Customer Service Voice: The importance of tone of voice in customer service

the importance of customer service voice

“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” 

—Pearl Strachan Hurd

Words are more powerful than you can imagine.

In customer service, it is the primary tool to convey messages to your customers daily. Words play a significant role in customer service because you have in constant touch with your customers, talking to them and solving their problems.

A wrong word can change a whole conversation from positive to negative. Often, great companies make these mistakes; wrong words make them viral but negatively.

Using the right tone of voice is vital in customer service. How you are using it to deliver the correct information every day is the magic formula for great customer service. If it is put in the right way, it can gain lost customers, build loyal relationships and boost brand recognition. Using the right words, a positive approach, and body language, you can deliver excellent customer service for both B2B and B2C scenarios

In this blog post, you will learn customer service tone of voice and how to use it to achieve great customer service.

What is the tone of voice?

As Merriam webster defined, “tone of voice is the way a person is speaking to someone.”

The tone of voice can describe the way when you speak or the way when you write and communicate in text format. Mainly tone of voice is used to define the spoken word, not the written. But often time, used in writing too as a marketing phrase.

You can determine your writing tone by reading out loud after writing. It will help you understand how your words are delivered and how they will affect the recipient.

What is customer service tone of voice?

Customer service tone of voice is related to your brand’s tone of voice. Every brand and every business has its tone of voice. It is applied everywhere, from your brand’s website copy to brochures. Your brand’s tone of voice comes from your organization’s personality and how you write or say things about your business. Your customer service should carry your brand’s tone of voice. The voice of customer service should be clear as the brand.

Customer service tone of voice means the attitude of your customer service agents; the quality of the service and the feeling in their voice are expressed by the words they are using.

Tone and voice are not the same things. We may have the same voice, but our tone changes all the time. We talk to friends in one tone but with colleagues, the tone change. The change is what matters in customer service.

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How does the tone of voice affect customer service?

“The meaning behind the words, the feeling is more significant than the words themselves, so listen.”

Businesses need to have a customer service tone of voice to deliver empathy. We already covered why empathy is an essential metric for great customer service. Empathy helps you build loyalty among customers.

Customers are loyal to companies that understand them and always show empathy when contacting a brand’s customer service. People spend more with a brand that follows an empathic approach in their voice tone.

Customers are sensitive toward your agent’s attitudes and how they write words or speak in phone calls. A small change in words or punctuations can change the whole tone and throw a customer off the rail.

Customer service agents should first analyze a customer’s emotional state and need, then choose their words wisely. They should deliver their words in the right attitude and tone of voice to match customers’ expectations.

Customer service staff should follow your tone of voice to carry your brand identity to customers. It is the most effective strategy to earn a customer’s loyalty and trust.

What is the 7-38-55 Rule?

7-38-55 Rule is a concept of emotional communication. Psychology professor Albert Mehrabian from the University of California, Los Angeles, first introduced it in his book Silent Messages (1971).

For successful communication, he categorized communication into three parts:

  1. 7 percent through spoken word
  2. 38 percent through tone of voice
  3. 55 percent through body language

Most of the success in communication depends on non-verbal body language. It is impossible to show body language when you deliver customer service to your users without showing face only through a voice. But your body language is expressed through your attitude. And customers can catch your attitude in your tone of voice.

38% of voice tone can play a significant role in customer service. You can’t convince a customer using only 7% of spoken or written words. Positive words help, but they can backfire without the right tone. Incorporate a positive tone of voice and show empathy to connect with your customers.

The tone of voice in customer service

“People don’t always remember what we say, but they never forget how we make them feel.”

For excellent customer service, every business should choose their customer service tone of voice with high priority. But the tone of voice should not be permanent. Your customer service staff should be able to change and evolve the tone of voice where they see fit right and depending on individual customers.

Training your support staff should be mandatory. Your staff should have the essential knowledge about your business, product, or service. They should follow your brand identity and tone of voice as their first approach to solving customer problems. Then evolve depending on the customer’s needs. The training should be effective for both the staff and customers.

Your staff should be understanding and empathic to customers’ needs. Their tone of voice should indicate their positive attitude and convey the message to customers. 

Customer service tone tips

Improving your tone of voice in customer service is not that difficult. It depends on putting the right effort in the right spot. Here are customer service tone tips you can follow to improve your customer service tone of voice.

1. Show a positive vibe from the start

Start the conversation with a positive approach. Use words like “I understand…”, “I can feel…” etc. while listening to your customers. It shows that you are empathic and trying to understand. This will help users feel relaxed. If you are writing, then loosen up and write naturally. Customers will immediately feel connected. Do not be a robot and write like a bot. Be human.

2. Read the situation and pick the right style of approach

Always try to analyze a customer’s emotional state and be ready to read the situation first. If you choose the wrong approach, it will annoy customers. If a customer asking for a refund is approached by customer service staff with a casual tone, they may get irritated. Sometimes formal tone in delicate situations can accelerate situations. Read and react carefully.

3. Say “sorry” often

Saying sorry is the easiest way to win customers. An apology does not mean you are taking the blame. It shows your compassion and you are ready to help the customers no matter how angry or rude they are.

4. Stay calm and focused

Listening to customers’ problems every day is not an easy job. Sometimes rude customers can shut you down. Your agents may feel attacked sometimes. Train them to be calm. Customers can feel any slight change in your tone of voice when you start defending yourself. Doge any type of arguments with customers and keep the focus on solving the problem.

Listen before talking, and show a genuine interest in their problem. Offer alternatives if the solution does not satisfy customers. Take a deep breath before replying or talking.

5. Stay professional

Finding the right tone between casual and formal is hard. But if you can maintain such a level of professionalism, your customers will recognize that. We all expect professionalism when we contact support to solve our problems. Your staff’s right professional approach can make a boring conversation into a memorable one for your customers.

6. Show respect

When you sincerely listen to your customers without speaking, customers treat that as respect. Use the right words to assure them you listen and understand their problem. Show them your empathy by making them feel care with your tone of voice – “I can feel what you are feeling in the situation; I might feel the same…”. These approaches can calm down rude customers and help you solve their problems.

7. Collect feedback

Continuously collect feedback from your customers after a support conversation. Use CSAT, NPS, or any other customer service metrics to analyze your support staff’s tone of voice. Use the data to measure customer service and agents’ future training. You can get a good and clear indication from these surveys of how customers receive your customer service tone of voice.

Conclusion

“One kind word can change someone’s entire day.”

How you deliver your words and your tone of voice can significantly impact your customer service. If your tone of voice can show customers your main priority is to take care of them, they will reward you with their loyalty and trust. Collect customer data and measure to improve your customer service tone of voice. Train your agents to show empathy for your customer’s problems and offer solutions using the right tone.

How are you using “tone of voice” in customer service? How do your customers react to your customer service tone of voice?

Please share with us in the comment!

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