This post follows on from our earlier blog, ‘How to make a great first impression’, where we talked about using the features on your Internet phone service to make a great impression. Below we’ve compiled some simple tips on how you and your employees can handle business phone calls more professionally.
1. Create a friendly greeting everyone can use
It’s best to answer the phone in a friendly manner. We like to use the line “Thank you for calling Sipcentric, Kevin speaking, how can I help?”
Pick up the call with the face you wish to project to the caller, as they will hear that emotion in your voice. Keep the tone friendly and personable to make it as pleasant as possible for anyone calling.
2. Listen to the caller
Nothing annoys callers more than not being listened to. When they ring up with problems or queries be sure to give them a chance to fully explain why they’re calling before you respond. Failing to listen to the caller properly could lead to them having to repeat information, creating a bad impression, potentially annoying the customer, and possibly even losing you business.
Don’t interrupt callers; always let them finish what they are saying. They could forget to mention important details if interrupted, which could have a negative impact on the experience.
It’s handy to have a pen and paper in case you need to make any quick notes, allowing you to refer back to them during the call if necessary. Summarise any key points at the end of the call to show that you’ve been listening, and inform the customer of any actions you will be taking as a result of the call.
3. Find out their name
A person’s name is very important to them; it’s intimately tied to their individual identity. Find out the caller’s name and use it when appropriate. Sometimes however a caller may wish to remain anonymous (to reduce the possibility of sales calls) but in most cases they’re willing to at least share their name.
4. Build up a rapport with loyal contacts
Over time it’s worth taking a more personal approach to loyal customers to build up a relationship. This will strengthen the bond between the company and the customer, and hopefully lead to a more secure long-standing business relationship.
5. Learn your phone system’s features
Learning about your business VoIP solution’s features can help to control calls with more efficiency, and help deliver callers to the right destination. For example, cutting calls off when transferring looks unprofessional and causes an inconvenience to the caller. Learning how to do transfers, place callers on hold, mute calls, and various other options can help make the call flow seamless for the customer and provide a more professional experience.
6. Keep promises
If you make a promise to a customer, make sure you stick to it. If you tell the customer you’ll give them a call back within 10 minutes, then call them back within the allotted time. Even if the problem isn’t fully resolved yet, calling them to give them an update means you have stuck to what you said, and gives satisfaction to the customer. If you say you’ll drop them an email within the next hour then make sure you do so. If a customer doesn’t get the promised results from the call they will start to build a negative impression of your company.
As you can see it doesn’t require much to handle calls professionally, but the benefits associated with doing so can help build relationships which inevitably leads to increased sales and repeat business.