Speaking over the phone is easy, right? After all, the vast majority of us do it every day. There’s nothing to it!
Thinking this way can present a problem for business owners. Perhaps, because so many of us spend so much time on the phone each day, we take for granted that we’re pros at it. Even the most professional of businesspeople, however, slip up now and again. And, by “slip up”, we mean neglecting to practice some of the most basic rules of phone etiquette. Perhaps, it’s time for a refresher course in how to be an over-the-phone customer service master!
Here are three simple steps:
1. Be sure to identify yourself at the beginning of each call.
You’ve likely been in touch with a number of your clients often enough that a “Hey, it’s me!” has probably become a common way to start off your conversations. It’s important not to get lost in making your calls too informal so that you don’t forget how to professionally address your new clients.
Building a rapport with each of your clients is important – and if you’ve established a friendly relationship, some verbiage can certainly slide. But, don’t forget to be clear about who is calling each time you dial a number. This is especially important when someone other than who you’re calling for answers the phone. It’s a bit embarrassing (not to mention unprofessional) to offer a “Hey, it’s me!” to a complete stranger.
2. Use the 5-step rule for placing callers on hold.
In the past, we’ve dedicated entire blog posts to the importance of properly placing callers on hold. It goes a long way in guaranteeing customer satisfaction. We highly recommend this five-step method:
- Steps 1 and 2: Ask for permission and offer a timeline. “May I please place you on hold for about a minute or two while I look into that for you?”
- Step 3 (if necessary): Return to the line if the timeline expires and repeat steps 1 and 2.
- Steps 4 and 5: Apologize and offer thanks. “Thank you for holding, I’m sorry to have kept you waiting”.
These kind courtesies help to not only keep your callers on the line, but boost their impression of your brand image. People don’t generally like to be kept on hold. Making it a pleasant experience will significantly improve customer satisfaction.
3. Give your caller your undivided attention.
When you’re speaking with a client over the phone, be sure to give that person the respect of your full attention. Don’t carry on other conversations at the same time, continually saying “just a moment” to the person you’re supposed to be speaking with. Don’t eat or drink, as well. The sounds of munching and sipping during a business call are entirely unprofessional.
If it’s absolutely necessary that you tend to another matter while you’re on the phone with a client, either offer to call the person back as soon as you’re available, or implement the above mentioned steps for hold time.
Of course, it always helps if your business is equipped with cloud-hosted Commercial Phone Services that enable your employees to make the most out of their phone calls. With a rich set of features and an unbeatable price point, our phone services are practically must-haves for all business owners. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the Live Chat feature on our website!