As a virtual receptionist, I speak with hundreds of people every day. Since my interactions are over the phone, I rely solely on verbal cues to help me leave each caller with a positive experience. So how do I decide when to take it to the next level and create a personal connection?
The caller’s tone and pacing are important factors; I pay attention not only to what they are saying but how they say it. For instance, if a client sounds like they are in a hurry, I connect the call right away. If they sound bubbly, I definitely feel out if they’re open to a few seconds of small talk by asking them how they are doing. Often, it ends there, but occasionally something special happens.
Recently, I spoke with Jeanette who called to update her status for the week. I updated her status first because it is important to first fulfill a client’s expressed need. She sounded like she was in a good mood (verbal cue!), so I asked her how she was doing and if she had any fun plans for the week. She said she was headed to the coast to do some surfing, and we chatted a bit about it. Since we had such a lovely connection on our call, I knew there was an opportunity to WOW her! I decided to take it to the next level and send her a written notecard letting her know I enjoyed our conversation and that I hoped she had fun on her trip.
Even the simplest small talk can lead to meaningful connections.
If you or your caller doesn’t have time for a longer chat, a warm tone of voice and the right wording may be all you need. I offered to connect a caller to voicemail the other day, and he replied, “Offer you voicemail…. I really like the way you said that! It feels like I am in the lobby, and you offered me tea!”
By listening to a caller’s verbal cues and having positive phrases in your back pocket, a lackluster call can lead to something magical. If you are in tune with your callers, there are often opportunities to take it to the next level and share a genuine connection. This can take a mediocre call and transform it into a lasting experience.