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How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences

How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences

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The ability to talk to customers properly by using the right Tone Of Voice while giving them the information they need is the foundation of good Customer Service. Especially because the interaction in customer service is impossible face-to-face so it’s all about the Tone Of Voice. Even the greatest companies can lose their leads just by using the wrong tone of voice in customer service. On the other side, the worst complaint, if solved properly, can generate even more leads.

In this article, Innovature BPO will clarify the Tone Of Voice, and what it depends on, and see How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences.

Tone Of Voice plays a significant role in customer service

Tone Of Voice is a crucial aspect that permeates every aspect of a brand, from web copy and social media posts to brochures and videos. It encompasses all channels and touchpoints, allowing organizations to express their unique personality through the way they communicate.

In the realm of communication, Tone Of Voice fills the gaps left unsaid, making it an indispensable element. The well-known 7-38-55 rule emphasizes that verbal words constitute only 7% of communication, while Tone Of Voice accounts for 38%, and body language contributes 55%. This realization becomes even more significant in today’s digital age, where many customer interactions occur through screens or over the phone. It underscores the notion that how something is said carries far more weight than the actual words spoken.

How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences

It encompasses the auditory impression one creates when speaking to another person. It can be likened to the rhythm in a song, adding a musical tone that goes beyond mere words. Different tones convey distinct attitudes, influencing how listeners perceive the speaker. By adjusting the tone while using the same words, one can come across as friendly, supportive, and empathetic, or alternatively, cold, urgent, and authoritative. This subtle distinction can make all the difference in shaping positive customer impressions and fostering effective communication.

Why does Tone Of Voice play a vital role in customer service?

Choosing the appropriate tone for customer service must be done on a case-by-case basis, as tone must evolve to match the needs of the unique consumer with whom you’re speaking.

Having the correct Tone Of Voice offers you a personality that distinguishes you from competitors who may also be attempting to communicate with your consumers.

Establishing a connection between customers and your brand is facilitated by employing the appropriate Tone Of Voice.

Therefore, it is imperative to provide education and training to agents on effective communication techniques. They should be skilled in assessing the mood and personality of the person they are engaging with, enabling them to respond appropriately. While it may not always be possible to determine the preferred tone of voice for customers, considering the following factors can greatly enhance the quality of conversations.

How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences

Building trust is facilitated by adopting a friendly tone

Adopting a friendly tone in customer encounters helps to build trust since it humanizes communication and convinces customers that they are not dealing with a faceless corporate entity.

Reflect on your past positive customer experiences and consider the tone used by the company. Chances are, they were friendly and genuine, conveying a sense of authenticity rather than sounding scripted. Fortunately, businesses that have truly mastered tone are rare, presenting you with a genuine opportunity to distinguish yourself. When immediate resolution of a customer’s problem is not feasible, the tone of voice becomes a powerful tool for defusing their anger and fostering customer loyalty.

Recovering the relationship becomes easier with a compassionate tone

A compassionate tone plays a pivotal role in repairing damaged relationships. Shockingly, one-third of customers abandon a beloved brand after just one negative experience, while a staggering 92% would desert a brand after two or three unfavorable interactions. To prevent these moments from defining your long-term relationships, take proactive measures to offer support and nurture the customer relationship.

Employee motivation can be enhanced by creating a positive mood

Creating a positive mood not only benefits the customer but also motivates employees. Establishing the tone of the conversation from the outset allows customers to engage in a similar emotional and mental space.

Imagine being a frustrated customer ready to voice your complaint and encountering a cheerful support representative on the other end who genuinely inquires about your day and empathizes with your situation. Such interactions not only make for a pleasant customer experience but also contribute to a more positive employee experience. By fostering a supportive and empathetic atmosphere, businesses can enhance employee motivation, leading to more satisfying interactions with customers.

What factors influence your Tone Of Voice when providing customer service?

The Tone Of Voice you use will be determined by the context. Here are three things to keep in mind:

How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences

Who are you speaking with?

Building a connection and rapport with customers can be achieved by subtly mirroring their personal style of speaking. Whether they are direct and concise or expressive and verbose, aligning your tone with theirs can create a powerful bond. However, deciphering a customer’s style during a brief interaction can be challenging. The most effective way to determine the appropriate tone to use is by developing a relationship with your customers. This entails logging and tracking conversations and interactions, ensuring that the information is easily accessible to your entire team.

