Tips for Motivating Your Team

Success in today’s pressure-cooker workplace depends on high functioning teams. The question that befuddles many managers and supervisors today is how to motivate their inside sales or customer service teams to exceed customer expectations. Three key elements seem to...

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How to Succeed in a Service Organization

Every organization aims to have exceptional customer service. The reality is that most companies only give lip service to exceeding customer expectations and continue to do as they have always done. Even with advanced technologies, many researchers actually report...

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From Conflict to Cooperation

It would be nice if we could wave a magic wand and have all workplace disagreements disappear. In the close confines of a call center or an inside sales organization, conflict will happen. As the manager, you may be asked to assume the role of a mediator. It is...

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Without Listening, You can’t sell.

“Listen to the sound of the river, and you will catch fish.” ~ Old Irish Proverb Customers judge people who are trying to sell their ideas or services on the phone by how well they pay attention to them. They expect phone reps to find solutions to their business...

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Here’s How to Tank Your Product Launch

An area that is vital to most organization’s success is the launch of new products. However, instead of getting the predicted initial sales, the results are often disappointing. Companies are left frustrated and wonder if their projections were realistic, if the...

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How to Get the Long Winded Customer Off the Phone

Have you ever wanted to say to a caller, “Hey, let’s move this along?” Sometimes, it seems like our customers will never end the call. If there are calls in cue, long winded customers can make our lives very stressful. To manage calls more efficiently, pay attention...

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Take a Breath!

Our voice is our calling card when we conduct business on the phone. If we want to make a positive impression, our voice should communicate warmth, friendliness, sincerity and confidence. The question is how can we do it? The source of our vocal power is breathing....

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The Scoop to Building Relationships on the Phone

A lot of us speak quickly when we are on the phone with our customers or clients. Sometimes it is because we have so many calls in cue or because we feel pressured to get on to the next call. Whatever the case, it is a habit that can cost us business. Why? When we...

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So What If I Speak Fast

A lot of us speak quickly when we are on the phone with our customers or clients. Sometimes it is because we have so many calls in cue or because we feel pressured to get on to the next call. Whatever the case, it is a habit that can cost us business. Why? When we...

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Don’t Use That Tone of Voice on Me!

There are a lot of reasons why I hate calling Customer Support. It doesn’t matter what company. The issues remain the same. If I had a wish list, these are the things I would like to see changed- immediately! The first thing that bugs me is long waits with a message...

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Tips for a Killer First Impression on the Phone

For many of us, the telephone is our primary vehicle for doing business. Since people make instantaneous decisions about our competence and confidence, often within the first thirty seconds, it is critical to remember the importance of making a good first impression....

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Gaining Trust with a Global Team

In the old days, managers saw their direct reports daily. They may even have eaten lunch with them or been on the same company bowling team. However, today, managers often oversee people around the globe, in places as far away as India, Kuwait or Korea. The days of...

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Do You Know Your Customer?

Customers today are a lot more demanding and a lot savvier than they used to be. They know they have many choices. They are often in a hurry, confused, multi-tasking or have English as a second language. When they get you on the phone, their expectation is that you...

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How to Coach for Results

People always wonder about the best way to coach phone reps so that their organization can deliver world class customer service. If you want your reps to improve, you must understand the performance issues, know how to break down any problems into manageable steps and...

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What Counts in Exceeding Customer Expectations

Jake was a supervisor of a call center for a large telecommunications company. He had worked for the company for four years when a consultant with Impact Communications coached the inside sales team and their supervisors. One of the things Jake religiously preached to...

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Winning at Hiring

Call centers are the heart and soul of an organization. Customers form an impression of you and your organization within seconds based on the person on the other end of the line. If the first impression of a call center representative is positive, customers will be...

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Facilitating Workplace Disagreements

It would be nice if we could wave a magic wand and have all workplace disagreements disappear. In the close confines of a call center or an inside sales organization, conflict will happen. As the manager, you may be asked to assume the role of a mediator. It is...

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Key Vocal Issues – Rx

Susan works as a technical support person for a large corporation. Her days are spent answering up to forty or fifty phone calls each day. In her annual review, Susan’s new supervisor told her, after listening to some of her calls, her voice doesn’t sound warm or...

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Globe Smarts = Effective Virtual Presentations

Communicating with any team via teleconference or web session is challenging. When the team is spread across the globe, your task as a presenter requires real ‘globe smarts.’ Do not overlook the importance of adapting your message and slides to the audience...

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Who Do You Trust? Your Tone of Voice

Groucho Marks emceed a television game show in the fifties called “Who Do You Trust.” The contestant had to choose which of three people was telling the truth. On this show, contestants paid close attention to the body language of the three people as a means of...

