If you work in support, one of the first lessons you learn is to adjust to your “customer’s” tone of voice. If they are not happy, act annoyed. If they are confused, then pretend you are confused. If they are angry, then act as if you are angry. Its a customer service mantra that you have probably heard before and it’s true. You need to learn to adapt to your customer base. However, there might be times where the customer shifts their tone or communication with you. What do you do? How do you react? How do you adjust your“voice” to suit theirs?
One major goal of customer service and support is to create a scenario wherein the customer is “onboard” with your company. You want customers to feel like they’re part of something, that they’re not just “another customer”. This can often be achieved by “adjusting” your voice and the way you approach communication.
While the “tone of voice” is an important facet of great customer service, it can sometimesnot adapt when a customer shifts theirs. This can cause somewhat of an awkward situation, especially if your “shift” conflicts with your customer’s. So, what do you do? Simple: Stay silent! That’s right. Silence can help you adjust to your customer’s “tone ofvoice”.
The Power of Silence
There are several points where silence can be a benefit to you when dealing with a customer. Firstly, it can be a powerful weapon in your arsenal during confrontation. Often times, during a customer support interaction, you are the “only” one talking. Yes, you are technically communicating with the customer, but most of the time it’s only on a“one way” level. When confronted with an angry or frustrated customer, your first instinct might be to try to explain yourself or defend yourself, but this almost always has the opposite of the desired result. In fact, talking too much or trying to explain the situation is usually one of the biggest things you can do to turn a frustrating situation into a worse one. Taking a moment to stay silent while thinking about a response will usually help calmyou down and get you where you need to be.
Secondly, trypairing silence with action. Most people want immediate results. When someone starts talking to you they are expecting you to give them a solution as soon as possible. But sometimes it takes a while to find said solution, particularly if you haven’t been trained specifically for this particular situation. Let your customer know that you’re working hard to find an answer for them, but that youaren’t going to rush things. This will often create a much more relaxed vibe. Remember: You’re there to help them, not to get yelled at. If they understand what you’re doing and why, they’ll be much more inclined to co-operate.
The thing to remember is, as mentioned before, it’s all about thecustomer. Your service/support job is making sure they are taken care of and if that means adjusting your tone of voice to suit theirs then so be it. But whatever you do, don’t forget that silence can be a powerful tool. Use it wisely, and you may find yourself with far fewer complaints to field in the future.
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