Managing one's voice for a better voice support service

Friday, August 23, 2013

How agents manage their voice during calls can affect the outcome of a voice support service, be it in customer service, sales, or technical support. Although often an overlooked feature, quality and tone of an agent's voice can actually steer a conversation to a more positive note.

Managing one's voice when taking calls

At the start of every call, agents will naturally have no idea of the disposition of the customer on the other end of the line. The caller may be upset, irate, or in a good mood. Whatever the case, agents must use the right tone during calls. As psychology professional Albert Mehrabian has shown in an early study, tonality says more about the meaning of words that the actual words themselves.

If the customer is upset, speaking with a friendly tone helps the customer to calm down. Shifting to a more empathetic tone shows that the agent acknowledges the customer's dilemma and helps relax the latter. Finally, a confident tone can be an indication of the agent's effectiveness when providing voice support services, reassuring the customer that their issues can easily be resolved. These show the agent's willingness and capacity to help.

In contrast, agents should avoid speaking with a tone that reflects boredom, tiredness, indifference, detachment, or lacking in enthusiasm. It could make customers feel that the agent is being unhelpful and won't see this as acceptable. An agent's tone should be appropriate and flexible enough to adapt to the customers' changing moods as conversations progress.

In addition to these, agents should sound energetic when taking calls, and deliver statements in a consistently strong volume--loud enough to be heard without shouting. They should also be able to speak clearly and avoid common mistakes such as mumbling or talking too quickly as these may cause customers to misunderstand the agent. Agents should also clearly enunciate to further prevent miscommunications.

Effectively managing one's voice takes time and training. Agents should practice effective breathing when speaking, pausing at appropriate times within a sentence, and putting emphasis on different words.

Voice: The agent's tool

Think of it this way: when customers dial in or take a call, all they have is the voice of the agent speaking on the other end of the line. This is especially true for call center services where the voice is the only tool of agents. Therefore, its power shouldn't be underestimated. Not given proper attention, messages may be lost without accompanying the voice with proper tones. On the other hand, properly managing one's voice reflects willingness to help the customer and paves the way for easy and clear communication.