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What Happens If You Don’t Pause

Pausing is the most under-utilized tool that a speaker has. Most people who use the phone to conduct business only concern themselves with their message. For example, they want to explain a product, fix your software or update you on month-end results. They forget...

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Shut Up and Listen!

The number one complaint customers express about any call center representative is reps don’t listen. When asked what reps should do differently, responders say “Shut up and listen!” Listening is a critical skill for anyone in the service industry. Yet, most people...

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How to Understand Your Customer

Customers today are a lot more demanding and a lot savvier than they used to be. They know they have many choices. They are often in a hurry, confused, multi-tasking or have English as a second language. When they get you on the phone, their expectation is that you...

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How to Host Productive Meetings

As business professionals, we attend meetings constantly. Sometimes, many of the meetings we attend are a waste of time. Often, they are counter productive. If you are chairing a meeting, there are a few tips to remember. Preparation Preparing ahead is important. It...

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How to Avoid Voice Mail Hell!

Most of us are forced to leave voice mail messages constantly. In today’s business world, it is almost a rarity to speak to a live person. When we go to the trouble of leaving a voice message, our expectation is that we will receive a “call back.” The vexing part is...

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Calisthenics for Cold Calls

Is there anyone that likes to make cold calls? Most of us hate them. Since they are unsolicited, often recipients find them annoying and do not respond to them. While challenging, you can increase your odds for success with strong preparation At all costs, avoid...

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Acknowledging the Inside Scoop

When a customer, whether internal or external, has an issue, the good listener acknowledges it. By empathizing, the person feels you understand him and becomes more receptive to hearing what you have to say. He or she becomes less hostile. You build rapport. Do not...

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Talking to People Where Language is a Barrier

Guest Author By Deb Kowalczyk, M.A.— Director Clearspeak  Why Work on My Accent? Whether you speak with a foreign accent or regional dialect, it can impact your job performance and affect the way you are perceived by customers, co-workers and employers. Although the...

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Hey, Let’s Move This Along

Have you ever wanted to say to a caller, “Hey, let’s move this along?” Sometimes, it seems like our customers will never end the call. If there are calls in cue, long winded customers can make our lives very stressful. To manage calls more efficiently, pay attention...

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The ABC’s of Coaching Peak Performers

Nobody is born a peak performer. Just ask any professional athlete. They achieve excellence by being coached and by practicing. They never accept that they are “good enough.” They strive to get better. To coach peak performance in a call center environment, the...

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7 Things Never to Say to a Customer

The health and well being of your organization depends on the service your customers receive. If they receive stellar service, then customers smile and stay loyal. If they are not impressed, they begin to look elsewhere. There are some phrases inside sales, technical...

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Power Listening Lessons

Listening is the number one skill for success in business today. Poor listening skills make people angry and make them feel you don’t value them. They affect all relationships, especially business relationships. Most people think they are good listeners. In reality,...

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How Can I Lead Them If I Can’t See Them!

In the old days, managers saw their direct reports daily. They may even have eaten lunch with them or been on the same company bowling team. However, today, managers often oversee people around the globe, in places as far away as India, Kuwait or Korea. The days of...

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Defending Yourself Against the Mad Caller

Picture that you have answered the phone and the caller begins with a raised voice. Without any seeming provocation, the person on the other end of the line starts making threatening statements and even swearing. How do you defend yourself against this mad, out of...

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Feedback—What Are the Problems

George Bernard Shaw said the problem with communication is the illusion that what has been said has been understood and accepted. People are often given “suggestions” on how to do their jobs faster, better or cheaper. Yet, many of those suggestions fall on deaf ears....

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What Kinds of Questions Do You Ask

As inside sales representatives, the way we close business is by asking questions. Often, we ask the same questions of each customer. Sometimes, these questions move people to make decisions, but at other times, they don’t, leading us to wonder “what happened?”...

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Customer ESP Comes from Listening

It isn’t easy to do business by phone. Those that are successful have a clear understanding of their customer and the person’s issues or needs. Extra Sensory Perception or ESP concerning our customers comes from being an observant listener. By listening to the...

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How to Say “NO” Effectively

Saying “No” to a customer is difficult. If it is done in the wrong manner, it can mean escalating a problem or even losing a customer. There are two things to consider before you do say “no” – why and how. Why Before “no” escapes from your lips, examine why saying...

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Why Your Tone of Voice is a Problem

When callers hear your voice on the other end of the line, they imagine the person behind the voice. If they like what they hear in the tone of your voice, chances are they will perceive you as knowledgeable and confident. If they don’t like your tone, they may want...

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Service Has a Feeling

People who rave about the service they receive from an organization expect more than the resolution of a problem. They want to “feel” valued as a customer and to be given special treatment. For customers to conclude the service has been excellent, phone reps need to...

