So many business transactions take place over the phone. It is much more convenient for clients to place a phone call than setting up an in-person meeting.
Using the phone offers so many advantages. You can speak to others in real-time from anywhere in the world. This expedites business transactions and improves efficiency. However, when using the phone, you must use proper etiquette to ensure your clients get the best possible level of customer service.
Here are the ten most important business phone etiquette tips:
Tip #1: Answer the phone promptly
When clients call, they expect to receive prompt service. You should always ensure that your phone is answered immediately, within the first few rings. This shows your customers that they are valued and deserve your attention.
If you are away from your desk or are serving another customer and can’t answer the phone, make sure an answering machine will take messages for you. Another alternative is to use inbound call center services. These call centers will field and redirect your calls, saving your business lots of time.
Tip #2: Practice your phone introduction
How you answer the phone is very important. It gives crucial information to the person at the end of the line and sets the tone for the entire conversation. Be sure that you introduce yourself and your business and speak in an upbeat and cheery tone.
Tip #3: Smile when you talk on the phone
When you smile, your body language and tone of voice change. These changes can be heard through your conversation and make you sound happier and more inviting. A smile will also remind you to use a friendly vocabulary and accommodate your clients.
Tip #4: Minimize background noise
Background noise can be highly distracting for both yourself and your customers. It can cause messages to be confused, leading to a complete breakdown of communication. Whenever possible, eliminate all background noise and choose a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed to take your phone calls.
Tip #5: Keep your answering machine up-to-date
Setting up an answering machine is crucial if you aren’t available to answer your phone calls. This will allow your customers to leave a message. You must update your answering machine message daily. Include information like the date and whether you are in the office or away from your desk. You can also provide details on when customers can expect their messages returned.
Tip #6: Return business phone messages promptly
There is no point in keeping your answering machine current if you don’t plan on responding to messages promptly. Check for messages frequently throughout the day and call customers back as soon as possible.
Tip #7: Speak on the phone clearly and calmly
When speaking to clients on the phone, it is important to speak clearly and calmly. Speak slightly slower than you usually would to ensure that your message is correctly interpreted. Use a pleasant tone of voice and keep your emotions calm and level.
Tip #8: Take notes during the phone call
Before answering a call, always make sure you are prepared. Have a notepad and pen handy to take notes. Make it a regular habit to jot down the name of who you are speaking with, their phone number, and the issue that they are calling about. This will ensure you have all the information you need to call them back or resolve an issue.
Tip #9: Learn how to handle upset clients
In business, you will inevitably have to deal with upset clients. People will have complaints and concerns, and it is often the person who first answers their call that will get the brunt of their anger. You must always remain pleasant when handling these issues, and you take the time to listen to their complaints. Take notes and if you can’t provide a solution to their problem yourself, immediately pass their call to someone else who can.
Tip #10: Know how to use your phone
You may know how to answer your phone, but are you aware of using all of its features? You must know how to place calls on hold, transfer calls to different extensions, and initiate conference calls with multiple callers. There is nothing more frustrating than finally speaking with someone and being hung up on instead of being put on hold. Ensure that you can confidently use all of your phone’s features without the risk of mistakenly dropping a call in the process.
Proper phone etiquette is vital to the success of your business. Using the phone will be the primary mode of communication for many of your customers. Therefore, answering and using your phones properly is crucial to providing the best possible level of customer service.