When you engage with your prospective or current clients, you want to receive sincere information from them in order to best understand their specific needs and service them. Naturally, your clients in these scenarios are looking for that same level of clear, open, and most importantly human communication from the company or professional they decide on. Now, this doesn’t mean you should drop your professionalism - being professional and being insincere are two different things, of course. What this does mean is that you should assess yourself in certain interactions - especially when cold calling or establishing initial contact with a prospective client. You may not realize it, but there are some scenarios or conversations that make you uncomfortable which may ultimately be reflected in your tone of voice or other subconscious communication, including in your written texts or emails. So, let’s dive in and examine these situations and the subconscious communication that can result from them!
A customer service voice is the tone of voice that people sometimes use which seems to have a slightly higher pitch than in normal conversation, and it may also be characterized by a softer or breathier tone. There isn’t a hard and fast rule for what constitutes a “customer service voice”, other than the fact that many people can revert to speaking in this way when they are speaking on the phone, speaking with someone they are unfamiliar with, or have developed it through interactions with customers in service oriented positions. Ultimately, the best way to diagnose whether or not you have a customer service voice is to review interactions that you have with potential customers, ideally having a colleague, mentor, or friend shadow your interaction. The purpose of reviewing with someone you trust is to see if they can detect a distinct difference in your tone of voice during the client-oriented interaction versus your usual tone of voice.
If, in reviewing with your trusted party, you find that you do sound different when outreaching, don’t worry - it’s not the end of the world. There are steps you can take in order to sound more authentic. For instance, if you are accustomed to using a script when calling, you have a higher likelihood of losing intonation and engagement. In those circumstances, you may want to overhaul your approach regularly, changing your script or alternating between different versions of a similar script. You may also want to examine the amount of information you attempt to share when establishing contact - if you’re trying to lay out your core value proposition and key differentiating factors for your business or product in the first 15 seconds of a call, you’re more likely to use technical jargon and speak quicker or in a higher tone of voice. In that instance, you need to remember that you should assume a consultative tone when presenting your product, taking the time to first assess the needs your consumer has instead of coming across as a TV spokesperson with a one-size fits all solution. Ultimately, empathy and self-reflection are the tools that you can utilize to break through any artificial aspects of your client interactions.
Now, it is a reality of most business operations that you will have to interact with your clientele through other means of communication, not just verbal or in-person communication. So, how can you keep your written content from sounding dry and cookie-cutter? A good first step is to write how you speak! Alternate between long and short sentences, and read your writing aloud so you are better able to catch awkward phrasing, strange word choice, or sections that could do with a complete overhaul. At the same time, figure out where your strengths lie in communication, and emphasize those aspects while communicating to your clientele base the reasoning behind it. Instead of struggling through draft after draft of email because writing isn’t your strong suit, use your written communication as a stepping stone to facilitate an in-person meeting or phone call so you can present your value in your most confident manner. Emphasizing your preferred method of communication can optimize your client interactions, but remember that not every client will be open to communicating in your preferred form. If you recognize that a certain aspect of your communication process needs work, you owe it to yourself and your business to develop yourself on those aspects so you can better connect with clients on their preferred terms.
Overall, the basis of authentic communication comes from being open and honest with your prospective clients, as well as recognizing your own state of mind and expectation of the interaction. Above all, remember that clients like to work with real people, which should be your primary motivation when being genuine. Again, this doesn’t mean dropping your professionalism, but you should be comfortable and confident when interacting, or you may need to take that step back and self-reflect and self-develop so you don’t come across as artificial or ingenuine.
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