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Tips to Maintain Control in a Phone Conversation

Here are some tricks to maintain control in a phone conversation with a customer.

When speaking to customers over the phone, you might run into problems that you wouldn’t normally encounter from other means of contact. One of these problems is a customer taking over a conversation. But there are simple ways to make sure you don’t let them run off-topic. Here are some tricks to maintain control in a phone conversation with a customer.

Addressing the Customer

The first thing you should do is make sure that you get the customer’s name. When talking to a customer, it is much easier to relate to them if you know who you are speaking with. Also, it’s been shown that you can get someone’s attention almost immediately when you address them by their name. This can be helpful if your customer is upset and ranting and needs to calm down enough to listen to you.


Most conversations you will have with customers require you to ask a few questions, whether it is about a customer’s opinion about a product or experience. When you ask a question, try to make it as close-ended as possible, like those requiring only a yes or no answer. Open-ended questions invite a customer to expand on their answer to an unnecessary degree. While every person is different, and most won’t try to stay on the phone with you for very long, close-ended questions are a good way to avoid a rambling answer.


Although you might not expect to answer many questions from customers, depending on the setting, it’s good to keep in mind how you should answer. It’s best to keep your answers as brief as possible, especially when a customer is taking a conversation off-topic. If a customer is asking you something related to your call, such as a question about your product, then it’s alright to give a more thorough explanation. Otherwise, you should be polite and acknowledge your customer’s off-topic question, but then follow up by saying you should get back to the task at hand.

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