According to David Filwood, Principal Consultant with Telesoft Systems/People and Process Improvement for Contact Centers, “There may be jobs where excellent speech qualities and habits aren’t crucial. Working as a Customer Service Representative (CSR) is not one of them.”
‘Great speech habits for great customer service’ was the name of the article on Customer Service published by this examiner on October 31, 2014. In that article there was a plea that you practice, practice, practice in order to become perfect in this important aspect of customer service excellence. Now, here is a return to this subject so that we may gauge the results of any practice that you may have done as a true customer service professional. Here also, is an opportunity to answer a few questions, as you do your own private Speech Habits Assessment.
Please read each question and choose the answer, ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Thank you.
1. Do you make a habit of using your lips, teeth, and tongue actively so that you speak clearly and distinctly? Yes No
It is so true that too many of us forget the use of these organs for habits other than eating. But used well and actively in our speaking they make a great difference to the way we present ourselves as communicators. David Warner’s Vocal Warm up Tongue Twisters are a good and entertaining place to start. Try them.
2. Do you try to use correct grammar at all times? Yes No
This skill requires a serious grounding in the mechanics (grammar) of the English language, which is not difficult to do. It only requires study and practice. Joseph Devlin and Theodore Waters in Essentials of Grammar say it well when they opine that to speak the language by imitating the best speakers without first knowing the rules of the language is tantamount to being a parrot.
3. Do you show enthusiasm when you speak with customers? Yes No
There is nothing more wearying than a lack-luster way of speaking. It can be tiring to both you and the customer. Whereas, with the right amount of enthusiasm, you succeed in conveying a level of interest in what you are saying and in the work you do–helping the customer.
4. Do you refrain from dropping your voice at the end of a sentence? Yes No
You may avoid this habit by taking a good breath before you speak, or perhaps by taking a breath when it’s needed mid-sentence. If the end words of your sentences continue getting lost, very soon you will lose the interest of your listener. On the other hand, there is also that tendency, particularly among the young, to end some sentences as though they were questions. Surely you have heard this; but it’s wise to avoid it.
5. Do you choose your words carefully as you communicate your message? Yes No
It is important that we rid ourselves of the ‘bruisers’ and instead, employ the ‘soothers’. Here, Juanita Ecker takes a look at some poor responses (bruisers) and follows them with some powerful alternatives (soothers); alternatives that would easily make you and your company shine. So choose your words carefully. Use the alternatives.
It would be worthwhile to take some time with these five areas of speech habits for customer service excellence. There are five more to follow.