Answering an email, replying to a group, and leaving voicemails are pretty much daily fare in the business of serving people. But have you ever stopped to think about how your emails and voicemails are received on the other end? The YGS Group has the top tips for delivering solid customer service through the Web and on the line.
Patrick O’Leary, client executive at YGS’ Seattle location says respecting the “reply all” function is of utmost importance: “So many people reply all for a ‘thanks’ and it crowds the inbox. ‘Reply All’ is only for info that is pertinent to the group.” Kelly Winkler, vice president of editorial services agrees: “If you can hold off sending an email to someone and instead you can report the update in person, you should reconsider [replying all].”
A University of Portsmouth, U.K., study discovered that people can “hear” a smile, and determine someone’s “happiness level” based on the sound of a voice. Manager of Editorial Services Lori Racey says smiling on the phone, whether in person or when leaving a voicemail, makes a big difference on the other end. Kelly suggests smiling when the conversation gets intense; the potential for the other person to lose their cool is lessened if they can sense your calmness through the receiver.
YGS Receptionist Karen Lippy probably talks on the phone more than anyone else in the company, and she has advice that those of us in a hurry can definitely relate to: “Speak clearly—this is not a race. Talking too fast and not speaking directly into the mouthpiece causes muffling” which can affect the professionalism of your message. Karen also suggests those who communicate over the phone focus on one task at a time and “Learn the art of listening without distractions—some of us are not good at multitasking while on the phone.”
While phone communication can limit the potential for misunderstanding or misconstruing someone’s tone, sometimes email is a good way to track a sequence of events. Karen suggests prioritizing the situation, saying, “If it is really important to you or the other party, perhaps an email trail is better—documentation in disputes is crucial.” Sometimes an email to recap a conversation is a good method so everyone can confirm an agreement in writing.
Our business is helping others bring value to their company, brand, or industry, and it’s important to be specific in our communications, no matter if it’s email or over the phone, so there are no unanswered questions about how we can help. Patrick says, “Take the pressure off by changing the purpose from a sales call to a conversation about how you can solve their problem, increase their efficiency, enable them to grow, etc. Whatever our value is, talk with them about how it applies to their business, don’t just sell them our services.”