What will improve customer service?

I run a telemarketing company and I want to find a way of improving how members of staff deal with customers. I’d like to make this as fun and enjoyable as possible. Are there any simple exercises I can get them to do in a non-office environment such as a pub or restaurant that will help benefit their behaviour in this area?

A. Shirley Darby of Direct Approach writes:

In order to sell effectively you need people to like you and the easiest way to achieve this is to build rapport with your customers.

One skill many people can easily learn is to mirror the person they are dealing with. This makes the customer feel more comfortable with you and is the first step towards establishing good rapport. It means quickly assimilating a person’s breathing, tone of voice, timbre, speed and volume and subtly changing your own mode of speech to match theirs.

An effective mirroring technique is to match their words. Look out for recurrent casual phrases, such as “okay” or “uhhuh”, and drop these into the conversation. A more formal style can also be matched through the words you use.

Get your employees to try mirroring one another in pairs. Given that they deal with customers on the telephone, they should stand or sit back-to-back so they are unable to make eye contact. You’ll find that they have lots of fun doing this and it will also encourage them to focus purely on the voice patterns and intonation – which is an essential skill for effective telecommunication.

You can also get your staff to try altering their tone of voice to match their partners. This has the effect of making the customer feel instantly comfortable with you while making them feel that you are on the same wavelength. People have a huge amount of flexibility within their vocal ranges and with just a little practise, your employees will be able to match and mirror anyone’s voice they choose to.

You’ll find that your employees have a lot of fun learning these simple techniques, which can be practised anywhere. They make a great first step towards their understanding of how rapport-building can benefit them in the workplace, while teaching them to speak in a way that guarantees their message will appeal to customers. Carrying out the exercises should also encourage team-bonding.

More in-depth training will naturally provide stronger and longer-lasting confidence and sales success.


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