Five Things You Can Do About the Telephone Experience Problem


When I listen to phone calls ahead of training for contact centers, medical practices, and customer service departments, I spot five glaring problems in almost every company I work with. The Big Five Are: 1) Blunt, slang-like approach to asking questions, 2) Overtalking customers in an attempt to move the interaction forward, 3) No acknowledgment of the customer’s pain point, 4) Not listening, and 5) Missed rapport opportunities by not pacing.

Today I’m giving you quick fixes for the significant five issues I always see with my clients. You can use these solutions for a short 15-minute team training or in your coaching meetings.

1. Speak In Complete Sentences

Merely going from “Last name?” to “May I have your last name, please?” instantly makes interactions sound friendlier.

2. Yield to Customers

Be careful not to interrupt or overtalk customers. Give way and let customers finish what they’re saying.

3. Recognize Customer’s Emotions

When customers are upset, take a second to acknowledge their concern. A simple, “I realize this whole thing has been frustrating” works well.

4. Listen With the Intent to Understand, Not With the Intent to Reply

A lot of us listen to customers with the intent to reply, as in interrupting a customer who calls to check a claim status to ask, “Claim number?” A better way to listen is to focus on understanding what the customer is saying. In this scenario, you wouldn’t cut the customer off to ask for a claim number, but instead, you’ll listen to understand the problem the customer’s explaining.

5. Pace Your Customers’ Language By Using the Words They Use

If a customer calls the device she’s returning a “thumb drive,” when your company has the product listed as a “flash drive,” you could pace the customer by saying “thumb drive.” Pacing the customer’s words helps you speak like the customer, and this similarity fosters rapport.

I created my Telephone Skills Online Training to fix these five problems, and more. If your team struggles with delivering friendly interactions over the phone, take a look at my Telephone eLearning and see if it’s a good fit for your organization.