help your team develop an “enthusiastic, natural, and attentive tone.” Here are some of their tips:
- Control your rate of speech, your pitch, and your overall timbre.
- Speak at a pace of 130 to 150 words per minute. This is how fast the average individual speaks at, so match this rate while on the phone.
- Find a middle-ground “voice” between a high pitch, which may connote inexperience, and a low pitch, which may be harsh.
2. Pay attention to your body language, even on the phone.
If you’re focusing only on voice tone, you’re missing a big piece of the engagement puzzle. In Improve Sales Conversion Rates Through Voice Quality, sales trainer Chuck Bauer states:
55% of the impact of our message is attributed to body language, namely positive facial expressions, 38% of the impact of our message is attributed to our voice inflection, and the words we speak are left in last place, with only 7% being attributed to the impact of our message!
So, smile! Sit up straight, and engage your whole body while talking on the phone. Your team’s posture and physical movements will translate into attentiveness on the call.
3. Train your employees.
You can send helpful emails and tips to your staff a dozen times a day, but if they aren’t putting them into practice, your employees’ demeanor may not improve. By actually training your employees—putting them in situations to have real-life conversations on phone calls, recording those conversations, and evaluating their performances on those calls—you can get a good idea of what they are doing well, and what they may need to improve. Training acts as a barrier to your company’s brand; by training and evaluating what is working, you’ll protect your company (and your customers) from bad experiences.
4. Listen to real calls with customers.
After you’ve trained your employees, you should continue to monitor their performance on the phone with customers. Tracking your calls is the best way to do this. You can randomly listen-in on any (or all!) conversations without your employees knowing. This will keep them on their toes, and it will give you the security of knowing about any problems that arise with tone of voice and beyond. Callcap can even alert you to any issues as soon as they occur on the phone, so you can call back customers who may have had an unsatisfactory experience (and get a second chance to win their business). You can even use your recorded calls to retrain, if necessary.
By taking steps to ensure your customers are assisted by employees who speak with positive and pleasant tones of voice, you’ll be taking the first step in defending your company against negative customer experiences.