The Importance Of Answering Your Business Phone Professionally
There is nothing more frustrating from a customer’s point of view when you have done your homework and finally decide to call a business. Why because their marketing is working – this could be their social media or simply a referral. You want to find our more and you may even want to spend your money with them!
This is often where it can go wrong.
- The business doesn’t answer the call
- If they do, they talk over you and don’t listen and use jargon.
- They talk down to you.
- You can’t leave a voicemail
- If you can, their message is indecipherable
- Your suddenly put on hold
- If you manage to leave a VM they never get back to you
- The phone is unprofessionally answered
- You don’t have their 100% attention
- They give you a million options to press – making you lose the will to live
- They are scripted and are just going through the motions
And there are many more!
First impressions are very important. First impressions can affect the reputation of your company. Phone conversations can be the first form of communication a customer has with your company.
If a customer has a bad experience on the phone, they will have a negative view of the business that never changes and what do they do? They tell the world!
Having a good phone manor plays a huge part in maintaining a strong connection with your customers and ensuring professionalism – it helps you stand out from the crowd and can help grow your business. It’s a tool these days we often forget about, especially with online sales and social media platforms.
10 Ways To Improve Your Business Phone Technique
- Answer The Phone Quickly
If you are on hold waiting on the phone, do you like waiting for long periods of time? Customers don’t either, especially potential customers that are calling your business for the first time. To reduce their wait time, answer the phone call between the first and second ring. In a previous life we were told max of 3 rings! There is also such a thing as answering too quickly. Most people are accustomed to waiting at least until the first ring in order to hear an answer. If you answer quicker than that, then you may catch them off guard which isn’t a great way to start the conversation.
- Welcome Callers Courteously
When customers call your business, they want to talk to someone who has a professional tone and is pleasant. Be sure to include a warm and welcoming greeting to fully inform the customer who they are speaking to. A professional greeting would be a welcome, your name, and the business name.
- Smile As You Speak – Yes Very Important!
Since the customer on the other side can’t see you, you may believe that smiling while you speak does not make a big difference. This is not case. Smiling when you speak changes the tone of your voice and makes you sound more positive. This will influence customers to stay on the phone longer and give you more opportunities to make that important sale.
- Slow It Down And Speak Clearly
During phone conversations, it is important to clearly convey your message. As mentioned previously, communicating effectively on the phone is already a difficult task to accomplish. To maintain clarity, avoid mumbling, speaking too quickly, or having a volume that is too loud or soft. This avoids miscommunication between you and the customer. Also be sure to properly enunciate your words so you and the customer won’t waste time trying to figure out who said what.
- Ask Permission And Check
I really don’t like this one, but I do understand things do happen! If you have to go off the line for any reason, be sure to ask the customer’s permission first. Once you get back on the line, thank them for their patience. This is important to maintain your professionalism and ensure the customer that you know that their time is valuable.
- Don’t Interrupt – This Really Annoys Me!
Don’t interrupt your customer at any period of the conversation. It is, especially for me rude, unacceptable and the easiest thing to fix – I just hang up and move on.
- Stay Tuned
A lot of environments can be quite distracting and maintaining a clear phone conversation can be quite difficult. Block out any co-workers or external noises that you may be dealing with in the present. If it is impossible, you may want to take the call in a less hectic part of the office where you easily focus on the task at hand. It is crucial that you make the customer feel like they are heard and that their time is important to you.
- Recap Key Facts
Recapping key facts is a good way to ensure that there is clarity between both parties. No problems/misunderstandings in the future! Summarize what the caller said and repeat back to them. The caller will know that you have understood their situation and you were listening. Also gives the customer time to reflect.
- Take Notes
In conversation, it is quite easy to miss key elements. Always take notes. If you’re a scribbler like me – make sure you can read them! If you are doing the volume a CRM system is hugely helpful. It makes it easier to recap but also gives you a hardcopy of what was discussed, which can be helpful when the customers calls back. Shows professionalism and helps build rapport with customer – shows you care.
- Say Thank you
Remember first impressions are so important and manors don’t cost a penny!You are anambassador of your company and often this could be the customers first contact with a human being in the business! A please, a thank and even a little empathy go along way and could help separate you and your company from the rest!
Even in this day and age of technology a single phone call,STILL could be the deciding factor on whether you gain or lose a customer.
Mike Jack is the Director of The One Consultancy