The way your company’s phone is answered sets the tone for each call.
Three of us from our company just had an opportunity to serve our local Chamber of Commerce by presenting a two-part seminar specifically for people that answer the phone as a major part of their job.
Our workshops were informational and interactive. Both sessions were very well received and the attendees appreciated the suggestions and instruction so I thought that perhaps a bit of a recap would be valuable here.
In the first session we presented on ‘Back to Basics’. In today’s business environment it is easy to become distracted from the main reason we have a job in the first place – our customers!!
We discussed the simple things like identifying yourself when you answer the phone, always making sure you are using a pleasant tone of voice and that you are not rushing the call. (Have you ever called a business and the receptionist was so rushed that you couldn’t understand the name of the company?) Having a high level of self-awareness is important…especially when speaking to someone on the phone. Let’s face it, we do the same thing all day long and, if not paying attention, our inflection and words could become very bored and convey an image that would not benefit the company.
Personalizing the call by using the caller’s name – and making sure you know how to spell it – always give a good impression and shows that you care about the caller and helping them.
Many times the person may be calling because they are having a problem. It’s OK to say you are sorry, but it should not be in the context of excuse making or blame-shifting. ‘I’m sorry that happened…’ is very different from ‘Well, it was raining that day so the situation was out of our control.’ or ‘I am so sorry – I have no idea why the tech would do something like that.’
Remaining pleasant and professional at all times will benefit you in the long run. Using a friendly tone will help you to get the caller on your ‘team’ and help to bring the call to an agreeable closure.
Make every attempt to move the call along to a positive ending. You may not be able to solve their problem in one phone call but you can make them feel ‘helped’ just by carefully choosing a few good phrases:
‘Thanks for bringing this to my attention…’ ‘Let me get some information so I can pass it along to my manager…’ ‘I will check on this and call you back before the end of the day.’
Make sure the caller is aware of where they stand before the call is ended:
‘Thanks for your order. You can expect delivery in 5 – 7 days.’ ‘I will research this issue and call you back by 3:00.’ ‘I will make sure my manager gets this information first thing tomorrow morning.’
If you are supposed to do something, make sure you do it and report back to them in the time frame you have given. If you do not have an answer or solution by that time, call them anyway to update them. They will appreciate knowing you have not forgotten them.
Great customer service over the phone: You can do it!
For more helpful hints about call processing, check back here – Did you ever hear of ‘call control’? Do you know how to use it? Stand by, we can help you!