You might not think talking on the phone is still important in 2018, but it is. 68% of people still contact customer service by phone first, and if you aren’t ready to take their calls, you’ll lose leads.
However, that’s not enough. If you have bad phone etiquette, you’ll do more harm to the relationship than good.
Make sure you’re at the top of your game with these 5 tips.
Always Pick Up the Phone
Start at the beginning; you need to answer every call, every time.
Failure to answer the phone will dramatically affect your customer service quality. The average caller will hang up if a call is not answered after five to six rings.
So, as a rule, ensure that your calls are consistently picked. When a call comes through, it shouldn’t be allowed to ring more than three times. Prompt answering shows that you are ready to give them high-quality service.
Once you answer the phone, have a positive greeting for the caller. For example, “Thank you for calling XYZ. How may I assist you?” Get to know the name of the caller. Once you know their name, use it during the course of your call. “It is the one way we can easily get someone’s attention,” says The Washington Post. “It is a sign of courtesy and a way of recognizing them. When someone remembers our name after meeting us, we feel respected and more important. It makes a positive and lasting impression on us.”
This makes the call more personalized, which is a good thing. From the start of the conversation make the person feel comfortable talking to you. business with a professional image every time the phone rings.
Watch Your Tone
During a phone call, the person you’re talking to cannot look at your facial expression or body language to tell your mood. On a call, your tone informs your caller of your state of mind. Tone makes up 84% of the message of a phone call, as we’ve reported.
Your tone should be polite and clear so that your caller understands what you are saying. Your tone, however, doesn’t have to be too excited. Doing so might come off as if you are faking it. Keep it simple! Let the caller know you happy with the business they are giving you and are more than happy to assist with their queries.
Practice Active Listening
A call may come through when you have a lot on your desk. Proper phone etiquette dictates that you stop doing whatever it is you are working on and concentrate on assisting the caller. If you don’t do this, you may be distracted and not offer proper help. Even worse, a caller can tell if you’re not listening, which leads to them feeling undervalued.
When a call comes in, practice active listen. Take notes, ask questions, and respond with affirmations that you’re listening. Remember, people don’t want to stay on the phone for long. They want to be done in the shortest time possible. Active listening can help you deal with concerns on the first attempt and conclude a call quickly.
Ask the Caller Before You Put Them on Hold
Putting a caller on hold immediately after answering the phone happens a lot. Businesses do this when swamped with calls, but nothing is more frustrating for customers! When you put someone on hold at the start of their call, you can guarantee you’re losing their business.
So, if you want to keep your customers, don’t put them on hold even before they talk to you. Follow the previously listed steps! Greet them with a positive message, ask how you can assist them, and if you need to consult before giving an answer, explain to them that you need to put them on hold to get more information.
If you’re to put the customer on hold for more than a minute check back with them periodically. This will ensure they don’t feel like you have forgotten about them. Another option would be to connect them with someone else if you are too busy to properly address their concerns. If you don’t handle this properly, they may just hang up and never call back!
End the Call Courteously
Whether you helped the caller with their issue or not, make time to end the call properly. Again, you should do this in a warm and polite manner. You want the customer to call you again for business, so how you finish the call will determine your future business.
Don’t be in a rush to get off the phone with them. Ask them if there is something else you can do for them. If they are satisfied, thank them for calling and wish them a good day. Let the customer hang up first.
Make the Best Call
Delivering a positive lasting phone experience is not rocket science. However, you never have a second opportunity to make a good first impression. So if you want to leave a good and lasting first impression on callers, you have to practice excellent phone etiquette.
Give your customers the attention they deserve on calls! If this sounds overwhelming or even impossible for your business, consider outsourcing your calls to a virtual receptionist like Nexa Receptionists. Our team is trained in multiple industries and displays professionalism and attentiveness at all times. To find out more about the excellent service Nexa Receptionists can offer to your customers, read on here.