Your telephone is one of the most important business tools you have. In many cases, the first point of contact between a potential customer and your business is though inbound calls. It seems so simple and so you’ve likely never really thought about professional telephone etiquette or trained your staff on how to use the business phone properly. Why would you?
At On Air, customer calls and phone etiquette is our main expertise. We provide professional on hold messages and phone system prompts to ensure that your customers are getting the most positive experience possible when they call your business and to make sure you’re making a positive impression on them too. We can take care of the produced messages on hold, but the quality of contact your customers receive when they’re talking to you or the office receptionist on the phone is where you come in.
Here are some tips to improve your telephone etiquette skills when speaking with customers on the phone:
When receiving inbound calls to answer the phone as quickly as possible. It’s always a relief when a customer can speak to someone right away.
Answer the phone with a smile. Believe it or not, your customers can hear that you are smiling and it will start out the conversation in a positive light.
Avoid speaking to your customers on speaker. Not only will it be difficult for you to hear each other, it gives the impression that you are multi-tasking and not focussed on them. No matter how busy you are, do not do other things while you’re speaking to a customer. Giving them your full attention will earn their trust and possibly their business.
Try to answer each call by mentioning the name of your business first. For example, you could answer the phone with: “Good morning, thanks for calling Company ABC, this is Ted.” That will help the caller confirm they’ve reached the right company.
Be prepared for taking a message. Make sure you always have a pen and paper on your desk so you can quickly jot down information. Keeping a customer waiting so you can find a pen shows that you are ill-prepared to help and could come across as annoying and unprofessional.
If you’re returning to the line after a customer has been on hold, try saying something like: “Thank you so much for holding. How can I help?” Rather than a blunt: “Are you there?” or “Hello?”
If you are writing down the caller’s information when taking a message, always read the information back to the caller before hanging up the phone. Confirming the information is correct will ensure they will receive a call back. If you jot down the wrong number and they never hear back from your company, you’ve just lost a customer.
Try your best to stay positive, friendly and professional at all times, even if you’re dealing with a difficult customer or a complaint.
If you are telling a customer that you will call them back, be precise on when they might expect your call. Giving them a specific day and time will show your commitment to them and give them an opportunity to prepare for the call.
Make sure every caller is happier at the end of the call, after having dealt with your business, than they were beforehand. A happy customer is a repeat customer.
From the moment you answer the business phone, speaking with the customer plays a major role in how that caller will perceive your business. Make a bad impression and you could lose business. Make a good impression and you could have a customer for life. You can also make a good impression through professionally recorded Phone Greetings and On Hold Messages. Contact us to find out more!
The average North American executive spends an average of 15 minutes a day on hold. That’s 9 days a year.