In this day and age, with so much focus put on the overall customer experience, visual marketing and quality of your internet presence, it’s easy to forget about the real importance of phone manners. Phone calls are still an extremely crucial aspect of branding, marketing and sales. A less than great telephone experience can permanently damage the impression a potential or current client has for you, while a good experience can spread a lot of positivity. Follow these tips for better phone etiquette to have more positive interactions with your clients:
- Announce your name
Whether you are answering your phone or calling somebody else, be sure to announce your name either way so the person on the other end of the phone knows who they are speaking to right away. Also, be sure to use your full name, as using only your first or last name can sound a bit informal, especially when it’s a prospective customer that is contacting you and doesn’t really know you yet.
- Be aware of your speaking volume
Even though it’s good to have all of your attention focused on the person on the other end of the line, it’s important to not speak too quietly or loudly. Just make sure to stay aware of your own volume for the duration of the phone call.
- Always tell people when you have them on speaker
Chances are the person on the other end of the line will be able to tell their on speaker right away, so you should always tell them, especially if there is someone else on the room.
- Use a friendly tone
Have you ever tried answering the phone with a smile? That might sound silly since whoever is on the phone can’t see you, but it’s amazing what a difference it makes for your tone of voice. When you answer with a smile, the person on the other end of the phone will immediately notice the friendly and cheerful tone you’re using … and it will make a difference to them.
- Return phone calls as soon as possible
it’s never good to keep people waiting, especially because you never know what business each call could lead to. So be sure to return calls as soon as you possibly can; within an hour or two (at the latest) would be preferable. Even if someone from your office has to call them back,
- Don’t leave long voicemails
Leaving a short and straightforward message for someone is much better than dragging on and on in your message. Some people already find it a hassle to listen to their voicemails, so why would anyone want to listen to a 2 minute message? Keep it simple, speak clearly, let the person know why you called and leave your phone number for them to call you back.
- Only place people on hold when absolutely necessary
When it comes to putting people on hold, it’s usually better to just call them back but if you do need to put people on hold, make sure it’s not for much longer than 45 seconds at a time. And before you put them on hold, be sure to ask them if it’s okay and always thank them for their patience and cooperation.
- Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by other activities
Rustling papers, chewing gum, eating, working on the computer, trying to speak to someone else … these are all activities that are distracting for not only you, but for the person on the other end of the phone. If you do any of these things, they will immediately feel like you aren’t focused on what they’re saying and assume you don’t really care.
Bottom line … treat all of your callers with the respect they deserve, and the respect that you would expect if someone were calling you. Provide them with your undivided attention and try to make it as great of a phone experience as you can for whoever you’re talking to!