Answering your phone promptly and courteously is one of the best ways to display your professionalism. However, there is more to it than that. There’s a process for this, and it is rooted in phone etiquette.
These guidelines can help you avoid issues such as customers hanging up before you have a chance to talk to them. Answering the phone quickly is the best way to prevent callers from being directed to your voicemail in which the majority will hang up.
Proper phone etiquette will help your callers feel that you are there for them, listening to them and caring about their needs. In the long run, it is one of the best practices to increase your business reputation. More on the subject of what defines excellent business phone etiquette can be seen in the series of tips below.
7 Tips for Business Phone Etiquette
Let’s face it – the Internet changed many things, especially when it comes to communication and how people contact businesses. In this day and age, you have to provide multiple channels for potential customers to contact you. More importantly, you have to be present for them 24/7 and give them a point of contact — even if you aren’t available.
Phone etiquette reflects the quality of your business. A highly skilled virtual receptionist with impeccable phone etiquette knows the proper manner of greeting a caller in a professional tone of voice, choosing the right words, actively listening, and navigating the call.
The way you create your phone etiquette protocol is essential and could be the difference between growing your business or losing opportunities.
Below, we list the seven most important tips you should follow to answer your calls professionally.
1. Answer Calls Within Three Rings: Being available for callers is a recipe for success. Make sure to answer all calls immediately and ideally within three rings. This way, your callers don’t have to wait for you or, worse, be directed to voicemail.
2. Introduce Yourself: You should always introduce yourself and remind the person that is calling who you are and ask how you can assist them. Putting a name to a conversation sets the stage for a wonderful opportunity to build a new client relationship. People want to have a “go-to” person that they know, like, and trust.
3. Annunciate Clearly: Speaking clearly and calmly is the foundation for creating a fabulous caller experience. Annunciate and articulate slowly yet in conversation during all aspects of a call. The person on the other end of the line will usually judge your business based on the person’s tone of voice when they answer your phone. If you speak clearly, you will deliver a professional and impressionable caller experience.
4. Don’t Put Callers On Speaker: Putting your callers on speakerphone can be perceived as rude and impersonal. Whether someone enters your office or you are eating, putting callers on speakerphone can deliver the wrong impression. In an ideal scenario, anyone answering your calls should be doing so by wearing a headset
5. Listen and Take Notes: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Demonstrate active listening during every call. Each caller has the potential to be a good customer for you as long as you listen to their needs and do your best to come up with solutions. To do this, we recommend listening well and taking detailed notes.
6. Use Professional Language: Language matters and professional communication over the phone is what every caller deserves. Be mindful and respectful, and remember to save the use of slang when you’re out of the office.
7. Be Honest: Even if you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest with your callers. It’s easier to say, “I don’t know the answer to your question, but I know where to get it . . .”
As long as that is the case, people typically understand. Plus, this practice is always better as compared to making excuses or giving false solutions.
Are you in need of an effective phone etiquette for your business? For more information, contact AnswerPro today.
The Importance of Phone Etiquette
We all know that phone communication remains one of the essential tools for businesses worldwide. Despite the latest technology such as emails, texts, artificial intelligence, and even voicemail, things can get lost in translation using these methodologies.
Inbound phone calls are usually the most widely used method for contacting a business. It’s the first opportunity for you to deliver a positive impression that a caller can have regarding your business.
Proper phone etiquette is supported by friendly greetings, tone of voice, annunciation, active listening, and even body language — all of which set the stage for excellent customer service. If all of these elements are part of your business communication, people will be more likely to call again or become your customers because of your responsive engagement and professionalism.
Learn How Partnering with An Answering Service Can Provide Excellent Customer Service for every Call
A telephone answering service can be the best way to improve your customer service level. For starters, answering services typically employ highly skilled call agents and virtual receptionists who are professionally trained. They know how to answer phones, greet customers, and represent your business in the best light.
Additionally, many extra features come as add-ons to your answering service. These may include call forwarding, sales order entry, appointment scheduling, after-hours support, call overflow, etc.
Phone Etiquette Best Practices and What To Avoid
Below, we are listing best practices for implementing effective phone etiquette and more tips that can help you make the most of delivering a WOW experience to your callers.
Know Who is Calling and Why
The first step when answering your phones is to listen and understand the needs of your caller. Learning the motive behind their call can say a lot about the rest of your conversation.
