Phone Etiquette 101
Most businesses are conducted over the phone. Inquiries and transactions are made through a simple phone call. The person taking and making the call must not only have good communication skills, but must also know the proper phone manners and etiquettes. Companies rely so much on phone interactions that in fact the success of a business depends on it.
Employees who are making and taking the call must be adequately trained as to the importance of observing proper phone manners and etiquettes. They should also show professionalism, and must exhibit expertise on the company’s products or services. They are considered the frontliners, most of the time, the first persons whom a client deals with. Since the first impression has a lasting impact, we must take extreme care in managing it properly.
The telephone is the lifeline of a company. The persons assigned to take and make the phone calls must always be courteous, well mannered and knowledgeable. Here are some useful tips that will help make your phone conversations successful:
• Never answer the phone while you’re eating something. Also, never do other things while you are on the phone—the person on the other line may think that you are not listening.
• Remove any background noise before taking or making a call. Lower down the volume of the radio or television, as this can be distracting.
• Be prepared. You have to have a pen and a paper on hand. Information usually requested should also be readily available —pricelists, specifications, etc. Being prepared adds confidence when taking a call.
• Answer phone calls in no more than three rings. Make the caller feel that his or her call is important. Do not let the caller wait longer, as he or she might drop the call.
• Identify yourself and your company. The caller should know who has taken the call. It adds a friendly and professional touch.
• Speak directly into the receiver, so that you will be heard loud and clear.
• Be patient. Never rush a call. Let the caller fully express his or her ideas, thoughts, etc. This would also avoid misunderstanding.
• Avoid transferring calls. However, if you have to, never make the caller repeat his or her stories. Know the right person who can handle the call, and tell that person the caller’s concerns.
• Maximum hold time should be 15 seconds. If you have to keep someone on hold longer, tell him that you will just call him or her back. Always ask permission before putting a caller on hold.
• If you dialled the wrong number, confirm the phone number, so you do not repeat the same error. Do not just hang up.
• When taking phone messages, get the following information: name of caller, company, date and time of call, message, phone number where he or she can be reached.
• Always end the call with pleasantries. Say “Thank you for calling,” or “It was nice talking with you.”
• Let the caller hang up first. This shows the caller that you are not in a hurry to get off the phone with him or her. If you have to be the first to hang up, gently put the phone down. Do not bang it, as this is rather rude.
• Know when to end the call. Be able to conclude the phone call without offending the caller. Still thank him for his time.
These are just some of the policies you should implement to improve how phone calls are handled. Remember that a phone ringing is sales knocking loud. It is a terrible waste to see potential and present buyers squandered by deficient phone manners. Investing time to train your staff proper phone skills is one of the best decisions you can make. It would be better if you can send your employees for training. BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider offers a seminar on Telephone Skills Training.
Click here to view details of the training program: Telephone Skills Training >>>
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.