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Breathing, the Source of Your Vocal Power

Our voice is our calling card when we conduct business on the phone. If we want to make a positive impression, our voice should communicate warmth, friendliness, sincerity and confidence. The question is how can we do it? The source of our vocal power is breathing....

read more

Lower Customer Stress and Achieve Customer Loyalty

Picture for a moment your customers on the other end of the phone line. Whether they show it or not, many of your customers are highly stressed. They feel tremendous pressure from their own management team to do things faster or cheaper. When they purchase from your...

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Do I Need to Work on My Accent?

Guest Author Deb Kowalczyk, M.A.—Director, Clearspeak Why Work on My Accent? Whether you speak with a foreign accent or regional dialect, it can impact your job performance and affect the way you are perceived by customers, co-workers and employers. Although the Equal...

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Tips For Managers On Surviving Peak Periods

In any call center organization, there are times when we are very busy and times when we are very slow. When it is hectic, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Don’t despair. There are some things that you can do as a manager that will help you survive. Start by preparing...

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Everything About Your Voice Matters

When callers hear your voice on the other end of the line, they imagine the person behind the voice. If they like what they hear in the tone of your voice, chances are they will perceive you as knowledgeable and confident. If they don’t like your tone, they may want...

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Shut up and Listen!

The number one complaint customers express about any call center representative is reps don’t listen. When asked what reps should do differently, responders say “Shut up and listen!” Listening is a critical skill for anyone in the service industry.  Yet, most people...

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Credibility Busters

Listeners on a call or web session make instantaneous decisions about the speaker’s trustworthiness. In fact, they often feel they have a clear read within seconds. Be aware the following missteps can be costly and can inadvertently “bust” your credibility.




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How Can I Lead Them If I Can’t See Them!

In the old days, managers saw their direct reports daily. They may even have eaten lunch with them or been on the same company bowling team. However, today, managers often oversee people around the globe, in places as far away as India, Kuwait or Korea. The days of...

read more

Calming the Difficult Customer

The success of any company depends on effectively dealing with upset customers. When customers feel in times of distress that they have been treated with the utmost respect, they remain loyal and recommend the organization to others. Paying attention to these seven suggestions is the key.




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Hey, Let’s Move This Along

To end your call, start using the listener’s name and start speaking in the past tense. “John, I am so happy we were successful in troubleshooting your problem. Is there anything else I can help you with today because I know you want to get back to work?” Before you terminate the call, be sure to go over any action items for the customer.




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Listening, the Key to Your Success on the Phone

A tough economy puts a lot of pressure on everyone. Clients are more and more demanding, especially when doing business over the phone. Good listening skills are essential. Yet, most people do not excel at listening. Researchers tell us that people listen effectively...

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Globe Smarts for Effective Virtual Presentations

Do you communicate with people located elsewhere in the world? If you do, it is important to have “Globe Smarts.” You cannot communicate over the phone as if the audience is exactly like your home audience. You have to be savvy about speaking multi-culturally and make adjustments in what you say and in what you show on your slides. Here are a ten quick tips.




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What Do People Hear in the Tone of Your Voice

A good portion of anyone’s day is spent on the telephone. Everyone wants to make a good impression, but it’s the first few words out of your mouth that determine whether people will perceive you in a positive or negative manner or whether they will trust and believe you.




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Listening: How to Do It When You Least Feel Like It

Being a good listener is the most important tool anyone who works on the phone can have. The problem is that there are many times that listening is a challenge. We daydream. We get distracted by others or feel preoccupied with things in our personal lives. We feel...

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You Need to Love Your Customers or Someone Else Will!

Remember the old song by the Beatles, “All We Need Is Love?” Well, that’s the tune your customers are singing. If you don’t show you “love” them, someone else surely will. In fact, your competitors are eager to do just that. In today’s day and age, there are a lot of...

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Acknowledging – the Inside Scoop

When a customer, whether internal or external, has an issue, the good listener acknowledges it. By empathizing, the person feels you understand him and becomes more receptive to hearing what you have to say. He or she becomes less hostile. You build rapport. Do not worry that this will lengthen the call. It will actually facilitate moving the customer into problem solving mode sooner. Most acknowledgements take only a few seconds anyway.




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Sail Past the Gatekeeper

Wouldn’t it be great if when we called a business person, we would actually get him/her on the other end of the line? The reality is that nine times out of ten, we end up talking to the person’s voice mail or the administrative assistant. Decision-makers are busy and...

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Who Do You Trust?

Trust and credibility is essential for anyone selling an idea. To insure that people believe your words, make sure that the tone of your voice is not an issue – that it supports and matches the words you are saying. It is your best tool for persuasion.




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