Growing a strong business isn’t always about sales numbers or outdoing the competition. It starts with communication. When someone takes the time to look up and dial your company’s phone number you should at minimum meet their expectations with respect. Telephone etiquette is easy to follow, but not always properly executed. Whether your company has a secretary or phone reception service, there’s always room for improvement. Read on to learn about the importance of telephone etiquette for your business.
Making a First Impression
For many businesses, phone calls are the initial interaction with prospective clients. Unlike a firm handshake or steady eye contact, the only opportunity to make a positive first impression is how you answer that call. Answering the phone at work isn’t the same as answering your cell phone at home when a friend calls. Always have a formal greeting to let the caller know the place they’ve contacted and who’s answering. It’s as simple as: “Thank you for calling (company name). This is (name) speaking, how may I assist you?” All employees should use similar greetings to ensure consistency each time someone calls in case they get through to someone different than before. Don’t let the phone ring too long, either. The longer a caller waits, the more likely they’ll be to hang up. It’s critical no calls go to voicemail as 80% of callers typically won’t leave one.
Proper Telephone Etiquette Techniques
A professional greeting goes a long way in making a good first impression over the phone, but it doesn’t stop there. Whether a phone call is one minute or one hour it’s crucial to follow proper telephone etiquette techniques. Always smile when speaking as this reflects a positive tone on the other end of the line. Make sure to talk slowly and clearly to avoid having to repeat yourself. Most importantly, focus all of your attention on the caller. Just because you’re physically invisible on the other end of the line doesn’t mean a caller is easily fooled. Refrain from multitasking or using your computer, unless it’s related to the call, so distractions don’t interfere as you’re listening.
The work week can have many highs and lows. Regardless, never be caught off guard when the phone rings. Even if you’re having a bad day, a prospective client shouldn’t sense any negativity. It’s natural sometimes to not have answers. If you find yourself in that situation don’t fumble around or drag on the call trying to improvise. Simply be honest you don’t have the answer readily available, apologies for the delay, and politely ask if you can call back at a specific time with the correct information. Familiarize yourself with how your phone works. The last thing you want to do is accidentally hang up on someone you meant to put on hold or spend several minutes figuring out how to transfer a call to another extension.
Reviving a Lost Technique
Not too long ago phone calls were considered the most technologically advanced form of communication. Today’s fast-paced world of Smartphones and computers, however, have moved landlines to the bottom of the list for some people. Although we’re accustomed to text messages and emails, phone calls remain one of the most powerful and personal forms of communication. Don’t underestimate its effectiveness. Any worthy client appreciates a respectful phone call, especially when it’s unexpected. Interested in learning more about telephone etiquette and improving your company’s communication methods? Contact us with any questions you may have!