Whoever answers your phone represents the entire organization and its philosophy about customer service. Phone courtesy needs to be rule # 1.
Impress your callers when you practice these phone courtesy tips:
Answer the phone promptly
We live in a world of instant expectations. If you don’t answer the phone immediately, people assume that you are either closed for the day, gone out of business or simply provide poor customer service. Answer the phone as soon as it rings and grab that customer before your competition does.
Always identify yourself
One of the top complaints about phone manners is that people fail to give their name. People want to know to whom they are speaking.
Be prepared with pen and paper
Don’t make callers wait while you search for pencil and paper. If you aren’t prepared to take information, perhaps you aren’t prepared to do business.
Take accurate messages
With voice mail, we don’t have to take messages as often as we once did, but it happens. If the caller asks you to take a message rather than being transferred to voice mail, check that you have written all the information correctly. Double check the spelling of the caller’s name and repeat the phone number as well as the wording of the message.
Transfer calls smoothly
Most of us cringe at the words “Let me transfer your call.” Avoid “blind transfers”. Ask the caller to hold while you confirm that you are sending the call to the right person and that the person is indeed available.
Manage the hold key with care
Surveys on phone courtesy reveal that people rank being put on hold as their biggest frustration. Ask your callers’ permission before placing them on hold and wait to hear their reply. Not waiting for permission will gain you nothing but an annoyed caller.
Put a smile on your face when you answer the phone
You may not feel cheery, but your callers don’t need to know. Smiles change the tone of your voice and can actually be heard over the phone. Fake it if you have to. Fake smiles over the phone are just as good as the real ones.
At the end of the day, ask yourself what kind of impression you made with callers. Was it your best? Remind yourself that there is no such thing as an unimportant phone call and that you are the voice of the business.
About the Author
Lydia Ramsey helps organizations attract and retain clients through the simple practice of modern manners and the basic principles of courtesy, kindness and respect. © Lydia Ramsey. All rights in all media reserved.