Telephone Skills for Customer Service

Manage customer perceptions

A key aspect of customer service is handling the customer’s perceptions. The customer has a perception of the service you provide, and you and your organization have one also-but it is the customer’s perception that counts. Far too often organizations congratulate themselves on the service they provide without asking the customer.

For your customers to have a positive perception of your company, you must:

  1. Create a positive image
  2. Provide added service

Create a positive image

You may have spoken over the telephone with the same customer many times. Even though you have never met this person face-to-face, you probably have an idea of what he or she is like. You may even have a mental image of what a particular customer looks like. Customers are no different.

They also have an image of you. Think of your favorite radio personalities. If you see them in person or on television, they often do not look as you imagined they would. The personalities of their voices have created mental images for you. Radio broadcasters are professional people. They create the image they want you to have. When you provide quality customer service, you are doing the same thing.

Everything you say to a customer helps form the customers’ perception of you and your organization. Your objective is to manage this perception so that it is always positive.

Provide Added Service

Doing an excellent job of providing service may not always be enough. If time permits, and if appropriate, you should provide added service to your customer. You want your customer to perceive your company as one that goes the extra mile. Let the customer know that you are continually thinking of more ways to help her. Offer every assistance you can.

You may want to ask a lead-in question at the right point in the conversation. If the customer is not interested in any added service you can provide, don’t press on unless you are in sales.

As a service person you simply thank the customer for the order and move on to the next call.


Customer service is not simply a checklist of dos and don’ts. It’s having a helpful attitude toward your customers and letting your actions flow from your desire to help. Through your telephone courtesy and positive attitude, you greatly influence the level of customer satisfaction with your company. Your customers will perceive your company as one that values excellent customer service if you:

  • Develop a positive attitude
  • Find out what your customers want?
  • Manage customer perceptions


Now that you’ve prepared sufficiently, you can communicate effectively with your listeners, like a president swaying and inspiring the citizens of his or her nation. You have learned how to handle others’ perceptions, how to speak clearly, and how to understand what your people want. Keep in mind and practice what you have learned, and you will receive loud applause and the loyalty of all your citizens—or at least your customers! Remember the responsibility you have as a telephone representative for your company. Practice the skills you’ve learned in this course so your customers will be loyal and find their every service need satisfied.


Be aware of these common pitfalls as you apply this new skill:

  • Focusing so much on the outlined rules of telephone etiquette that you don’t listen to the caller.
  • Practicing your best voice to the extent that it ends up sounding fake and insincere.
  • Labeling every caller into a different type such as passive, assertive, talkative, etc. and treating him or her accordingly.
  • Taking too much time to try to understand what your caller wants.