Professional Communicational Skills for Call Center Agents

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  • 0:03 The 7-38-55 Rule
  • 1:00 Important…
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Professional communications skills for call center agents rely on three simple components: words, tone, and body language. In this lesson, we'll discuss all three, their importance, and how they are best applied.

The 7-38-55 Rule

The 7-38-55 rule is a tried-and-tested strategy for effectively communicating with other people, personally or professionally. Developed in the 1960s by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, the rule basically says that all conversations are built from three parts:

  • 7% is the words you use
  • 38% is the way you say those words
  • 55% is the body language you have while using the tone to say the words

That means, to communicate effectively, you need to place as much importance on how your body is positioned as what you actually say to a customer - yes, even when that conversation is taking place over the phone! Believe it or not, your body language can impact not only your attitude but the way you talk to customers, even when no one can see you.

In this lesson, we'll talk more about the important communication components of word choice, tone, and body language, and how you as a call center agent can apply each to create more effective phone calls.

Important Communication Components

Communicating with customers involves three critical elements: the content you're trying to convey, the way you say it, and how your body and face are situated when speaking.


The words you choose in communicating with customers can mean the difference between a happy caller or an angry one: a sale or a hang-up, and loyalty or losing a customer.

As a customer service representative, imagine saying, ''That's not my department'' or ''I don't know how to help you'' to a caller. Do you think that would make the customer feel very good about your interaction or make them want to do business with that particular brand? Probably not.

If applied correctly, word choice, the decision to use some words over others, can help display empathy, recognize mistakes that were made, and help facilitate a successful resolution. It can leave customers feeling good about their interaction and about your company.

One of the easiest ways to use word choice to your advantage is to substitute positive language for potentially negative words. For example, instead of saying, ''I don't think I can give you a refund,'' you might say, ''Let's explore the options we have for you.'' It shifts the focus from what you can't do and puts it on what you can.

Choosing positive language means eliminating terms like ''can't,'' ''don't,'' and ''problem'' and replacing them with words like ''can,'' ''will,'' and ''challenge.'' Don't those terms sound better?


If you've ever heard someone say, ''It's not what you said; it's how you said it,'' then you understand the importance of tone, our next critical communication element. Tone of voice is made up of the key elements of inflection (the rise and fall of your voice), pitch (the highs and lows of your voice), pace (how slowly or quickly you speak), and volume. Tone of voice can either engage a customer, such as putting emphasis on more important terms, or turn them off, maybe by speaking too quickly or too loudly.

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