[VIDEO] How to Ask a Caller to Speak Louder or More Clearly on the Phone


Whether you own a small business or a Fortune 500 company, you're bound to get callers with soft voices, bad connections, or who are simply difficult to understand. But it's essential to cross this barrier of communication to truly help your new leads and current clients properly, maintain a professional reputation, and grow your business.

In this video, Kelsey Johnson details exactly how you can handle this uncomfortable, yet surprisingly common scenario. From resolving volume issues on your end to formulating a contingency plan, Kelsey provides her best tips for dealing with call volume issues.

Want to learn more about how to manage this awkward situation? We've provided a full transcript of the video below, edited for readability. You can watch the full webinar by clicking on the video below. This webinar is also available to watch for free on YouTube. To watch more videos like this one, with tons of free tips for soloprenuers, small business owners, and more, subscribe to our YouTube channel!


Kelsey Johnson

Product Marketing Manager

at Smith.ai



Business owners get calls from multitudes of different people on different phone lines every day. So what do you do when you simply can’t hear the person on the other line? 

I’m Kelsey Johnson from Smith.ai and today I’m going to talk about how to ask a caller to speak louder or more clearly on the phone.

When dealing with this situation, stay calm and follow these tips, and hopefully you can come to a conclusion that keeps your caller happy — whether they are a new lead or current client.


1. Check your phone volume and internet connection

I’ve had problems in the past hearing clients on the phone and it was simply because the output volume was all the way down! Is your headphone jack plugged in properly? Is sound coming out of a different speaker than you thought?

Always let the caller know that it is not their fault and, if this is happening to you often, check your phone before taking or making calls.

2. Turn up your volume

If your caller has a soft voice, you could use your technology to your advantage. Most phones can increase volume quite a bit — simply learn to use yours and turn it up!

If you are making or taking calls through a computer or online connection, check your device’s output volume in the system preferences on a mac or control panel on a PC. This is a good trick for video conferencing too, as so many of us are taking calls on Zoom, Google Hangouts, or other online conferencing platforms.

3. If you can’t hack the volume, and still can’t hear your caller, stay calm and patient

Never blame the other person for being quiet, but instead let them know you are having a hard time hearing them. Politely ask if they wouldn’t mind repeating what they said. You could blame a bad connection. Here are a couple of suggestions:

    - “I’m so sorry, but the connection seems to be slightly off on my side. Do you mind saying that again?”

    - “I apologize, but would you say that again? The line seems to be very quiet on my side.”

    - “Oh dear, the line is quite muffled for me. Would you mind explaining that again?"

You can hear in each of these examples how I was very deferential and took blame for the issue, rather than blaming the caller.

I’m going to repeat this because it’s incredibly important and extremely difficult:

4. Stay very patient

Don’t forget that it is just as frustrating to have someone else not be able to hear or understand you as it is to not be able to hear that person. Ask the caller to repeat themselves 2 times at most, and listen extremely carefully. This can help whether the caller is quiet or mumbling.

Try to piece together what they are saying, and then try saying it back to them. You could say something like, “Please correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I understand you are interested in this service. Is that right?” Continue like this for as long as possible, making sure to get to the essence of why they called quickly.

5. Have a contingency plan

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you still can’t hear or understand a caller. While maintaining that your connection is bad or that you are having a hard time hearing, let the caller know that you would love to continue to help them and that you will follow up via text message or email if you were able to get their email. Tell them that this is a regular part of your process, and that you are simply accelerating through to the next step due to the bad connection.

This will leave the caller feeling, not only like you are willing to help them, but that you are happy to go out of your way due to the inconvenient experience. If this follow up process includes a call in the future, try calling through a different platform or phone that you can use to up the volume.

6. Do not:

  1. Direct blame towards the other person
  2. Simply hang up
  3. Allow your voice to sound irritated
  4. Give up on the caller

Let Smith.ai's virtual receptionists handle your calls

Are you looking for assistance in taking calls for your business, either part time on nights and weekends, when you’re busy, or all the time? Try out a virtual receptionist service like Smith.ai. You’ll be shocked at how much time you save when you don’t have to take every incoming call or deal with situations like a quiet or difficult to understand caller. We can take messages, book appointments, qualify and intake new leads, transfer VIP callers, and much much more. Head to Smith.ai to start risk-free with our 14-day money-back guarantee today!

Business Education

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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Take the faster path to growth.
Get Smith.ai today.

Affordable plans for every budget.