Phone manners: When old school is still cool
How do businesses make a good impression to their customers even without personally facing them? They do it via telephone calls.
As businesses now make use of phone answering services, virtual receptionists, and the like – remember that first impressions last. And any faux pas on your part (or your staff) can be disastrous. While your interaction is only verbal, saying the right things and saying it properly can help convey the right impressions about your company.
Here are some tips on how to convey professionalism even while on the phone:
Have a positive attitude – your mindset or mood can influence how you interact with those around you be it personally or over the phone. Smile whenever you answer the phone-although the person on the other line may not see you – that person can notice your mood with your tone. So smile!
Speak clearly – speak in a clear and cheerful professional tone which is not too fast or too slow. No mumbling please! Also use a normal tone when taking a call – if you tend to speak loudly, avoid that during phone conversations. Take it down a notch or two.
Do not use slang words – also, try not to use too much technical jargon since not all callers may be familiar with what you’re talking about. Do not swear. Do not use any foul language or language that can be deemed inappropriate. Speak to others as you would want to be spoken to.
Address the caller properly – use the caller’s title (“Good morning Dr. Who” or “Thank you for calling Ms. Simmons”) and never address the caller by their first name.
Listen carefully and listen well – especially when it comes to enquires or when you have to relay information. Never interrupt. Wait for your turn. Make it a good habit to repeat vital information back to the caller to make sure that you’ve understood him loud and clear.
Be patient – in a business, not all calls are about praises, some will be complaints. Listen to what the caller has to say and have an appropriate response at hand – never snap back even if you have already given the right answer and they still want an explanation (patience is a virtue!) If you do not have the answer, then escalate the call – refer the caller the right person or department
If you need to put them on hold or transfer the call – please tell them so. Nobody likes being transferred abruptly (that’s plain rude) in the middle of a conversation; or being put on hold. If you really must, let the callers know as to manage their expectations. Refrain from putting one on hold for more than a few seconds.
Always focus on the call – this mean giving your full attention to the caller and their concerns. Try not to get distracted by what’s going on around you.
Having phone manners, no matter how old-fashioned it may seem in this electronic age, can help build good relationships with others, especially with your clients. So polish your phone skills, smile and take that call!