Making a good impression over the phone is harder than it sounds. There are a number of bad phone habits that get on customers’ nerves and can detract from the purpose of the call. Think back to the times you’ve been on the receiving end of bad phone customer service – sounds of chewing, loud yawning, rudeness, constant interruptions – and how much it annoyed you.
If you think you or your employees might have developed some bad phone habits, check out the list below and read about each habit. Avoiding these bad phone habits can help you make a better impression on your callers and develop new, more effective phone habits.
5 Bad Phone Habits That Annoy Customers
1. Chewing anything – gum, food, etc.
Most people consider the sound of chewing to be gross, so it’s the last thing they’d want to hear while on the phone with customer service. Chewing anything, whether it’s gum or food, is sure to annoy customers and can make it hard for callers to understand you. If you’ve just taken a bite of something and the phone rings, it’s better to quickly chew and let it ring a few more times than to answer it with a full mouth.
2. Sighing, yawning, signs of disinterest
Most of the social cues we take from phone calls are verbal since we can’t see the other party to see their gestures, stances, and facial expressions. If one person is sighing, yawning, or showing signs of disinterest, it conveys to the other that they are bored with the conversation and have already mentally tuned out. Yawning or sighing on the phone with a customer is like saying “I’d rather be doing anything but this.” It definitely doesn’t convey that you’re an attentive, caring, and competent customer service agent. If you can’t suppress a yawn, follow it up with a quick apology and reason – for example, “I’m so sorry! I didn’t get enough sleep last night and I’m feeling it today.”
3. Interrupting or finishing sentences
While it might be considered cute for couples to finish each other’s sentences, it’s one of the most annoying bad phone habits on this list. No one likes to be interrupted or cut off, especially when their reason for calling has to do with business. Even if you feel you can tell where the customer is leading, don’t interrupt or finish the sentence for them. Let them explain it fully to you and then paraphrase what you’ve heard to ensure you have the right understanding (these are principles of active listening).
4. Wrapping up the call too soon
Not feeling heard is one complaint many customers have about dealing with customer service departments. Sometimes, the neutral approach many companies take – staying calm, offering possible solutions, issuing the same responses to every caller – can end before the customer has a chance to get all the answers they were looking for. Don’t get into the habit of sprinting through the call script and wrapping up the call too soon. Before ending a call, be sure to ask if there is anything else you can assist with. Don’t assume the caller will bring it up on their own – some won’t want to bother you after requesting help for a different problem.
5. Calling customer by the wrong name
Finally, one of the most annoying bad phone habits is calling a customer by the wrong name. In order to feel like a valued, respected customer, they can’t be a victim of a case of mistaken identity. If you find yourself calling a customer by the wrong name often, you should consider slowing down in your work and finding methods to memorize names. If it happens once or twice, there’s no harm done as long as you apologize and get the right name for future reference.