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Telephone manner

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Does anybody have any good tips on courses for telephone manner?
Particularly on coping with interruption calls while maintaining good rapport with the service provider. I am dealing with an accommodation agency offering accommodation to foreign students at language schools. Phone calls come from agents, foreign students, language schools and the host families. Frequently families try to insist on speaking with the director who they used to deal with but now she has delegated this to others. Also any thoughts or activities to proovoke reaction on specific formulae for answering the phone FOR AND AGAINST the rather American sounding ' Smith and Co Good Morning How can I help you This is Tracy speaking' kind of approach.
ANy other activities on a 'custommer care approach' but not one directly reffering to customer service departments. These people deal with customers all the time but are not specifically dealing with complaints. of course they get their fair share of difficult people too.

ANy tips, activities gratefully received. By the way, there are only two, possibly three delegates so not a lot of scope for several group work
Lynda Hudson

8 Responses

  1. Telephone Manners
    I deliver telephone skills for the organisation I work for. I also man the phones in our office and often have to deal with people phoning for tutors who are busy. I think the best way to deal with these whilst remaining ‘polite’ is to say, I’m sorry, X is busy/teaching/out the office, if you can leave message/telephone no etc, I will pass this on and ask him/her to call you back. When is the most convenient time? It’s best to try and be fairly assertive so that the caller gets the message that the person cannot be interupted but you are doing your best to deal with their call. Can’t think of another way of replacing standard greeting as it seems to work. Hope this helps. L Moyes.

  2. Theatre based training for vocal colour and authority
    At Arts & Business we have helped several businesses work with theatre based voice trainers to train telephone staff. In call centres and other phone based customer activity, the human voice is both the most costly piece of kit you invest in, and the sole means of relationship building. As well as ensuring care of the voice as an instrument (and thus reducing voice strain related sickness absence) this kind of training develops the voice for more effective communication – by increasing vocal range, colour and confidence. If the voice communicates authority, intelligence and the desire and ability to assist customers, callers are less likely to feel ‘palmed off’ with front line staff, when they are wanting to speak to somebody more senior. I am currently having some training with a theatre voice coach myself and as well as having these practical benefits, it is also a very motivating, energising and life enhancing experience !

  3. training course on Telephone manner
    when I was working for the training dept at Stannah Lifts in Andover in 1999-2000, we organised such training with our call centre operatives – a company called MLP training on 01635 – 552151 delivered the training – Ernie Rayner who works for them as a consultant could be your poc in the first instance he is contactable on the same number -regards
    Mike

  4. Good Telephone Voice
    Many years ago I undertook a Telephone / Customer Training Course. The course taught us how to speak, what to say and how to deal effectively with irate callers. One of the most important things I learnt was that the tone of your voice is very important. The classic ‘Hello Smith & Co., Tracey speak how can I help you?’ with the emphasis on the you as a high pitched question was heavily frowned upon. We were also taught not to say the Company name first, the reason being that if there is a slight delay in connection the called may not hear the company name and will only hear ‘Good Morning’ thus confusing them and then causing them to ask ‘is this Smith & Co?’. Be assertive, but friendly and polite, and speak with an even tone and you shouldn’t go far wrong!

  5. Pace, Pitch & Tone
    I agree with the majority of respondents to this that pace, pitch & tone are vital.

    I’m not sure about the “correct” approach to answering the phone. I always use “Hello ‘Company Name’, Nik speaking how may I help?” but I’ve always figured that whatever sounds right and professional for the individual was more important than a mandated line. So “Yo!” is probably out…

    Otherwise matching and mirroring are useful techniques on the phone, particularly for defusing awkward situations – a cheap NLP manual will cover these techniques in reasonable depth.

    Finally it is always good to get folks to bear in mind that the customer is not always right but should hang up the phone believing that they got the best out of the call.

  6. Try the voluntary sector
    You might find training from a voluntary sector based organisation will suit you better.

    For example, we offer training to helplines and call centres on telephone skills where the focus is on listening skills, blocks to communication over the phone, giving information, ending calls etc.

    The focus is not so much on selling, but quickly establishing a good relationship with the caller and working out what they want. You can also look at things like dealing with angry or distressed callers and look at how to deal with calls that are outside the remit of your organisation.

    You could send your staff on an open course or get on-site training. You can have a look at our website: http://www.helplines.org.uk

    Andrea Butcher

  7. Communication skills
    Hi Lynda
    I have just registered at the site today!
    Take a look at The Customer Service Academy web site:
    http://www.thecustomerserviceacademy .com

    We have communications skills and a certified customer service professional course check out the content it may help formulate some ideas.Any questions please e-mail me; [email protected]

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