I’ve had the great pleasure of living on both coasts, and starting at Ruby as a virtual receptionist, I’ve been able to speak with someone in just about every state. Often, East Coast-ers tend to talk a little faster and more directly and can be less comfortable with Pacific folks’ laidback communication style. Thankfully, there are a few simple ways you can go from Gidget to Eliza Doolittle and impress every caller!
Match their pace. Short, declarative sentences are a dead giveaway that your caller is in a rush. Cut down on pauses and acknowlege their urgency. If you don’t have the answer to their question on-hand, be respectful of their time and offer to call them back with the answer rather than keeping them on the line.
Take cues from your caller’s tone. Do they sound more serious than chatty? Take care of business first and look for opportunities to offer assistance. Offering help before they even ask can surprise a serious caller and help them open up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve offered something small to an otherwise solemn-sounding caller and had them do a 180. For example, upon offering to take a message and hearing hesitation, I might ask whether there was a particularly good time for a return call. “After 4:00pm would be perfect! That way I can pick up my daughter from school and drop her off before the call.” Fantastic! You’ve just learned that your caller has a child in gradeschool and can make a connection!
Use expressive phrases like “Absolutely!” and “Certainly!” No matter where your caller is located, these phrases add a bit of charm. They’re quick, professional, and enthusiastic!
Whether you’re on the East Coast or West Coast (or somewhere in between!) matching your caller’s communication style can make waves!