Over the holidays, I made many phone calls to businesses and organizations. Some of the calls were to order items, other calls were to make a reservation or schedule a service. There was a distinct difference in how the experience felt when the phone was answered by someone who acted like a human vs. someone who acted like a robot.
The robotic responses were performed by employees who merely read and followed a script. They covered all the bases and completed the request, but the experience came across as a transaction and my feeling toward the organization at the end was not negative or positive, just neutral.
The animated responses were performed by employees who had the same script, but wanted to make the conversation more personal. They covered all the bases, completed the request, but would insert a personal tone or comment into the discussion. One employee smilingly asked me if I was ready for the holidays and another employee smilingly asked if they could change places with me since they were calling from Chicago where it was freezing and they could see from my area code I was in Florida. How did I know they were smiling? I could hear it in their voice tone. The questions were not too personal, the questions didn’t take a long time to answer, they were just questions to prompt a conversation that took us from a “transaction” to an “interconnection”.
In 2012, 55% of consumers intended to conduct a business transaction or make a purchase, but decided not to based on a poor telephone service experience. The tone for the call is set immediately by the employee in how they answer and the manner in which they speak. The more human they come across and make a personal connection as quickly as possible, will affect the entire phone experience.