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Emotions in a Call Center – What the Tone of Your Voice is Saying

Did you know that most customers can tell how a conversation will go by just the tone of your voice? It doesn’t take them long to know what kind of attitude and service they will receive from you.

Customer Care Rep, Heather
Customer Care Rep, Heather…. always with a smile.

When you work with customers over a call you have a whole new set of rules to follow. Body language goes away and the inflection in your voice takes over and becomes who you are to them. The Standard Tools Customer Care team, who works with the emotions in our call center every day, tries to be as personable and helpful as we can on the phone.

Inflection defined in the Oxford Dictionary states the modulation of intonation or pitch in the voice: “She spoke slowly and without inflection”. The sound your voice makes indicates your stress level, mood and intentions. It is the wave like movements of highs and lows in the pitch of your voice. Do you speak to your customers on the phone? Keep these tips in mind to offer a better phone presence:

  • Monotone: What they hear is this person does not want to help me; they have no interest in my problem and are bored to death. (boring, tedious)
  • Slow speed: What they hear is this person sounds depressed; I bet they want to be left alone and not have to deal with me today! (depression, lack of interest)
  • High-pitched: What they hear is that person sounds like they are in a good mood; they are so interested in my project and want to help! (excitement, interest)
  • Empathy: What they hear is that person understands me; they are willing to do a little extra, they hear my concerns, they hear me. (sympathy, a caring understanding)
  • Abrupt speed: What they hear is a person who is preoccupied/angry; great they are not going to be open to anything I have to say. (angry, rude, no interest)
  • Drawn-out speed: What they hear is a person who is thinking I am not being truthful; I don’t believe a thing I am hearing. (You have got to be kidding me?!)

There are a few ways you can improve upon your inflection and the perception of you on a call:

  • Smile when you talk: When you smile the soft pallet in your mouth raises and makes the sound waves more fluid. The more teeth you show, the better your tone gets. Just like it would if you were in front of a person and they could see your body language a smile makes you more approachable, warm, inviting and receptive to ideas.
  • Changing the stress on words: Be mindful of how stressing certain words can change the feeling of what you are saying. For example: “What would you like us to do about it?” if you say it defensively you will focus your inflection on “Would You”. With curiosity you might focus your inflection on “Like Us”. Finally with apathy or empathy you leave the focus off all of the words and try to sound compassionate.
  • Breathing: Just by taking a minute to breathe and to realize your breathing is becoming more shallow and quicker. By taking a deep breath especially in stressful situations, you can slow your breathing down and become more relaxed. This will bring your pitch down creates a calmer more focused tone in your voice.

Layer Voice Analysis chart 


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