Imagine looking in your rear view mirror only to see the flashing lights of a police cruiser. Glancing at your speedometer, you realize you are driving 15 mph over the clearly posted speed limit. You pull over, remove your driver’s license and insurance card, hand over your documents, and wait for the officer’s opening line.
But, what if the officer respectfully asks: “Mr. Jones, is there an emergency I should know about?” Instead of a tone of judgment you get a big helping of genuine concern. Even if there is a speeding ticket at the end of the encounter, your memory of it will be completely different than if the transaction had started with: “Mr. Jones, do you know how fast you were driving?”
Service tone is a major part of customer communication. We all have been on the receiving end of a “May I help you?” that sounded neither helpful nor about you! But, tone is more than the sound of attitude. Tone can be the language you use in correspondence that feels like it was written by a lawyer in search of an infraction. It can be the ease of access or the welcoming symbols customer witness as they attempt to do business with you.
Take a look at the occasions that trigger customer communications. Are they always related to a problem or sales pitch? Or are they the tone of partnership. How can you gauge service tone? What can you do to send the attractive service tone to your customers?