The Importance of Tone of Voice for Call Center Agents

“It’s not only what you say, but how you say it.”

Ever heard that expression?

It’s true.  Tone of voice is a powerful thing.  Sometimes, even if your words are crystal clear, the message you are trying to get across can be dramatically different depending on your tone of voice.  According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian of UCLA, tone of voice can account for up to 38% of how a spoken message is comprehended.

Although tone of voice is a critical element in any type of real-life communication, in a call center environment it becomes even more important.  The voices of call center agents are often the only thing linking them with their customers.  Even if the agent means well, a misunderstanding because of the way something is said can leave a bad taste in a customer’s mouth, and in extreme cases could even lead to a cancellation of service, or worse.  Therefore, call center agents must always be mindful of their tone of voice, and work on making themselves sound interested and active even during times when they might really feel otherwise.

Customers want to feel that their customer service representative really cares about their issue.  Agents should remember that, although they may have dealt with hundreds of similar calls throughout a particular day, for each individual caller the issue is brand new.  A bored or rushed tone of voice will make the caller feel like he/she is just another number.  On the other hand, a friendly and enthusiastic tone of voice conveys a sense of caring, making the caller feel special.

Some tips to improve tone of voice for call center agents include:

  • Picture yourself as the customer.  By putting yourself in their shoes, their issue becomes yours.  Therefore, your tone of voice is more likely to seem interested and engaging.
  • Be aware of your breathing.  The way a person breathes can have a huge effect on how a person sounds on the phone.  Breathing shallowly can cause people to speak too quickly or mumble.  Breathing more deeply results in increased vocal energy, which is necessary to complete a lengthy script or deliver an important message on the phone.
  • Maintain good posture.  Bad posture can negatively affect breathing and tone of voice.  Therefore, it is important for call center agents to maintain good ergonomic form by sitting up straight in their chairs and not slouching.  Your spine will thank you for this!
  • Insert inflections into your speech.  Consciously altering the pitch of your voice by placing emphasis on certain words, rather than speaking in a continuous monotone, makes you seem more interesting, engaging, and alive.  A spoken sentence with many natural inflections is much more pleasant to listen to than an unbroken, unvaried tone of voice.

A lively, engaging tone of voice is one of the key qualities of a successful customer service call center agent.

Tacamor is known for its interesting, energetic and expert customer service agents.  Put Tacamor to work for your company today by getting in touch to request a quote.

The Different Types of Contact Centers

Not all contact centers are the same.  Just as there are different kinds of animals stalking through the jungle and different types of vehicles on the road, there are many different types of contact centers out there.

The most obvious distinction among contact centers is inbound vs. outbound.  Inbound centers are designed to accept calls (or e-mails, web chats, etc.) from customers.  People get in touch with an inbound contact center for things like customer service, technical support, ordering a product/service, or obtaining information.  Outbound contact centers, however, focus on proactively making contact with existing or prospective customers, usually for the purpose of making sales or generating leads.  An outbound contact center would be involved in activities such as telemarketing or administering surveys.

Many contact centers are dual-purpose, with the ability to offer both inbound and outbound services, while others are solely dedicated to performing one type of service.  Some call centers are very specific in what they can offer, while others are more general.  A narrowly focused contact center may specialize only in administering surveys for the health care industry, for example, while a multi-purpose center might offer everything from telemarketing to high-end technical support for digital devices.

Some call centers, such as Tacamor, choose to specialize in a certain area (I.e. inbound customer care services) but are flexible enough to offer additional outbound services to clients if required, such as callbacks, survey administration, appointment confirmations, etc.  Under this type of model, a contact center is able to offer a wide variety of services, thus expanding its potential market for obtaining new clients, while still retaining the core competencies necessary to be a true expert in its domain.

The level of technology is another differentiating factor for many contact centers.  Some contact centers operate using the simplest technological infrastructure possible.  As a result, although this may result in lower operating costs, the services these bare bones centers are able to provide are often lacking.  For example, a call center with a primitive technological setup may have the capability of accepting inbound calls only, and be unable to provide support via e-mail, web chat, social media, or other channels.  Additionally, without a solid Contact Management System in place, it may be impossible for a contact center to deliver complicated reports on key performance indicators such as Average Handle Time, Abandon Rate, Service Level, etc., which are demanded by many clients these days.

Finally, the way that agents are assigned tasks can differ from center to center.  Some contact centers use a dedicated-agent system, whereby workers are assigned to a single client account only.  This type of model is advantageous in the sense that by only working on one account, the agent becomes a true expert for that client.  Other contact centers use a pooled environment, where agents may receive or make calls on behalf of several different clients.  These contact centers tend to be more flexible regarding the volume and type of work they are able to perform.  However, quality may suffer if agents are spread too thin and assigned to too many different accounts.

