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Telephone Therapy

Telephone Therapy

Telephone therapy is what happens when phone professionals allow an upset customer to vent. It is a key strategy towards building rapport. When customers vent, they need to tell their whole story. “Venting is therapeutic,” I would say. My admonition is based on what I had learned during years of handling challenging telephone calls.

What makes the telephone such a powerful therapy tool? I believe it is the amount of imaging that a good telephone voice is able to convey. Eighty percent of what a telephone service professional conveys is in his or her tone of voice. The content or words comprise the remaining 20%. The tone of voice reveals much about an individual, their intent, and their demeanor.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published an elaborate study on the benefits of psychotherapy using the telephone.

A psychiatrist at the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle reported that 80 percent of patients who received telephone therapy along with antidepressants indicated that their depression was “much improved” six months later, compared to 55 percent of those who received medication alone. Therapists are good listeners.

The below LISTENING SKILLS video conveys a constructive message about empathy and understanding.


Click to enlarge above image

The inception of the telephone therapy study was in response to the increasing number of patients who failed to maintain their in-person counseling sessions long enough to detect any benefits. One out of every four patients attending in-person psychotherapy drop out after just one session; fully half would cease treatment altogether by the fourth session. A psychiatrist responded to this trend by contacting their patients by telephone to find out whether that method made it easier for them to continue with their treatment sessions. It did. The resulting telephone therapy study provided clinical proof about something that I have known intrinsically for decades.

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Steve Coscia

The road from professional musician to thirty-year customer service veteran to best-selling author and speaker is not a typical career path, but Steve Coscia may have started a new trend.

Coscia is one of the most widely published and quoted authorities in the customer service industry. He has published more than 200 articles, four books and a series of training DVDs. His college curriculum is taught at institutions of higher learning throughout the United States and Canada.

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