Mind Your Pace & Diction
Some things in this business you can’t control, like a customer having a bad day or the weather causing a power outage. But there are many things we can control, or at least influence, including our clients’ evaluation of our performance.
At GCS, we strive to be the best in everything we do. And part of being the best is listening to criticism from our clients and using it to fuel better performance.
Senior vice president Frank Camp works one-on-one with many of our clients and can attest to the value of strong presentation skills to our customers.
“As an extension of our clients, we represent their ‘brand.’ Stronger, more professional interactions reflects not only on GCS but increases our clients’ satisfaction and our clients’ customers’ satisfaction, as well.”
We are great at doing a lot of things right when it comes to performance but there’s always room for improvement.
Three areas we should focus on as a team is pace, diction, and grammar; particularly when we do not have to follow call guides verbatim.
We always want our make a professional impression. When we speak too quickly, the listener might get lost in what we are trying to say. They might not understand the message, retain the features and benefits, or become too distracted by the pace to take the offer seriously.
Pace is something we can control. Go back to what you learned in training. Mirror the pace of your customers. Talking too fast makes you sound nervous and is a trait most people find annoying over the phone. If you suspect you might be talking too fast, practice your presentation in front of a mirror. We definitely want our clients to know how excited we are to be working with their customers, but talking too fast is not how we want to demonstrate our excitement.
Diction is our way of speaking, usually judged by how we pronounce words. It often is affected by our accent. It is a more difficult trait to change, in part because much of our vocabulary and speech practices are influenced by our environment. Accents sounding warm and endearing to some can be distracting to others.
Our associates in Mt. Hope will have different conversational jargon than our team in Yuma due to regional diversity. We should strive to improve our diction by focusing on by clearly pronouncing each syllable of a word and making sure our accent doesn’t change, or even drop, certain sounds.
In your training sessions, you should have been introduced to a few ideas on how your dialect and speech affect your presentations.
If your coach has pointed out some flaws in your diction, be sure you continue to work on them. You’re not trying to change who you are but instead, trying to polish your presentation skills so they are universal to every customer who interacts with you.
If you’re conversing with someone who is used to the dialect of your region it’s probably easy for them to understand; however, if you are on the phone with someone who is not familiar the small differences in your accent and vocabulary, it can hinder your presentation.
The best plan of attack is to heed the advice of coaches in training and monitoring sessions. Their feedback will help you make subtle changes that can greatly improve your presentations. Also, mirror what the customer says. Their accents might be more neutral than your’s. Use theirs as a reference point in your presentations.
Grammar improvement most often is needed in selecting the proper tense of a verb or pronoun verb combination. Often the individual making the mistake does not realize they are wrong. Fortunately, there is usually at least one grammar expert in every group. Listen to them and encourage them to give you feedback when you are wrong. Your friends usually let such errors slide, but to someone who knows correct grammar, misuse can be interpreted as unprofessional and uneducated.
How does making these changes help your performance and presentations?
Frank Camp explains:
“There are four major benefits to any team that improves these skills. Our customer interaction skills improve. Our career professionalism grows. Our quality of interactions and resulting client quality scores increase. Our performance will be stronger.”
Coming up in our Daily News, we will be featuring some extra tips to help you with these three particular areas. Think about what you can do to ensure our customers’ perceptions are always positive and accurate.