This is where the right tool becomes invaluable. Many customer relationship management (CRM) or customer service software tools offer this functionality. For instance, RingCentral Engage not only facilitates conversation consolidation across various platforms like WhatsApp and Twitter but also integrates seamlessly with your CRM. Here’s a brief overview of how it works:

One of the major advantages of using CRM is that it unifies all your digital conversations, providing a consolidated view of your customers’ history and interactions with your business. This is important because customers often engage with multiple individuals within your organization throughout their relationship with you. If they interact with different customer support representatives via phone calls or emails, for example, requiring them to repeat their information every time can be frustrating. By leveraging the capabilities of such a tool, you can establish a consistent tone throughout your customers’ experience and create a personalized relationship where you remember important details like their product preferences and even their birthdays. This level of customer relationship is undeniably valuable and desirable.

What are you talking to them about?

Personal styles and preferences can vary depending on the situation at hand. When dealing with a frustrated customer who seeks prompt resolution and may express their frustration, it is important to respond differently than what they might typically expect.

Adjusting the level of casualness or formality in your communication based on the context can be beneficial. For example, research indicates that 78% of customers prefer a more formal tone when their requests are declined, while during a neutral exchange, 65% of customers prefer a more casual tone.

Taking this into consideration, you may choose to avoid slang and informal language (“brb haha”) when resolving problems. Instead, demonstrating compassion for the issue and assuring the customer that you are capable of providing assistance can be more effective in these situations.

The channel through which you’re communicating with them

The Tone Of Voice employed in customer interactions depends on the communication channel being utilized.

When engaging in face-to-face or phone conversations, adjustments can be made to pitch, pacing, and inflection. However, when communicating through email or chat, reliance on punctuations (using exclamation marks in moderation, avoiding excessive use like in this sentence!!!), sentence structure, and occasionally, emojis like 👋🙂 may be necessary.

Developing a sense of how conversations differ across various channels is helpful. Short and informal messages are typically acceptable on social media, while chat messages often convey a casual tone akin to conversing with a friend. On the other hand, emails often maintain a more formal and weighty atmosphere. Understanding these nuances enables effective adaptation of tone to match the expectations and preferences associated with each communication channel.

Examples of how to change the tone of customer service encounters

You’ve noted the who, what, and how, but how does this actually sound in practice? Let’s see some of these strategies in action:

How to match the tone of your customer

Sainsbury, a renowned UK grocery chain, often receives tweets from customers regarding their products and store updates. In most cases, they respond with a positive and helpful tone. However, there are instances where customers send witty tweets, and Sainsbury puts on their game face, initiating a pun-filled exchange.

This particular scenario doesn’t necessarily require specific issue resolution, and it appears that the customer is playfully teasing Sainsbury. Instead of ignoring the customer, Sainsbury embraces the opportunity and engages in the banter, reflecting the same level of wit to create a memorable experience for the customer.

How to change your tone when communicating on social media

Hootsuite, a social media management platform, has a dedicated Twitter account called Hootsuite Helpers to provide personalized assistance to customers facing issues.

In the following conversation, the customer expresses a complaint that suggests she may be experiencing frustration. Despite the issue not being caused by Hootsuite’s product, they respond promptly, within an hour, with a friendly greeting that addresses the customer by name and includes an exclamation mark.

Keeping the response concise and informal, Hootsuite mirrors the length of the customer’s message and adds a thinking emoji to lighten the mood. This approach proves effective because, ultimately, they offer support by providing a straightforward recommendation:

How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences

The customer expresses satisfaction with the resolution, and Hootsuite responds with an uplifting tone. With a contented customer, Hootsuite successfully concludes the interaction.

How to utilize tone to persuade without being overbearing

Email remains a popular channel for reaching customers and presenting call-to-actions, allowing them to review information at their own pace, especially when important decisions need to be made.

Active Network, a provider of event management software, decided to test the effectiveness of their communication tone by sending two separate emails with the same call-to-action: to get in touch with them.

