The art of the voice

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Capita Customer Management 8th November 2017 2 minute read

The art of the voice

How does a contact centre agent develop a voice that wins over customers, gains their trust, and leads to an engaged and satisfying conversation? In the November edition of Intelligence, we asked Samantha Campbell, who helps train agents for Capita’s Life and Pensions division, what she identifies as the key characteristics.

“Volume needs to be appropriate. The caller needs to hear the information, but we have to apply some moderation so we’re not deafening! Good articulation is also vital, sounding words clearly and with precision. Pitch and tone need to encourage engagement with the caller. If you smile when you’re talking, the caller won’t be able to see that, but they will be able to hear it in the positivity of the agent’s voice. There needs to be a degree of energy in the voice so there is liveliness and enthusiasm in the conversation.

“A bad agent voice sounds monotonous and robotic. Giving the impression that you’re reading from a well-worn and tedious script is one of the worst things you can do! Mumbling or speaking too quietly creates the impression that you have something to hide or you lack confidence in the information being provided. It also suggests a lack of consideration for the callers – you can’t be bothered to modify your pitch, pace and tone to fit their needs.

“Can a voice be trained to be more effective? Agents can definitely be made aware of the power they have in their voice, and its ability to influence a conversation and create the right perceptions. Listening back to real examples of poor use of voice can be enlightening, and it’s surprising how simple modifications can make a real difference to the tone of a call. So by practicing good – and bad – voice techniques, agents can learn to gauge the response they are getting and consider the impact they could have by swapping to a different style of speech.

“I always find it interesting that the same piece of information can be received completely differently depending on who the caller has spoken to. I think voice skills must play their part in this. I’ve taken escalated calls, and more or less repeated the same information another agent has already confirmed, but the manner and tone of my voice has had a completely different effect on the caller. Maybe this is my confidence and assertiveness – given my role and experience – or perhaps it’s because I put stress on different words, or maybe it’s a set of other voice skills that we all unconsciously employ.”

The November edition of Intelligence is dedicated to the power of the voice, and how we’re shaping it to bring our clients satisfied customers. We cover a range of topics including the science behind voice authentication, phone behaviours that increase customer satisfaction, and the secret to a successful multilingual contact centre. Find it on our Intelligence report hub.

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