They’ll act as the primary line of communication between the organization and its customer base. This means that they have to be experts at breaking down big ideas into bite-sized chunks that anyone can understand. And, on the flip side, they’ll share your consumers’ wants and concerns within the organization.
Miscommunication is a common source of customer dissatisfaction and frustration, making the ability to interact and speak with customers a crucial skill. The most effective customer service agents are always clear and concise in their conversations with clients.
Clarity Can Be Surprisingly Difficult to Achieve
When it comes to communicating effectively, agents – indeed, any professional – need to remember the 7 Cs: clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous. Today, we shine a light on the first one, which is a key skill for call center agents.
Simply explained, when the call center agent’s intended message and the customer’s received message are the same, there’s clear communication.
There are three parts to every conversation: the individual doing the talking (here, the agent), what is being said (the message), and the person(s) listening to what’s being said (the customer(s)).
When one person delivers a message to another (either verbally, in writing, or through non-verbal methods like gestures or facial expressions), what’s achieved is the act of communication.
A real ‘communication’ need not be the message the sender meant to convey or even the words used. Instead, it’s the idea that got through to the targeted recipient. Clarity occurs when the agent and the customer are on the exact same page.
Why Great Agents Focus on Clear Communication
In most call centers, it’s not always easy to put across your thoughts succinctly. There is a chance that people won’t completely get the entire significance of the words and phrases you use. It’s natural to assume that a person shares your cultural background. There can be scores of reasons, from lack of empathy to insufficient information.
When communication is not clear, it leads to repetition, frustration, more work for the service team, and a poor experience for the customer.
How to Develop Clear Communication Skills? 5 Steps for Call Center Agents
To ensure clarity in their interactions, agents can follow five steps:
1. Start by listening to the customer
Paying attention and making sense of what someone else is saying is to listen. It is vital for effective communication. Contrast the auditory function of hearing with the art of listening, which involves more than just taking in what one hears. Even if you disagree, try to listen, since this will tell you exactly what’s expected of the message you communicate to the customer next.
2. Modulate your speech
Clear communication in call centers relies largely on using appropriate words and the right tone of voice. If you want your message to go through, you need to use accurate pronunciation, diction, and accent and speak the recipient’s language. When communicating with someone who uses a different language or dialect, it helps to slow down your speech.
3. Build trust and a genuine connection
Creating a bond with the person you are interacting with is called building rapport. This connection might be vocal or nonverbal, contingent upon the medium. It might be anything as basic as an agent’s tone of voice.
For example, smiling more often in video chat or using the customer’s name during a call can help forge connections. This makes it easier to spot and prevent miscommunication quickly when you’re speaking.
4. Feel empathy
Being able to empathize with another person involves placing yourself in their shoes and seeing things from their point of view. Empathy allows us to express ourselves in a way that others can understand. While demonstrating empathy is also an important skill for agents, truly feeling it is what will help you practice clear communication.
5. Ask for feedback
The act of offering and receiving feedback is mutually beneficial. It aids in closing the communication loop and establishes the groundwork for an effective conclusion. Make sure to show your gratitude for feedback, so that customers are more likely to respond.
Know What Clear Communication in a Call Center Looks Like
When it comes to clear communication in call centers, the slightly intangible term ‘clear’ can be split up into four aspects: specific, easy to understand, appreciative, and relevant. Good communicators generally make for great customer service; fortunately, clear communication is a coachable skill.
Make sure that what you say to customers is:
- Complete with details
- Free of jargon, repetition, or complex articulation
- Interspersed with courtesy and gratitude
- Personalized for the customer’s needs
It doesn’t get any simpler than that!