The first email adopted a direct and informative tone, listing the benefits for the customer:

How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences

The second email adopted a more helpful tone, addressing potential hesitations and reassuring customers about Active Network’s commitment to assisting them:

How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences

Remarkably, relying solely on tone, the second email resulted in an astounding 349% increase in lead inquiries! By demonstrating empathy and providing reassurance instead of adopting an authoritative and urgent tone, Active Network successfully won over customers and garnered more engagement. This highlights the significant impact that the right tone can have in influencing customer behavior and generating positive outcomes in email communication.

How to change your tone depends on the channel of communication

jetBLUE is renowned for its exceptional customer service, and one of the reasons behind their success is their ability to meet customers where they are.

In response to a customer’s complaint received via email, jetBLUE crafted a formal and precisely targeted reply. The email empathetically addressed the issue from the customer’s perspective, acknowledging their frustrations, and offered a personalized resolution. Their response exuded compassion, sincerity, and confidence in preventing similar mistakes from occurring in the future.

When a customer takes the time to express their disappointment and share their case, they expect to be taken seriously. jetBLUE understands this and recognizes the importance of addressing such concerns promptly and effectively:

How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences

In another instance where a complaint was received via Twitter, jetBLUE opted for a concise response that conveyed empathy and understanding. They acknowledged the customer’s inconvenience and offered a credit as a gesture of goodwill.

On social media platforms, news travels rapidly, and messages can easily get lost within minutes of being posted. Customers who reach out to businesses through these channels seek immediate solutions and have limited time to spare. Recognizing this, jetBLUE understands the urgency of addressing social media complaints promptly and efficiently:

How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences

By adopting the appropriate Tone Of Voice and providing timely solutions, jetBLUE demonstrates their commitment to meeting customers’ needs and resolving issues effectively across various communication channels. Their customer-centric approach helps them build trust, loyalty, and positive brand perception, reinforcing their reputation for exceptional service.

How to Establish a Consistent Tone Of Voice

Being thoughtful and consistent in customer conversations heavily relies on the Tone Of Voice used. To ensure a consistent and thoughtful experience for every customer, it’s essential to start at the top by considering the brand’s identity.

Begin by asking yourself which brand identity aligns with your business. This understanding will shape the personality you convey to customers. Once you have a clear picture of your business’s personality, you can develop a distinct language and specific phrases that reflect your identity and voice.

For example, instead of a standard “you’re welcome,” you may opt for a more upbeat and down-to-earth expression like “My pleasure!” This deliberate selection of vocabulary and phrases creates a consistent identity for your business. When used consistently, customers will associate your Tone Of Voice with your brand, establishing invaluable brand recognition.

To set the direction of your brand’s Tone Of Voice, a style guide can be immensely helpful. In this guide, consider the following:

  • Determine the specific language to use with customers and when to use it.
  • Define the attitude you want to convey to customers.
  • Identify specific phrases to replace common ones.
  • Determine how you want customers to feel when interacting with your brand.

The style guide serves as a reference to define your brand voice and its application across different contexts. It establishes consistency, which is particularly crucial for new businesses starting out and having their initial interactions. Additionally, the guide becomes a valuable tool for new team members who join, as conversational style can be challenging to grasp intuitively.

While it is essential to refer to the style guide, it is equally important not to become overly prescriptive. Customer conversations should feel natural and personalized, rather than appearing as copy-and-pasted responses.

Creating a style guide from scratch can be a demanding task, but the tips provided below can help streamline the process and make it more manageable. By investing time and effort into developing a comprehensive style guide, you can enhance your brand’s Tone Of Voice and deliver thoughtful and consistent experiences to your customers.

7 Tone Of Voice tips

How Tone of Voice Elevates Customer Service Experiences

 

Get rid of the cliches

Avoid using cliché and canned responses in customer service as they can make customers feel like they are receiving impersonal and scripted interactions. Instead of resorting to generic phrases like “Please hold, your call is important to us,” try adopting a more personalized approach. For instance, you could say, “I’m going to connect you with my colleague Samantha, who specializes in this area. She will be able to help us quickly resolve the issue.”

By sharing information about the wait time or the benefits of the transfer, you involve the customer in the conversation and make them feel valued. It shows that you are actively working to address their needs and concerns. Moving away from clichés and providing specific details helps to create a more engaging and authentic customer experience. Remember, customers appreciate genuine and tailored interactions rather than robotic and predictable responses.

