Calling is a diminishing form of communication. Between text, email, and FaceTime, many people don’t see the point of a simple call. Often times, the person on the other end is unhelpful, preoccupied, or just plain rude. However, calling is still the most insisted upon method of communicating issues or appointments with just about every company in the US. So to make your life easier, there are some small behaviors you can adapt to make your phone call much more pleasant.
Speak Clearly, Speak Loudly
Because so many of us don’t talk on the phone, we forget that how we sound in person is not how we sound on the phone. Poor receivers and connections can make a mumble sound like gibberish. We all tend to get a little lazy when we speak, assuming that if I can understand myself, then so can others. This isn’t always the case though. So, when talking on the phone, speak clearly, speak loudly, and pronunciate your words for goodness sake.
Spell it out
If you’re making a phone call, chances are it’s to figure out some important information in which you have to verify your identity with a multitude of words, codes, or phrases. We’ve all been there and we’ve all experienced the frustration when the person on the other end can’t differentiate from when you say “C” or “B”. There’s a simple trick for making situations like this so much easier. With proper nouns, spell them out and, if you have to, use a variation of a radio alphabet. For example, say A as in APPLE or J as in JULIET; use words that can’t be easily misunderstood as other words though.
Did you say T or 3?
If you are reading off a long list of numbers and letters, be it a password or serial number, it’s important to follow the previously stated rule about using a radio alphabet. But it is equally important, especially in long lists, to declare you mean the number three and not “T” as in the word three. This might all seem common sense, but you’d be surprised. It’s a really simple step. So instead of saying “Tango, Alpha, Juliet, 3, 4, Beta…” you would say “…Tango, Alpha, Juliet, the number 3, the number 4, Beta…” Trust me, it’s not as much effort as it sounds, and this will ensure no confusion occurs over the phone.
You can catch more flies with honey…
This goes for pretty much any and all interactions we have throughout the day. Whether in person, on the phone, or on the internet, it is always best to remain positive and understand the situation of the person you are calling. Although you may be extremely frustrated, lashing out will not help your situation in the slightest. Retain your professional composure and remain patient. The customer service agent on the other end is doing everything they can to assist you. No they aren’t refunding your $500 transaction at the moment, but they might not have authority, or even know how to do so. If, however, you have reached your limit, it is perfectly okay to ask for a supervisor. In most cases, they will be more than happy to pass you on to upper management.
Don’t let them win, but know when to quit
This is something we all should take into consideration when dealing with some companies and people that want to rip you off. How can you tell when the person you’re dealing with just wants to see the world burn? Well, for one, there’s just something in their voice and attitude that tips you off. However, for the most part, you really can’t tell. You, as an individual with personal priorities, have to decide when something is not worth it. If you are late one day on a payment and they want to charge you a $500 late fee, then fight till your last breath because that’s ridiculous. On the other hand, if the fee is only like $10 and you were warned, then save your energy, it’s not worth it.
Go in with an optimistic attitude and read the situation. Most of the time you can tell when someone is actually trying to help versus when they couldn’t give a rats a**. Additionally, remember to be patient, screaming into the phone and lashing out won’t improve your situation at all. And finally, never forget it is perfectly fine to ask for a manager, they have more authority to get stuff done anyway. Good luck out there and happy calling.
A: Ben Delamater