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Answering the Call

Wednesday, May 01, 2013   By Mike Reddy

 



In this digital world it is easy to let phone etiquette slip through the cracks…phones? They're always with us and often ring at the most inconvenient of times.

So it makes sense to have a system in place to convert those calls into sales.

And a voice through the phone can be almost as effective as an in-person meeting and can never be replaced by an email or text.

Train your team to focus on their telephone manner and watch this underutilised skill pull in the results.

Start with a smile. No, literally! Putting on a smile before answering the phone automatically changes the tone of the voice and avoids sounding grumpy or too busy from the get-go.

Make it a mission to answer ON the second ring. Challenge your team members, create an incentive to have them push harder to get to the phone faster.

The customer will feel important to the business (which they are), starting things off on a positive note.

Give an immediate timely greeting (good morning, afternoon, etc.) and introduction. Letting the customer know immediately that they have reached the person/place they are looking for creates the right dynamic for a positive interaction.

Provide your full name, each and every time. It creates a sense of authority. "First name, speaking" suggests there may be someone else the caller would like to speak to. The caller can clearly hear you are speaking, they don't need to be reminded that you are.

Be pleasant, engage in the obligatory small talk when necessary but always try to keep things brief (without sounding impatient). Brevity combined with politeness is most effective in showing the customer their time is valuable.

Think before shooting off an automatic response. If the person the caller is after is not in, ask if there is something you can do in the meantime.

"X is out to lunch, X is on holiday and can I take a message" are not useful responses for your customer, who most likely expects their needs to be addressed immediately.

End the call by offering additional help or information. Asking if there is anything else you can do or offering a solid means of follow-up implies that the listener has been attentive, knowledgeable and reliable - Reflecting your brand.

By Mike Reddy, Business Coach


Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.