Facing my phone fear

May 19 2017

Telephone

When I first started my job in customer services I had extremely low self-esteem and high anxiety, and I was really run down by my previous job. I find it easy to speak to people face to face because I communicate well with my body language and facial expressions. But when it comes to speaking over the phone, you cannot exchange eye contact and see the other person’s body language. Because of this I have always been uneasy about speaking to people over the phone. I always want to make the best impression I can, so for me having half the human contact cut out is scary.

A few weeks in to working in my job role, they asked me if I could start to answer some of the calls. They gave me a rundown of some of the most common things people would call us about, and I wrote a list with the resolutions next to them to prepare myself for what they might need.

The first phone call I picked up was a complaint about one of their deliveries being dropped off in the wrong place, and they had complained about it before. This is not a usual call to receive. I did not know what to say to them. Luckily my colleague was on hand and took over the receiver, calming the customer down and taking some details from her, then promising that we would resolve the problem.

After she hung up the phone, she had to reassure me that not all the phone calls would be like this, and that was just an unfortunate case.

About 10 minutes later the phone rang again, and my heart nearly leapt out of my chest. I let the phone ring four or five times before I had calmed down enough to answer it. This one was another unusual call I had no idea how to handle. But at least they were not angry this time. I told my colleague what they wanted and she came over to help me. The customer went away happy, and I felt much better.

Over the next week I answered lots of other calls, and all of the queries were simple and easy to resolve. But still every time the phone rang my heart thudded so loud I thought everyone could hear it.

Six months down the line, I have been in my job role for a long time now and I feel comfortable with most things customers phone up to ask. With the occasional query I still have to check with my team, but for the most part I can answer them, or give them a number for someone else they need to get in touch with, and the customers go away happy.

Most of our customers are very friendly and very appreciative, and I have been called a star on multiple occasions. I have gained so much confidence since I started, and I answer the phones with almost no hesitation at all.