Implement these 7 phone etiquette fundamentals to deliver a great customer experience.
The telephone is the first touch point people have with most organizations. Even with the advances in technology, people prefer speaking with a live person to get answers or support. Businesses should not overlook who and how phone calls are being answered. Poor phone etiquette at work could have a negative impact on the business. Technology allows people to share their experiences quickly with incredible reach when they use social media and other tools on the internet. For this reason, every phone interaction is critical.
This article outlines 7 fundamentals of professional phone etiquette your employees need to practice.
Every phone ring is equal to six seconds. Imagine if you let the phone ring five to six times. Most people will not wait that long and in turn, it could create a negative experience for the person speaking to your business. It is recommended to answer a call on the second or third ring. Also, experience has shown that if you answer the call to quickly, people tend to be caught off guard which makes for an uncomfortable start to the conversation. If your staff is unable to answer the phone in time, you can set up an overflow call forwarding system to a live answering service to answer your calls in a timely manner.
How an employee interacts with a caller is everything. The tone and demeanor of staff will reflect their attitude. A positive attitude is fundamental to delivering a positive outcome. If an employee comes across as uninterested or rude, this can lead to a negative experience.
People work hard days and talk with many people. Remain polite and calm on every call. The goal of the call is to satisfy the needs of the caller and leaving them feeling good about your company.
A business can receive tens to thousands of calls every day. Each call gives your company the opportunity to build a stronger connection with current and potential clients. Start your call with a positive greeting such as “Good Morning”, “Good Afternoon”, or “Hello” followed by a personal introduction with your name and organization. Asking for and using their name will also help in building a stronger personal connection.
All communication should be clear and professional. Unclear communication makes for a rocky conversation. Some organizations use a telephone script for customer service. From our experience, scripts tend to limit the ability to have spontaneous conversations that can build stronger relationships. It is possible that you won’t know all the answers, instead of saying you “don’t know”, tell them you will “check into it.” Also, using vulgar or rude language is not acceptable. No matter how a caller speaks, an employee must remain professional always.
If we talk more and listen less, it becomes more difficult to meet expectations. To understand the needs of another requires that we listen. We need to allow the caller to express their need. If there is any uncertainty, we can engage the caller to better understand their request. You should not talk over the caller under any circumstances. We have found that remaining calm and asking questions will show callers you are listening and you care about what they say.
The staff has to give 100% of their attention to the caller. Eliminate background noise and any other distractions around them. These distractions can keep the employee from being fully engaged. When managing calls, it is typically required to enter call details into a system. Distractions could cause inaccurate data entry which could lead a series of problems.
The purpose of managing calls is assisting callers with their needs. Remember, each call is an opportunity to build a relationship. We can do this by being helpful and working to deliver a positive result. If we simply push people off the phone and provide no help, we lose a chance to build deeper ties with them.
Being helpful also involves what the caller does not hear. It is also about your actions. For example, when taking messages, it is important to have accurate information and deliver the message to the right person. Another common mistake is when transferring calls. Some organizations will simply transfer the call without knowing if someone will pick up. Leaving the caller to voice mail or worse, a busy tone. Professional phone etiquette requires that you first confirm the person is available that you are transferring the call to. If they are, you connect the call, introduce the caller to the other staff member, then politely say goodbye, and disconnect from the call. If the person is not available, you can let them know and take a message if they like.
Following professional phone etiquette, you want to confirm that you have helped the caller with everything they needed. There are instances where requests cannot be met, and it’s important to communicate why. During these situations, it is important to remain warm and good-mannered. We have found it to be helpful for both parties if you confirm their request, and then confirm the solution you provided.
What needs to be clear is the role professional phone etiquette plays in your organization. Like any communication channel, the phone can be used to create a positive and lasting relationship. Every call is a positive experience waiting to happen. Spend time with staff to make sure they understand the importance business telephone etiquette plays. Follow through on making sure customers are receiving the experience they deserve. Finally, enjoy the rewards of using these telephone etiquette tips.
Unicom has been a top answering service located in Chicago, Illinois. Our professional live agents are available 24 / 7 / 365. We never close. For 25 years, Unicom has worked with companies large and small to discuss their needs. To understand their processes allows us to determine how we can deliver value.
With Unicom, simply request an answering service quote. Together we can determine if there is a good fit to manage patient phone calls.