How to Protect Your Agents’ Voices

Illustration of sound waves - voice concept

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Quick Overview

Call centres rely greatly on the interactions and effective communication between call centre agents and customers. That’s why the speaking voice is absolutely essential and it’s so important for agents to look after it to mitigate the strain of repetitive tasks, by understanding:

  1. Voice-Related Problems Are Unique to the Call Centre Setting
  2. The Negative Effects of Improper Voice Usage
  3. Mindful Tone of Voice

In this article, Maria Pellicano delves into the importance of maintaining a healthy speaking voice in the context of call centre work, while also emphasizing the significance of tone of voice.


Voice-Related Problems Are Unique to the Call Centre Setting

The speaking voice of call centre employees serves as a vital tool in shaping every conversation, allowing them to navigate through repetitive and often stressful environments on a daily basis. However, voice-related problems are unique to the call centre setting.

The strain on their speech function can be severe due to various factors such as repetitive tasks, lengthy periods of continuous speaking, and the pressure to meet performance targets.

In these intense work circumstances, improper voice usage can have a negative impact on both voice safety and general wellbeing.

By understanding the impact of voice in call centre environments and being mindful of tone, call centre workers can uncover strategies and techniques to safeguard their voices, excel in their roles, and enhance their overall professional performance.

Here are four considerations for looking after your agents’ voices in the call centre:

1. The Negative Effects of Improper Voice Usage

Voice Safety and Wellbeing

The voice is a delicate instrument and subjecting it to prolonged periods of strain and misuse can result in various issues that impact not only job performance but also overall health.

In the intense environment of a call centre, where communication is constant and pressure is high, the improper usage of the speaking voice can have detrimental effects on the safety and wellbeing of call centre workers.

The voice is a delicate instrument and subjecting it to prolonged periods of strain and misuse can result in various issues that impact not only job performance but also overall health.

In a study conducted by Iosh, a chartered body for workplace health and safety of professionals based in the United Kingdom, 25% of the call centre workers studied reported voice misuse, 25% showed voice symptoms, 11% reported having a voice disorder diagnosed, and 10% reported that their voice influenced their performance at work.

The above figures call for awareness and change of the way that call centre employees use their voices on a daily basis.

Common Voice Problems in Call Centre Workers

Fatigue:

Call centre workers often find themselves engaged in long hours of continuous speaking. This repetitive strain on the vocal cords can lead to voice fatigue, causing the voice to become hoarse, weak, or strained.

Fatigue can impair communication effectiveness and make it challenging to sustain quality interactions with customers.

Strain:

The high-stress nature of call centre work can lead to increased tension in the throat and jaw. When the voice is strained, it becomes more effortful to speak, leading to discomfort and a decrease in voice clarity.

Prolonged strain can result in nodules or other vocal cord injuries, which may require medical intervention and time away from work.

These common problems not only hinder the ability of call centre workers to effectively communicate but also impact their overall job satisfaction and wellbeing.

Without proper care and awareness of voice health, these problems can persist and worsen over time, affecting both professional performance and personal life.

2. Mindful Tone of Voice for Improved Wellbeing

Tone of voice refers to the emotional quality and expression conveyed through speech, including elements like pitch, volume, pace and intonation.

Being mindful when engaging customers will dramatically enhance communication success while contributing to an exceptional customer experience.

Voice written on blue background

Imagine this: A customer calls with an issue about an inferior product. Your role, as a call centre employee, is to address their concern and find an acceptable resolution.

However, responding with an impatient or condescending tone could leave customers feeling disregarded, disrespected, and even discouraged from continuing the interaction altogether.

By contrast, by adopting a calm yet empathic tone, rapport can be built quickly while conveying understanding, assuring customers their issue will soon be taken care of.

Your tone of voice sets the stage for every interaction you have, whether with customers or other businesses.

By being aware of your tone and paying close attention to its effects on both of you, you can tailor each message specifically to each of them and adapt your communication style appropriately – guaranteeing your message is received correctly by recipients.

An encouraging tone of voice can have a tremendous effect on one’s own wellbeing. Approaching interactions in an accommodating, friendly way creates an environment of positivity which boosts job satisfaction while simultaneously decreasing levels of stress, creating an easier work experience overall.

Empathy:

Place yourself in your customer’s shoes, strive to understand their perspective and convey genuine care and sympathy through tone of voice – this way customers feel heard and appreciated!

Active Listening:

Listen carefully to what a customer says in terms of words, tone and emotions before matching those sentiments through tone to show that you’re actively participating in finding solutions for them.

Positive Language:

Select words and phrases that convey positivity, professionalism, and willingness to help, rather than using language that escalates situations further or increases frustration levels. Avoid negative or confrontational statements which could escalate any situation further and add further fuel for frustration.

