When designing or thinking about their ‘brand’, companies tend to focus on what that brand looks or feels like. They don’t necessarily think about how it sounds. However, this should be a crucial consideration, as it helps customers form their impression of the brand. When customers or clients call, it will be the first time they have ‘heard’ the company, so the way you sound is a lot more important than you might think.
The importance of tone
When we talk to people face-to-face, we tend to analyse how we might sound or come across, and choose to construct sentences in a certain way to fit the environment we are in. This is exactly how we should look at how our company sounds too.
Tone of voice is more than just a voice. It’s rhythm, intonation, pace and the language used. Companies often have this in place for other channels of contact (postal marketing, websites, social media, etc) and it is just as important (if not more so) on the phone, because sound is all you have.
Determining your ‘sound’
The tone of voice should set your brand apart from others and make you stand out. Drilling down into the brand, the personality and how the company sees itself is what ultimately will determine this. Look at your products, the market you’re in, your competition and the demographic of people looking to communicate with you.
You also need to be clear about what types of calls you receive on each phone line and make sure that your tone is appropriate to that department. For example, you wouldn’t want to sound too upbeat or humorous to someone who is making a serious complaint as it may infuriate them further. You may still choose to use the same voice as the other lines, but slow the pace slightly, adapt the tone and remove any marketing content to keep it appropriate.
Scripting automated messages
Writing for the telephone is an art – and sentences are often written in different ways depending on what callers are being asked to do in certain contexts. If the instruction is ambiguous, people will misinterpret them and may often press the wrong option. This could lead them to the wrong place, causing caller frustration and higher costs for the business.
When writing for the phone, it’s important to think carefully about every connotation it could have before signing off the script.
There is a lot more to think about, but if you consider some of the above, you’ll find a new confidence in your brand’s tone of voice, which will in turn become more engaging and effective for customers.