Posted: Thu 26th Sep 2013
For many customers, a phone call is the first impression they have of your business. It could also be the only chance you have to make an impression. For this reason, make sure your calls are answered quickly. A customer will start to get annoyed after more than three rings, and you don't want to keep them on hold for more than ten seconds. Pick up your business phone with a sense of urgency. (Ed. note: If you're busy, a digital receptionist, like Penelope can help!)
Smiles really can be heard through the phone. Unfortunately, so can frowns, bad days, and bad attitudes. Though it may be repetitive, it's important to answer the phone in a cheerful, upbeat way every time. Also remember to introduce yourself and the business. Introducing yourself makes callers more comfortable, and introducing the business reassures callers that they've reached the right place.
Make sure to ask callers how you can help. Picking up with an introduction and waiting for the caller to offer up their needs is awkward and unhelpful.Â Instead, make sure you ask how you can help off the bat. Also, the person the caller requests to speak with is often unavailable. Instead of refusing a caller's service, instruct any individual who answers the phone to say "Is there something that I could help you with?" Also, asking the caller questions establishes trust that someone is actually listening to them and trying to help, and it can also help get to the root of what the caller needs.
If your company is in a service industry and needs to book appointments, make sure you request the appointment instead of waiting for callers to offer it up. When asking for an appointment, provide two times of availability to increase the likelihood that a caller agrees to one.
The most important thing to remember before hanging up the phone is to repeat important information. If a sale was made, repeat the order. If an appointment was booked, repeat the date and time, and also give directions to your shop or office if necessary.
What are your tips for answering the phone in your business?
When you call other businesses, what do you think could be improved?
If you work from home, do you have two phone lines?
Let us know in the comments