Customer Service Tip: Speakerphone Etiquette

Don’t place callers on speakerphone without their permission.

Speakerphones provide a convenient and practical way to communicate with several people at once or being able to talk hands-free. Unfortunately, the misuse and abuse of speakerphones have given them a bad name. Getting the green light before placing a caller on speakerphone prevents the other party from thinking you are rude, unprofessional, or creating a scenario where something inappropriate or confidential is overhead by someone else.

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Phone Communication Tip

Speak Clearly and Enunciate

Understanding what someone is saying on the phone fosters a productive conversation and helps to prevent a conversation filled with tension.

Whenever you are on the phone, speak clearly, enunciate and use simple words and phrases. Don't employ overly complex vocabulary; the last thing you want to do is confuse the customer on the line or make them feel inferior.  

Failure to speak clearly and enunciate can cause people to often ask you to repeat yourself which can be frustrating for callers. 

A quick Google search can provide many solutions on how to speak clearly and enunciate. Two example articles are "How to Stop Mumbling & Be Heard" and "50 Tips for Better Voice Quality and Habits".

Customer Service Tip

Don’t chew gum while talking on the phone. 

Chewing gum, drinking a beverage, or eating a snack during a call is a no-no. It can prevent you from speaking clearly, prevent you from hearing what the caller is saying, can be irritating to the caller and can even convey an unprofessional image of your business.

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How to Leave an Effective Voicemail

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It is easy to communicate with anyone at any time of the day. Smartphones make everyone available at all hours. Even so, not all old forms of communication have become obsolete. Phone calls and voicemails are still a large part of today’s communication. It is surprising how many people are unable to leave a clear and concise voicemail. Here are tips to leave an effective message:

Plan:
Planning your voicemail before ever picking up the phone is essential. It sounds unprofessional when a voicemail is stumbled through. Plan what you want to say beforehand, and even how you want to say it. If there are any specific details involved be sure to write them down to have on hand.

Rehearse:
Practicing what you are going to say beforehand helps you to sound professional. Pausing for long periods of time while thinking about what to say doesn’t sound good. A short pause, however, in the place of “um” always sounds more professional. Take a short pause to gather your words rather than saying filler sounds. Rehearsing what you are going to say will help eliminate the urge to use filler sounds at all.

Speak slow and clear:
Talking too fast makes you sound nervous. Go slowly, and pay attention to the articulation of your words. Understanding a voicemail the first time it is listened to is more professional, and makes things easier for whomever you were calling.

Leave your info:
Give all of your contact details at the end of the voicemail. This should include your name, the name of your business, and the phone number. Some employers like the address or email address to be included as well. 

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A Tip for Better Communication

Be respectful, even with upset customers.

Customer service is not an easy job. Sometimes your customers will be angry with you, need extra attention to understand things and sometimes things will simply be difficult.
The worst thing you can do in these situations is lose your cool. Be kind, sincere, respectful, understanding, remain calm and professional.

A great piece of advice I have heard that applies to all areas in life is:
"Treat every person that you meet as if they are the most important person with whom you will speak that day."

After your customer vents, they want to know that you understand where they are coming from and how they feel. Show sympathy for their situation and express empathy for their frustration to recognize the fact that they are frustrated. By keeping your composure, you may find that your customer will calm down as well.

Respect and understanding go a long way toward smoothing things over.