The type of contact center a company needs really depends on its particular business requirements.  While there are many different contact centers out there to choose from, not all of them will be suitable for every company.  Knowing exactly what you need in a contact center is the first step towards finding the right partner and establishing a profitable and lasting outsourcing relationship.

 

Tacamor is a primarily inbound contact center offering high quality customer service, tier 1 technical support, and other contact center services.  Are we the right contact center for you?  Request a quote today to find out!

Do You Love Your Customer Service Call Center? You Should!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Tacamor!  Let’s celebrate the season of love by asking a simple question:

Do you love your customer service call center?

If the answer is yes, that’s great!  If the answer is no, why not?

A call center is more than just a place that customers contact to get answers to problems.  Done right, a customer service call center can be a true mouthpiece for a company, delivering a promotional message just as powerful as any advertising campaign.  Customers should come away from a customer service call (or e-mail, or web chat) with a more positive image of the company than they did when they initiated the contact.  They should say to themselves, “Wow, that was a lot less painful than I imagined – going with this company was a good decision.”

A well-run call center can also lower your business costs, and saving money is always a good reason to love something!  This is where outsourcing might come into play, because running your own call center can be a very costly endeavor.  You need to find office space, purchase telephones, computers and other technological equipment, hire managers, administrative staff and agents, provide training, and deal with an almost infinite number of day to day operational hassles.  There are also many “hidden” costs that you might not immediately consider, such as dramatically increased power bills each month or employee turnover costs related to finding and training replacement agents who leave the company.  Simply put, it’s a lot of work, and requires a lot of money.

In a single stroke, outsourcing your call center responsibilities to a professional contact center company immediately eliminates most of these worries, and can free up time and resources while improving your overall customer service.  You need to find the right partner, though.  For example, going with an offshore center that offers the lowest possible price but delivers poor customer service will only frustrate your customers, leading to more problems down the road.  If your business goals include providing a high level of customer service quality with an aim towards retaining existing customers and winning new ones, then a nearshore or onshore customer service provider is probably the best bet.

So, let’s ask that question again:

Do you love your customer service call center?

If the answer is still no, then perhaps you need a new call center!

 

Tacamor has been providing high quality customer service and level 1 technical support since 2006.  Get in touch today and discover for yourself why our clients love us so much!

Let’s Talk Technology! (What is Speech Analytics?)

When you call in to a customer service line with a certain issue, have you ever wondered how many other people are also calling in about the exact same thing?  If a large number of people are phoning in about the same type of issue, then there might be a major problem with the company’s product or service that needs to be immediately addressed.

Do you think companies would like to keep tabs on exactly why most people are calling for customer service?  You better believe it!  This information can be very valuable, allowing businesses to improve their offerings and also quickly address any specific problems or issues before they have a chance to cause serious reputational damage to the company’s brand.

One high-tech way that contact centers can monitor customer interactions is through Speech Analytics.  In a nutshell, speech analytics is the process of searching through a large volume of recorded calls and finding certain keywords or phrases that can help to determine the root causes of problems.

Your word processing program probably has a function that searches through an entire document and highlights all instances of a certain word or phrase (I.e. the “find” function).  Speech analytics works in a similar way, except instead of searching through text, it searches through voice recordings.  Also, instead of simply presenting certain words or phrases, it also performs some level of analysis of the data.  This could include categorizing the information to determine basic trends, or performing a complex root cause analysis to help solve major problems.  The level of analysis that can be performed depends on the sophistication of the particular speech analytics software.

So, why are contact centers interested in speech analytics?  Well, this type of thing can easily be used to help improve agent performance.  By discovering which particular issues are taking up most of the agents’ time, the contact center can introduce targeted training sessions to more effectively deal with these specific problems.  Also, on a more individual level, call data can be used to identify which specific agents may need some extra personal training to improve certain skills.  For instance, if the speech analytics system consistently detects abnormally large periods of silence on a particular agent’s calls, then maybe that agent needs training or practice on how to keep conversations flowing naturally.

In addition to improving agent performance, important problems relating to products or services may be identified through the use of speech analytics.  For example, the system may pick up on major issues such as a product defect or a bug in a software program, which may not otherwise have been noticed.  The sooner problems like this are identified and reported, the sooner a company can go about designing and implementing a solution, so having an automated speech analytics system that is constantly on the lookout for potential problems can be a great advantage.

In order to work effectively, a speech analytics system requires state of the art software with excellent voice recognition capabilities.  It also needs to be able to intelligently categorize information according to certain criteria.  The concept has actually been around for a long time – government security agencies have been using speech analytics systems to screen conversations for security threats for decades.  However, it is only recently that speech analytics systems have become more widespread in the commercial world and within contact centers.  As the technology continues to improve, speech analytics systems will become even more sophisticated and will take on an increasingly greater role in contact center operations throughout the world.

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