People speak differently in different places, and when they are using different means of communication. How you speak with a client on the telephone may be very different from how you talk to your family over a meal.
Telephone voice and manners reflect the attitude of the organisation and at the same time the personality of the person speaking.
To handle calls in a professional manner:
- speak in a clear, pleasant, friendly voice
- don’t speak too quickly
- give the caller opportunities to respond
- use polite standard phrases for an efficient, business-like tone
- smile – it will be reflected in your tone of voice.
How well do you communicate over the telephone? Consider the examples of good and poor telephone manners.
Audio case example
Gunter Schmidt from Munich in Germany is calling Heritage Lodge to make a booking. His English is reasonable; however, over the phone the receptionist finds it hard to understand him. She is not very tolerant and as she loses patience with him his English begins to falter.
Ring... ring... (phone rings)
Gunter: "Yea, uh, hello, uh, we need a uh umm, we need a room for tonight..."
Receptionist: "Say that again, what's ya, what's your name?"
Gunter: "My name is Gunter, Gunter Schmidt, Gunter Schmidt, aus, aus, from a, from a, Munchen err Munich..."
Receptionist: "Look, you better just come in, I'll see ya when ya get ere."
Clearly Gunter’s call could have been handled much better. It is important to listen actively when responding to telephone calls from people with accents. Be patient, reassure the caller and paraphrase for clarity.