Have you noticed what you say often becomes less important than HOW you say it? You may be communicating perfectly legitimate information without being rude or condescending but the listener can misinterpret it as rude.
Every business has a distinct character, defined by the people at helm and tone of voice plays the most important part in communicating your values. It’s not just about what you say but rather the way your official communication says it so it is received in the way you intend it to be by the people who matter the most- your customers.
You can mend relations every so often, but when it comes to online communication- like emails or social media or even telephonic conversations- it can snowball into a tricky situation, especially when it happens with someone important for the business.
For sure, we all understand that tone of voice is important, but what is the right tone that makes for a well-rounded customer experience? It really depends on a lot of things but the most important factors can be abridged in these three facts:
- Formal vs. Casual Tone
- Positive vs. Negative Words
- ConteXt is king
How should your emails sound? Written by a suit wearing executive or a t-shirt wearing dude? The facts tell the analytical side of your brain what the company does, while the tone tells the creative side what they’d be like to deal with. While the right answer depends on your target customers, a recent survey threw a surprise: 65% of online customers - across all demographics, gender and age- prefer a casual tone over a formal one in from customer service departments.
But here’s a little interesting twist: 78% of them prefer a formal tone when they are being denied a request or in response to a complaint. Saying NO in a casual manner is apparently unwelcome.
Not all customers are equal, but these studies can help you in making a beginning in changing your company’s customer service tone to what is globally acceptable.
You might have heard this, even used it in your life: Words have the power to change mind.
Ever thought about applying the same principal in your customer service communications?
Every CS executive must remember that what they say sometimes gets overshadowed by how they say it. Or how they write it. Words like unfortunately, just, simple, but etc. tend to move the entire conversation towards a negative peak and should be avoided. Think about it and you’ll be able to remove these and many such other words from your SOP.
It is simple yet powerful; changing a few words can change can completely change the way customer interaction is perceived.
Content is not, context is the real king. Saying NO to a specific customer is a lot easier when you know the context of the conversation. Easier said than done, practice and mindfulness can make a big difference in recognizing context and replying likewise.
Here’re a few easy cues:
a. Is the customer fluent in English? If not, you take the initiative to his native language.
b. Does he use emoticons, exclamations and slang words? Go ahead, reciprocate!
c. Does he sound angry, frustrated or both? Turn on the empathy charm. Listen and use a tone that is understanding and apologetic so he can be reassured about the problem at hand.
Learning to pick up customer cues and responding accordingly goes a long way in establishing trust and long term relations. Every interaction with a customer is a chance to improve skills and gain experience for a better communication next time.
Most of the times, a customer who calls an inbound call center has already tried the self-help and ask-a-friend options. He may be frustrated with his perceived failure and ready to vent out that anger on the person behind the phone. Hence, the customer service executive’s tone matters the most to get over such situations and turn it into an opportunity.
Finally, presenting a good tone of voice boils down to understanding the customer’s tone of voice, and what do you think is the foremost skill in reaching that level? It’s listening! Listening is the key to unlocking your business’ potential. When it comes to create brilliant customer experiences in call center interactions; the one who listen the most wins.
At Open Mind Services Limited, we ensure we listen more than we say; that is the foundation of a great relation. Our customer support executives are educated the same values and skills to improve customer attrition, and maximize engagement for every client of ours.