As well as the great article below, ACXPA Members also have access to a range of additional resources, including our monthly Member Symposiums & Video Library, exclusive industry insights, premium resources to download, discounted training courses, expert articles, and lots more!
Paraphrasing in a call centre or customer service setting is restating a customer’s issue or question with new words or phrases while keeping the same meaning to demonstrate you understand what they are telling or asking you.
It is often used to demonstrate active listening skills, one of the most important tools in customer service.
Why paraphrase on the phone?
Phone conversations can be difficult, especially when addressing complex, sensitive, or emotional topics with customers.
As the conversations are being held over the phone, visual cues such as facial expressions, gestures, and eye contact are missing and research shows that approximately 60% of human communication is typically visual.
Add to this the background noises and distractions often encountered over the phone and it can also interfere with concentration and comprehension.
So when we lose 60% of our communication powers, we need to make sure the other 40% is on-point which is typically made up of tone and the words we use.
Paraphrasing is a useful tool to help overcome these issues and enhance your communication skills.
Paraphrasing allows you to confirm your understanding of the speaker’s message and feelings, demonstrating that you are listening attentively and respectfully as well as aiding in building rapport and trust with the speaker by acknowledging their feelings and expressing empathy.
An example of how to paraphrase on the phone
When paraphrasing on the phone, it is important to not simply repeat what the speaker said word for word.
Instead, use your own words to summarise, restate, or reflect on what the customer has said, while keeping the same meaning and tone.
An example of this could be, “OK <insert name>, my understanding is that <we need to/you’re trying> to<information>, is that correct?”