telephone communication soft skills

Anyone can answer a phone. It’s how you answer it that determines whether the caller will continue to engage or call elsewhere. Because of this, the person answering your business phone is often the first interaction that customers will have with your company. It's important to make it count!

Good telephone etiquette is critical for the success of your business. In fact, 90% of consumers will not do business with a company after experiencing poor customer service on a phone call. Additionally, it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for a single, unresolved negative telephone experience.

With this in mind, effective telephone skills are critical in improving customer service, whether you manage a doctor’s office, funeral home, or HVAC company. This is especially true during after-hours when your regular staff isn’t available to answer the phone, and your calls are handled by a live operator answering service.

Improve your business’s customer service by reviewing our six telephone communication skills outlined below.

Positive Tone of Voice

Tone of voice is one of the most important topics to focus on in a call center or answering service. Because callers are unable to pick up on body language over a phone call, tone of voice becomes their main method of determining the call operator’s attitude. 

A friendly voice can instill comfort in your caller, and starting a conversation with a pleasant greeting sets the tone for the whole phone call. Contrarily, answering a call in a rushed or annoyed manner puts a negative spin on the conversation.

Imagine your caller is a patient handling a medical emergency or a homeowner dealing with a crisis. The last thing you want is for your caller to feel even more nervous or anxious than they already are. To prevent this, talk to your customers in a way that includes positive language and shows compassion. 

Take a look at our blog “How Tone of Voice Affects the Outcome of Telephone Calls” for more customer service tone tips and telephone call handling techniques.

Clear Enunciation

Enunciation allows the caller to fully understand what’s being said. Have you ever spoken to a call operator who talks too quickly or quietly? If so, you can understand how frustrating a lack of enunciation is for your callers. 

When speaking to callers, you want to be aware of your rate of speech. A normal rate of speech is 125 words per minute. Speaking to callers at this rate shows interest, and satisfies callers. Speaking slower than 125 words per minute conveys boredom while speaking faster can convey impatience. 

When a caller is unable to understand their call operator, less time is spent on the original purpose of the call. Clear enunciation can be the difference between a productive conversation and one overrun by confusion.

Sincerity

Callers develop trust for agents who start the conversation with a sincere wish to address their problem. A good phone service agent should be genuine, compassionate, and caring.

Individuals will call your business for varying reasons. While some may call for simple directions, others could call during a troubling time in their life. Regardless, both callers want to know that the person on the other end of the line can meet their needs.

The caller’s issue likely will not be solved on one phone call. However, an experienced phone agent will pass on detailed information to the appropriate parties, bringing the caller one step closer to a resolution. 

 

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Engagement

Although not every call involves a crisis or emergency, our professional phone agents are trained to remain engaged on every call. This allows them to properly handle crisis calls when they do come across one, even when the calls start routinely.

Engaging with customers over the phone allows for them to feel heard and understood. A caller who feels heard will believe that their issue is going to be solved, and will be satisfied with your company.

Improve your caller engagement by:

  • Preparing
  • Identifying
  • Focusing
  • Repeating
  • Helping
  • Thanking

 Learn more about how to engage callers with this infographic and short blog post!

Active Listening

Active listening is an essential aspect of good communication skills. When your operator(s) demonstrate good listening skills, your customers will feel as though their concerns are valid.  

As our CEO Jamey Hopper explains in his blog, “Improving Customer Service Listening Skills”, active listening includes four key parts:

  • Pay Attention
  • Encourage
  • Question
  • Reflect

Using these four fundamental parts of listening will make for positive calls and lead to an increase in customer satisfaction.

Happy, satisfied customers become repeat customers and can even lead to referrals for your business through word of mouth or social media.  In short, happy customers further your bottom line!

Going Beyond Message Taking

Improving customer satisfaction is not only about taking a caller’s message and accurately relaying it to the business, it’s about providing compassionate and professional customer support.

When fielding inbound calls, call operators must act as the voice of the company and recognize the responsibility that comes with that.  For that brief moment on the call, call operators fully represent the brand and are responsible for providing a positive impression on their callers. Those impressions are lasting, and when handled correctly, will serve you and your business well later.

Key Points

  • Incorporating these effective communication skills into your call center or workplace is a great way to improve the customer service for your business!
  • By using a positive tone, clear enunciation, sincerity, engagement, and active listening, you will create satisfied and happy customers who will remain loyal to your company and likely bring in referrals!

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Dexcomm can help you achieve higher levels of customer service that you may have been missing out on. We can take over when you need a break, are available 24/7/365, and can deliver stellar service for your company.

Want to learn more? We are ready to take your call at 337.236.8300


Dexcomm is a Louisiana-based corporation that provides answering services to businesses and service agencies across the United States. We have been open since 1954, employ a staff of roughly 50 people, and our average client retention rate is 10+ years.

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