Combine your discussions

Using tools CRM, you can consolidate customer conversations from various channels such as SMS, live chat, email, and social media into a unified conversation. This comprehensive view of each customer allows you to communicate with them in a tone that aligns with their previous interactions. By merging conversations, you ensure consistency in your communication and demonstrate a deep understanding of your customers’ history with your brand. This holistic approach enables you to provide personalized and contextualized support, enhancing the overall customer experience.

Make use of the first person

When communicating with customers, it’s important to adopt a conversational tone rather than sounding authoritative. Don’t hesitate to personalize your language by using the first-person pronoun, “I.”

Instead of stating a strict policy like, “Sorry, our policy is that we do not issue refunds past the 30-day mark,” try a more empathetic approach: “I understand it’s only a day past the due date, but our best option would be to offer an exchange. If that’s helpful to you, I’m more than happy to set it up. Just let me know how I can assist you.”

By using the first-person perspective and expressing understanding, you create a sense of empathy and collaboration with the customer. It shows that you genuinely care about their situation and are willing to find a solution that suits their needs. This personalized approach helps build rapport and fosters a positive customer experience.

Recognize a heated situation to defuse it

In tense situations, it’s crucial to acknowledge the customer’s emotions and make them feel heard. While understanding the technical details may not be as important to them, recognizing their feelings and the unique nature of their situation is key.

Instead of simply stating, “I understand that your Wi-Fi connection has been down since this morning,” try a more empathetic approach: “I can only imagine how difficult it’s been to go without Wi-Fi since this morning. We sincerely apologize for the trouble you must have faced!”

By expressing empathy and acknowledging the customer’s frustration, you validate their experience and show that you genuinely care about resolving the issue. This approach helps to defuse tension and create a more positive interaction. It reassures the customer that you are actively listening and committed to finding a solution that addresses their concerns.

Assure them that you can assist them

After understanding the customer’s issue and acknowledging their concerns, it is crucial to provide reassurance that you can assist them effectively.

Instead of leaving the customer uncertain, try responses like, “I can definitely help you resolve this,” or “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have a solution to fix this.”

By offering reassurance, you instill confidence in the customer that their problem will be addressed and resolved. This helps alleviate any apprehension or doubt they may have and demonstrates your commitment to providing them with the assistance they need. Reassurance is an essential component of effective customer service, as it fosters trust and ensures a positive customer experience.

Make use of positive phrases

When communicating with customers, it’s important to use positive language and reframe negative references to create a more uplifting experience. By employing courteous language, you can turn a potentially negative situation into a more constructive and optimistic interaction.

Instead of bluntly stating, “We can’t do that because we don’t have the ability to do so in the system,” try a more positive approach: “We’re actively working on making it possible to do this in the near future. In the meantime, I suggest considering an alternative approach that might be helpful.”

By focusing on the efforts being made and offering a viable solution, you not only maintain a positive tone but also provide the customer with options and reassurance. This approach shows empathy, understanding, and a commitment to finding solutions, even if the desired outcome cannot be immediately achieved. Positive language helps foster a more pleasant and productive customer experience.

Suggest rather than instruct

When assisting customers, it’s important to adopt a helpful and approachable tone rather than resorting to bossy instructions. Customers seek your expertise because they lack certain information and are in need of guidance. Instead of dictating their actions, it is more effective to make suggestions that empower them.

For instance, rather than saying, “You have to reset your computer to see the changes take effect,” you can take a more suggestive approach: “To see the changes take effect, you may consider resetting your computer. It often helps in resolving such issues.”

By presenting it as a suggestion rather than strict instruction, you encourage the customer to take ownership of the solution and make them feel more involved in the troubleshooting process. This approach fosters a collaborative and supportive atmosphere, enhancing the overall customer experience.

The timeless quote, “People don’t always remember what we say, but they never forget how we make them feel” serves as a powerful reminder of the foundation of customer service. It emphasizes the importance of creating positive emotions. One effective way to enhance agents’ Tone Of Voice is by practicing proper customer service etiquette. Active listening and demonstrating genuine care can instantly elevate conversations. Managers play a vital role in reminding staff to embrace honesty, empathy, and patience when resolving customer issues. These actions not only enhance the customer experience but also foster enduring relationships between brands and consumers.

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