Relax and survey this year’s small business climate over a cup of joe (and in plain terms)!
Phone Etiquette in a Digitized World
One call is all it takes to make or break your business. If you miss the first call, you aren’t prepared to answer questions, you sound rude or you take too long to return the call –you’re out! It’s so easy to miss out on good opportunities today in a society that expects immediate responses, positive and knowledgeable communication and an above-and-beyond kind of attitude. Your digital communication game needs to be on lock!
Lock it Down on the First Call
When answering the phone, identify yourself and your company.
If necessary or helpful, provide the customer with an extension number should you accidentally be disconnected.
Give the call your undivided attention; pick up on the little details like their name and call them by their proper name Mr. Brown or Mrs. Sanders.
If you have to disrupt a conversation, be sure to excuse yourself and ask them if it’s ok to put them on hold. If you need to put them on hold, do so professionally with a real hold system and not just setting the phone down to the side so they can hear everything going on in the background. This is a good opportunity to strengthen your branding with an automated message, promotions or even just pleasant music that reflects your company’s brand.
Be positive, speak clearly and slowly. Keep in mind that everything may be perfectly clear and understandable to you, but things may not be so clear for someone outside of your company. Don’t use slang or foul language unless that’s a part of your brand and never engage or snap back at irate customers.
Have a parent/child kind of attitude about this but not in a condescending way. Let them know that they are understood and you will do the best you can to handle the issue with what you have available to you.
Don’t let the phone ring more than 3 times but also don’t answer on the first ring. If you let the phone ring too long, they’ll hang up and may call your competition.
On the other hand, immediately answering is just creepy.
Common Sense Practices to Keep in Mind
- If you’re making a call, think about what you’re going to say before you make your call. If you’re caught off guard, never tell clients you don’t know something but that you’ll check on it.
- When returning a call, do so within the time frame previously mentioned to the client if any or at least in a timely manner. Show your customer that you are trustworthy and keep your word.
- When leaving a message, don’t forget to leave your name, company and call back number.
- Focus on the customer and on the call. Customers like feeling that they are worth your undivided attention.
Treat them with respect and show them they matter to you, you are honored they chose to do business with your company. For a more modern feel and more cohesive branding, check out virtual phone systems. A VoIP like MightyCall allows calls to be routed appropriately to the most knowledgeable employee or the first available. Customize your automated menu, hold music or promotional material as well as VIP and blacklists.