So you just got off the phone with two clients: one of them responded really well to your call, while the other one was cold and distant. One solution to avoid this is to understand how you can adapt your tone of voice: learn to tailor your approach and to build a better rapport with your client over the phone!
First of all, do your research before calling a client. Of course, a computer engineering client would not expect you to know how to code a programme, or a fashion client will not ask you about the new Chanel collection. However, when talking to a potential (or existing) client, you need to have an understanding of what their sector is and how their activities contribute to it. This does not have to take all day, but a quick google or read-through of the company profile can change the tone of your call. This will enable you to adapt your tone of voice as you will be able to focus on building a rapport with the client rather than spending precious time asking the client for information you can find on their website.
Whether reaching out through a phone or email, it is important that you are aware of how much time your client can dedicate to you. This is key to adapting your tone of voice: you will know whether you have to be direct and concise or if you can spend more time working through the finer details. To do this, either ask your client directly or judge by their tone: if they sound rushed or give short answers, adapt your conversation. It is also helpful to set up a quick agenda at the beginning of a call (or prior to the call by email) so your client is aware of how much time will be spent and what will be discussed.
You won’t be able to adapt to your client if you do not understand what they are expecting, what problems they want to solve or what they hope to get out of your conversation. So make sure you ask your key questions as quickly as possible as this will allow you to adapt your tone of voice. For example, a client might feel worried about a PR strategy, and you need to ask them about their concerns to understand that your tone needs to be reassuring. This requires empathy and active listening as you need to be able to perceive emotions and expectations from their tone of voice. But don’t worry, this is something that you will pick up after many (many) phone calls.
There is nothing more frustrating than someone calling without knowing what they want. So before you call your client (or before a scheduled call), make a mental note: are you calling to pitch an idea? Discuss PR strategies? Or demand payment? Knowing what your objective is will not only save you time and energy but will also allow you to adapt your tone of voice more easily, as you already know what you need to say. Part of this can also be achieved by setting up a quick agenda at the beginning of the call, as your client will have a clear understanding of what this call is for.
Cultural differences are a major factor when speaking to different clients, especially when working with international profiles. This is because cultural practices define how we perceive a tone of voice: for example, a British person might expect nuanced and polite language whereas a German client would be more comfortable with a more direct and to-the-point language. Likewise, company cultures vary across the world as hierarchy is more or less valued depending on cultures. Contacting your client’s superior might be taboo! As such, it is key to be aware of the cultural background of your client to ensure that your language is well-perceived and to build a rapport with them.
If you noticed that one of your clients is more responsive to humour or appreciates small talk at the beginning of the conversation, keep track of it. Similarly, if you know this client is often busy and prefers a direct approach, make sure you write it down somewhere. This will not only be a good way for you to have a reference to go back to when you switch clients, but it will also be beneficial for the team as they will have this awareness of what tone of voice they must adopt when they have to call your clients.
PingGo offers a workspace for each client where you can store all your client’s key messages. PingGo therefore offers a space where anyone in your office can understand what your client wants and what their branding is with only a short browse. What’s more, you can update the key message and adapt to your client’s expectations.