Young person holding mobile phone to ear

Business calls are the first point of contact for a lot of potential customers. If you want your business to grow and succeed, it’s essential to get them right. How? You might be thinking of things you need to mention, certain questions to ask, or even that punchy greeting.

But have you considered your tone of voice? It’s often forgotten by businesses, but it could help you secure those extra clients, and drive your profits upwards. Read on to see why tone of voice is paramount in business calls.

7-38-55 – What does it mean?

While it may seem like a random sequence of numbers, 7-38-55 is actually a commonly cited rule in communication. The numbers represent the weight of different components for effective communication:

  • 7% words
  • 38% tone of voice
  • 55% body language

… Or at least that’s what Albert Mehrabian says. He put forward the idea, around 50 years ago, that the three elements need to work together to be effective. If they don’t, it can cause frustration for those on the receiving end. But how does that work on the phone? Without the possibility of body language, the effectiveness of your communication relies largely on tone of voice. So, what exactly is tone of voice?

Getting tone right

With sayings like “tone deaf”, it’s understandable that a lot of people get tone mixed up with pitch. But it’s not going to be any use making your voice any higher or lower on the phone. Instead, tone of voice refers to the attitude you convey when you communicate.

It’s made up of a range of factors, include intonation, enunciation and what kind of things you’re actually saying. Are you asking questions, giving orders, making statements, or even just chatting? These things all contribute to the tone of voice. And there are certain tones customers prefer.

The best tone on the phone

When your business gets a call, you have a number of choices to make as far as tone is concerned. Formal or casual? Inquisitive or informative? Direct or cautious? As for which you should go for, it’s down to context. In a study of call centre agents, Software Advice found that customers much preferred unscripted interaction when they have a query or problem. Something a bit more casual gives the impression that your query will actually be dealt with.

Casual doesn’t mean rude, though. The same survey suggests that simple markers like “please” and “thank you” makes customers feel like their call is important – and that the customer service agent is respectful – more than other factors.

It’s also useful to combine inquisitive and informative tones, for instance, when you receive business enquiry calls. Customers want to feel like you’re interested in their business, but also learn about what you can offer. While these may seem like small changes, they can make a huge difference to how customers respond to your business.

Boosting your business

To be successful in business, you need to get that first call right. With Ava, that’s not a problem. We provide professional telephone answering services to a range of businesses big and small. Our reliable services will ensure you never miss an opportunity, and have plenty of spare time to spend on what you do best. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, be sure to contact us today.