For instance, the caller may be an existing customer who wants to address a problem they have with your product or service or a potential customer who wants to know more about what you have to offer.
Focus on Positivity
Speaking with an inviting tone and being positive is an essential factor to follow when answering calls. The way you greet people on the phone sets the tone for the entire conversation. One of the best tricks you can do is visualize that you are standing in front of the caller face to face. This will help you sound more inviting — and believe it or not, smiling while talking calls can make a noticeable difference on the other end, too.
Interruptions are the black hole of productivity. You can minimize disruption to your workflow by enlisting the support of a professional answering service.
Ask the Caller For Permission Before Placing Them on Hold and Make Sure Their Needs Are Met Before Closing the Call
Putting a caller on hold as well as closing a call takes a particular cadence. Always ask callers for permission before you place them on hold. Alternatively, before saying goodbye, thank your caller and ask them if there is anything else you can assist them with. Develop a habit where your callers hang up first to minimize accidental hang-ups.
Be Mindful of Your Voice and Volume
Avoid using any slang and try to remain professional at all times. If you’re working in a busy office, things can get pretty loud. Be mindful of how loud you are speaking and make sure you are not disrupting your employees or coworkers’ ability to carry on with their work.
Respond to Voicemails
When a caller leaves a voicemail, they expect a quick response from your side. Voicemail is something every business should avoid because people usually hang up. However, if you have voicemail, responding to messages promptly can positively impact the caller.
Common Phone Etiquette Scenarios You Can Easily Manage
We all know that even if you have excellent phone etiquette, there are situations when frustrated callers dial-in. No matter what you do or how professional you are, there are times when people are shouting on the phone, asking you questions you don’t know the answer to, insist on staying on the phone until their issue is resolved, etc.
It is essential to stay calm and positive in these situations, no matter how angry or frustrated the caller is. Below, we are listing a few common scenarios – as well as ways to manage them effectively.
The Caller Insists on Staying on the Phone Until Their Problem is Resolved
In many cases, callers will be “pushing” to have their issue addressed quickly, even if it means staying on the phone until a satisfactory solution has been determined. The best way to deal with this situation is by providing a proactive customer service level.
Avoid keywords in your vocabulary that might trigger your caller or indicate frustration or stress on your end. Make sure to listen actively, and if you cannot solve the problem immediately, offer a follow-up plan. As a first step, tell them you will personally look into the matter further and follow up with them either by phone or email.
The Caller Wants to Speak to a Manager
In this scenario, the caller wants to speak to a manager right away because they believe that talking to management will help resolve their issue faster.
The best way to deal with this is to ask your manager for advice on managing this type of escalated call. A partial script to convey sounds something like this. “I’d be happy to connect you with a manager. Here’s my name just in case you need it. I feel confident that our manager can assist you better than I can at this time.”
If there is no option for the caller to be connected to a manager, you should ask them to call back at a different time and confirm with them when your manager will be available.
Callers Don’t Understand What You are Saying to Them
Some callers won’t understand what you are saying to them from the start. Phones are perfect for providing immediate support but can be very tricky with complex situations, especially when it comes to tech support. Calls such as this can be easy for people to misinterpret information and become confused.
Because of this, you should use customer service tools that help clarify your explanation. In other words, you should guide callers through each step of a troubleshooting process and make sure that everything is understood correctly. Be sure to tell your caller what you can do versus what they need to do.
Callers Keeping You on the Phone too Long
Most callers who value their time want to get on and off the phone as quickly as possible. On the other hand, some callers wish to stay on the phone and tell you their life story.
Understanding the term “call control” is very important. Skilled call agents such as our team here at AnswerPro, know precisely how to manage these kinds of calls and still deliver a wonderful caller experience.
They Want You to do Something You Can’t Deliver
Sometimes, callers expect too much from customer support. If they request something that you can’t do, the best way to deal with this is to reset expectations. Use simple words that won’t trigger frustration for them. Focus on talking “with” them and not “at them.
Transform Your Business Customer Service Experience
Proper phone etiquette is vital for exceeding your caller’s expectations and providing maximum satisfaction. It can also help you grow and scale your business, but you have to be consistent. Focus on exceeding expectations and integrate this standard in all aspects of your business operation.
Do you feel you need help providing the customer service experience required to grow your business? Consider how an answering service like AnswerPro can help you transform customer satisfaction and make your life easier.
Take a look at our answering services and see how we can improve your service levels by answering all of your calls at any time of day or night.