How to sound authentic on the telephone

answering.call_.image_.2014-300x193Contact centres are a fact of life, and will continue to be so. But few of us enjoy talking to or receiving calls from contact centres.

Why? Part of the reason is that contact centre employees often do not sound believable on the phone. At the end of the call we may feel that we have been treated like just another number, a target to be met.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In his booklet ‘The Vocal Athlete’, vocal coach Paul Ogden argues that sounding authentic is an art that can be trained.

Firstly, employees need to be conscious of their role in the workplace, and their motivation. The following three exercises will help employees adopt the right attitude every time they pick up the phone.

  • 1. Find a positive motivation

A common characteristic of successful people, such as top athletes, is that they understand what motivates them.
Ask employees to identify and write down a positive motivation for coming to work. Examples could be enjoying the work, believing it serves a practical purpose, or that it genuinely helps others. Or it may be the financial reward that allows them to enjoy their personal life – going out, participating in sports or having holidays.
Whatever the motivation is, have them write it down on a piece of paper and place it on their desk where they can see it.

  • 2. Develop self-belief

In order to perform at their best, successful people develop total belief in themselves and their abilities.
Ask participants to think about themselves at work, and answer the following questions:

– What is it that you do well?

– What are you good at in the workplace?

– What makes you unique and different from others doing a similar role?

– What are the benefits of working with you?

Have them write down a sentence that describes them positively, such as ‘I am an excellent communicator.’ Again, ask them to put it somewhere visible on their desk.

  • 3. Define personal performance outcomes

Most people working in contact centres have top-down performance targets, such as answer x number of phone calls or achieve x number of leads. But how many have considered their own performance outcomes?

Ask delegates to ask themselves: “How would you like the person you are talking with to respond to you?”
Some ideas might be:

– I would like them to enjoy my conversation with them.

– I would like them to find me helpful.

– I would like them to think I care.

Ask them to write their personal outcomes down, and also identify what they need to do to achieve those outcomes. Have them put the paper somewhere they can see it every time they pick up the phone.

Incorporating these exercises into your contact centre training will help employees develop a consistent, positive attitude in their dealings with others, even in difficult situations.

  • 4. Claim your free copy of ‘The Vocal Athlete’

Paul Ogden’s fantastic booklet, The Vocal Athlete: The Essential Guide for Professional Voice Users includes over 30 pages of advice, tips plus a series of vocal exercises specially designed to help people who are on the phone all day look after their voices.

Normally priced at £10, we are offering free copies to the first 20 people to contact us.

Mandy Stephens

PhoneCoach resonates to strongly with Mandy because she is customer service personified. She gets it. She has always understood that every business has to give its customers the very best service it can in order to survive and grow in an increasingly global landscape; She is passionate about helping each and every customer achieve what they need to move their business forward.

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