Adaptability:

Recognizing that each customer may respond differently to different tones, adapt your tone accordingly in order to match up with each person’s communication style and preference.

By becoming mindful of the tone of voice you use, you can improve your communication skills, foster stronger customer relationships and enhance overall effectiveness as a call centre professional.

To find out more about tone of voice, read our article: How to Utilize Tone of Voice in the Contact Centre

3. How Voice Coaching Empowers Call Centre Workers

Avoiding Voice Fatigue

One way to look after your agents’ voices is to teach them breath support, warm-ups, and pacing that can help workers use their voices effectively and sustainably.

Voice coaches help people recognize their limitations, spot symptoms of exhaustion, and take preventative action to keep their voices strong.

Call centre employees can lower their risk of weariness and maintain consistent performance throughout their shifts by regulating their voices well.

Building Voice Control

Building blocks with people and speech icons

Call centre employees can improve their vocal control with voice coaching. Workers can improve their speaking abilities by engaging in activities that emphasize vocal range, modulation, and diction.

Voice coaches offer advice and comments on emphasis, intonation, and articulation so that staff members may communicate clearly with consumers.

Call centre employees may improve their communication skills, establish confidence in their contacts, and generate excellent client experiences by refining their voice control.

Creating a Space for Expression

Call centre employees are given the ability to express themselves verbally through voice coaching. Workers can give their talks with customers individuality and authenticity by experimenting with voice dynamics, tone, and intonation.

While maintaining appropriate professional bounds, voice trainers assist employees to develop their own distinctive voice style.

This freedom of speech improves employee job satisfaction and makes for more interesting and memorable interactions with customers.

Navigating Challenging Situations

Voice coaching equips call centre workers with tools to navigate challenging situations with confidence and composure.

Voice coaches provide techniques for managing difficult customers, handling stressful scenarios, and de-escalating tense conversations.

Workers learn to maintain voice clarity and control even in high-pressure situations, ensuring effective communication and conflict resolution.

By mastering these skills, call centre workers can handle challenging encounters with professionalism, reducing stress and improving job performance.

For advice on how to handle challenging customers, read our article: How to Handle Contacts From Challenging Customers

4. Additional Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Speaking Voice

Proper Voice Warm-Up Exercises

The daily routines of call centre employees should include warm-up exercises to preserve a healthy speaking voice.

The muscles can be warmed up, circulation is improved, and flexibility is promoted with the help of easy exercises like lip trills and scales.

By preparing the voice for the demands of the day with these warm-up exercises, the possibility of voice strain and tiredness is decreased.

A stem with leaves made of water

Hydration and Throat Health

For a healthy speaking voice, staying hydrated is essential. To keep their vocal cords lubricated throughout the day, call centre employees should consistently consume enough of water.

Additionally, throat dryness can be avoided by abstaining from excessive caffeine and alcohol use. In dry conditions, using a humidifier can also add moisture to the voice tract, improving voice health.

For ideas to help your office (and their brains) stay hydrated at their desks, read our article: 7 Ways to Encourage Staff to Drink More Water

Rest and Recovery

To maintain the health of the speaking voice, rest and recuperation are key. To rest their voices, call centre employees should take regular pauses.

It’s helpful to practise rest techniques like quiet breathing exercises or light humming during breaks to reduce strain. Getting enough sleep is also essential for healing since it enables the voice folds to recover and re-energize.

Avoiding Voice Strain Triggers

Maintaining a healthy speaking voice requires being aware of and avoiding voice strain triggers.

Workers in call centres need to be aware of the things that can cause vocal strain, such as speaking too loudly, shouting, or speaking for an extended period without getting enough breath support.

Additionally, refraining from throat clearing, smoking, and frequent coughing might lessen the strain on the vocal cords.

Summary

Maria Pellicano
Maria Pellicano

In order to succeed over the long run and flourish in their positions, call centre employees must give their voice health top priority.

Workers may protect their most important asset by being aware of the impacts of poor voice usage and taking proactive steps to protect their voices.

Call centre employees can benefit greatly from voice coaching’s important advice and strategies for protection, improved communication, and increased job satisfaction.

Call centre employees who continue to put their voice health first will not only succeed in their careers but will also get the rewards of having a strong, clear, and expressive speaking voice.

Call centre employees may genuinely realize their full potential in providing great customer service and making long-lasting good changes by respecting and investing in their vocal wellbeing.

With thanks to Maria Pellicano, a professional high-stakes voice and business coach and author who has spent over 20 years working with Fortune 100 companies, professional leaders, and executives in building their confidence, developing their effectiveness in leadership and high-stakes conversations and in delivering their message to their audiences.

To discover more great articles on improving employee health and wellbeing, read these next:

Author: Guest Author
Reviewed by: Megan Jones

Published On: 9th Aug 2023 - Last modified: 31st Oct 2023
Read more about - Call Centre Management, , ,

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