The telephone is still most business’s primary point of contact with customers and the way you answer your company’s phone will form your customer’s first impression of you. These telephone answering tips will ensure that callers know they’re dealing with a winning business – of course, if you don’t want to do it yourself, Office Response can handle all your calls for you:
1) If possible, answer all incoming phone calls before the third ring – this shows whoever is calling that you really do value their call.
2) When you answer the phone be warm and enthusiastic. Your voice at the end of the telephone line is sometimes the only impression of your company a caller will get.
3) When answering the phone welcome callers courteously and identify yourself and your organisation. You could say “Good morning. ABC Construction’, Andrew speaking, how may I help you?” No one should ever have to ask if they’ve reached such and such a business.
4) Control your language. Don’t use slang or jargon. Instead of saying, “OK”, or “No problem”, for instance, say “Certainly”, or “Alright”. If you’re a person who uses fillers (known as vias) when you speak, such as “basically” or “um” or phrases such as “like” or “you know”, train yourself carefully not to use these when you speak on the phone.
5) Train your voice and vocabulary to be positive when phone answering – even on a “down” day. Rather than saying, “I don’t know”, say “Let me find out about that for you.”
6) Take telephone messages completely and accurately. If there’s something you don’t understand or can’t spell, such as a person’s surname, ask the caller to repeat it or spell it for you. Read it back to the caller to confirm accuracy. Then make sure the message gets to the intended recipient.
7) Respond to all your calls within one business day. The early caller can get the contract, the sale, the problem solved… and reinforce the favourable impression of your business.
8 ) Always ask the caller if it’s alright to put them on hold and don’t leave them on hold for a long time. If you are having trouble locating someone go back to the caller and let them know. Offer them choices such as “That line is still busy. Do you want to continue to hold or should I have Mr West call you back?”
9) Don’t use a speaker phone unless absolutely necessary. Speaker phones give the caller the impression that you’re not fully concentrating on their call and make them think that the call isn’t private. The only time to use a speaker phone is when you need more than one person to be in on the conversation at your end.
10) Train everyone else who answers the phone to answer the same way; including other family members if you’re running a home-based business. Check on how your business’s phone is being answered by calling in and seeing if the phone is being answered in a professional manner. If they don’t pass the test go over this list with them.
By Steve West
Marketing & Business Development Manager
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