Is your phone presence too casual for business? According to a study by RightNow, 82% of people said that they have stopped doing business with a company because of poor experience. Plus 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. Give your small business a more professional image by following proper phone etiquette. At Apollo Answering Service, we are experts on talking on the phone. We do it thousands of times per day! There are a few easy ways to impress when you’re answering the phone.
Answering the Phone with a Smile
Did Bob from accounts just spill coffee all over the report that you were working on into the wee hours last night? Are you getting too many calls at once? Perhaps you just stubbed your toe on one of the wheels of your chair. If you answer the phone in any of these moments your frustration will likely come through loud and clear to the person on the other end.
Before you answer the phone, take a moment to pull yourself together. Breathe, then smile, before you pick up. I know it sounds silly, but it helps. Studies have shown that smiling affects your mood. If you are actually smiling when you are on the phone, it completely changes your tone.
Try it! Smile and say “Good Morning!” See? It’s not easy to sound angry with a smile on your face.
Keep your Voice Low
For some reason, many people have a tendency to speak louder when they are on the phone. Think about a time you have noticed yourself doing it. What about that that time you ran into the coffee shop for a delicious drink, and the guy behind you was just screaming into his phone? I’m sure you can think of a time in which someone publicly was on their phone, completely ruining the vibe.
Pull the reins back a little. You don’t need to scream for the person you are talking to to hear you. When you scream it actually makes it harder for someone to understand you. Their tone gets muffled. This happens even more frequently with the elderly and those who have experienced hearing loss. When people yell into the phone, I never have any idea what is being said. You don’t want your customers missing out on information.
Try to moderate your pitch and speed. We have a tendency to speak faster and louder on the phone than we would in normal conversation. You don’t need to project your voice to be heard clearly on the phone. Also try and speak calmly and at a steady speed. This will help you begin to sound like a business professional.
Say it Simply
Greet the caller with Good Morning or Good Afternoon, whichever is appropriate. Then, state then name of your company or the department and tell the caller who they are speaking to. Mentioning the name of the company helps the caller know that they have called the right place and establishes a professional tone. Providing the caller with your name makes the experience feel more personal. Follow up this by asking the caller how you can help them.
The Sweetest Sound
Dale Carnegie said the sweetest sound in the world is one’s own name. It is important that you remember the name of the person that you are talking to and that you use it during the phone conversation. If they don’t provide their name at the start of the call, ask for it. Use phrases such as “May I have your name please?” or “Who am I speaking with?” Repeat the name back to them so that you remember it. Unless you are already on familiar terms with the caller, use their last name and a formal address. For example: Mr. Clark or Ms. Smith.
Get The Spelling Right
When you are told their name, you want to confirm the spelling of the name. While it may not matter when you are talking over the phone it may make a difference later on. “Katherine” with a K, may become offended if she receives an email addressed to Catherine with a C.
Putting Callers On Hold
If there is a question that you don’t know how to answer say “Let me find out the answer to that. Can you hold one moment please while I look it up?.” This is much more professional than simply saying “I don’t know” or “I can’t help you with that”. If you need to put someone on hold ask their permission first. Then when they agree, thank them.
Don’t Miss Out On Sales
Keep in mind that just because you aren’t in the office doesn’t mean that customers won’t call. Many customers will only be able to call when they aren’t at work. If you only answer your phone from 9 – 5, then you are almost certainly missing out on sales. What’s worse, you can guarantee the next person that this person is going to call is your competitor. If you want to make sure that you receive all of your phone calls and have them answered in a professional manner, then why not use a call answering service?
Apply this to your small business
Answering the phone professionally is crucial to maintaining a positive reputation for your business. If you think people don’t notice when someone answers the phone asking “What’s up?” you’re mistaken. It takes only a little extra effort to come across as warm, friendly, yet still business-oriented when speaking on the phone.
Now, give this a try:
Memorize these easy tips!
- Answer with a smile
- Don’t speak too loudly
- Don’t speak too quickly
- Speak in simple terms
- Use the caller’s name, then spell it correctly when written
- Ask permission before placing someone on hold
- Always have someone to answer the call, even when you’re unavailable