Forego verification for the sake of familiarity.

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Verifying the spelling of caller information may be tempting in terms of precision in call screening, but is it worth sacrificing a tone of friendliness and familiarity? Consider the following two very different scenarios. Let’s say you’re a regular customer of a business, and each time you call to place an order or talk to customer service you reach someone new. Before they’ll help you, you’re asked for all your information, spelling verified and confirmed. Now, instead, consider how you’d feel if they said, “Hi, Molly! How is your day going?” The first exchange is liable to make one feel like a database entry, while the second would instill a sense of real, personal connection and familiarity. The best part is that the person who answers your call doesn’t actually need to know who you are to create that experience.

The truth is, verifying information every time causes one to sound markedly unfamiliar. It can also make people feel heavily screened, which is off-putting especially to frequent callers, and to others who don’t expect to provide such specific information right away. If the exact spelling of caller information isn’t important in terms of whether or not you can help someone, it’s best to skip the verification process. Don’t feel pressured to talk about specifics if you don’t actually know who the person is. A simple, “Hello (caller name)! What can I do for you today?” can be a warm welcome by itself.

In some situations, verification becomes necessary in order to move forward with helping a caller — a first time customer, for example. One way to make it a little more fun is to use the Ruby Spelling Alphabet. A as in Absolutely, B as in Brilliant, C as in Cupcake – you get the idea! It’s a new take on the old NATO version, and callers enjoy the fresh take.

Next time the phone rings, consider the positive impact you can have by defaulting to a familiar tone. If you do need to confirm spelling at some point during your conversation, you will have set the call off to a great start by being welcoming and familiar early on.

Do you have any tricks for sounding familiar with callers? Share in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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