Monday 24 June, 2013
It's hard to know how we really come across on the 'other side' of a phone line. Here are 15 suggestions to make sure you're leaving a good business impression with your colleagues, clients and customers. Image source: Momlogic.com
- Answer with an introduction. There's nothing more awkward when the person you're calling simply picks up the phone. You're left to wonder if anyone is on the other end. Always introduce yourself and your business. For real customer service, thank the caller for phoning in the first place and ask them how you can help them.
- Return calls. Check your messages daily and return messages within 24 hours. If it will take longer than 24 hours, call the person and advise them with the delay.
- Always know and state the reason why you're calling. Don't blabber on; address the issue briefly and succinctly. If there is an issue or answers which need to be reached in great depth, always ask if it's a good time to call.
- If you leave a message, make it short and succinct. Remember to leave your contact details. Say who you are at the beginning of the voice message, not the end.
- When putting a caller on hold, always ask permission. They may have already been on hold for a long period and could just need the number for the best person to talk to.
- You can reply to a missed call with a text as long as you have a legitimate reason for doing so (i.e. you're on a train, a lift, a movie). Sending a text is a great way of indicating that yes, you saw the call, and you wanted to take it, but you just couldn't.
- Avoid having conversations in very public, quiet spaces. Outside in the street is fine because there the background noise will muffle your conversation. Restaurants, movies, airports, trains, buses and waiting rooms are not good places to take a call. Most people will understand the need for taking an urgent call. If this is the case, answer it by saying 'I'm on the train, can I call you back in five minutes' or 'Give me a minute while I try and find a better spot to speak with you' or 'Can you please send me a text/email instead'.
- No annoying ring tones. Generic ringtones were created for a reason '“ they're not overly annoying and they're not catchy.
- Remember 'please' and 'thank you'.
- Listen, don't interrupt.
- Respond to the caller by their name.
- If you told a person you would call at a certain time, call them as you promised. If you need to delay the conversation, call to postpone it, but do not make the other person wait around for your call.
- If the caller has reached a wrong number, be courteous. Sometimes a caller is transferred all over campus with a simple question and the caller gets frustrated. If possible, take the time to find out where they should be calling/to whom they should be speaking.
- If you're speaking about the caller, please, remember the hold button.
- When you are out of the office or away from your desk for more than a few minutes, forward your phone to voice mail.