In 2022, there has been a rise in automation and artificial intelligence relating to businesses and their handling of customers. However, if you run a smaller company or are based in a location that does not warrant such digital intervention, then you will probably still answer your customers’ queries the good old-fashioned way with a telephone.
Professional telephone communication is essential to ensuring that your customers not only return to you at a later date if they need you but also that they associate your business with being listened to and having all of their requirements met.
With this in mind, the following article will discuss how you can improve your business by upping your or your staff’s phone skills and etiquette to enhance your company and its customer service.
First things first, when you pick up the phone, or your staff does, the first impressions will influence the direction of the call. Any greeting should be professional and pleasant, as well as based on the time of day (a great example would be answering the phone with a simple yet polite ‘good morning, sir’, or ‘good afternoon, madam’) and then stating the business’s name.
What’s more, there is now even the option to have a telephone answering service do this for you, wherein you can personalise what it says to your customers. If you are a larger business with many customers phoning in regularly, this is a great way to keep your company sounding and acting professional over the phone without taking time and resources away from your busy staff members.
Most people have been in a situation where they have been calling a bank or other organisation only to have the phone ring and ring. You should always avoid placing customers on hold for a long period and aim to answer the phone by the second or third ring to reduce the caller’s frustration.
This is a simple etiquette skill, and it is being enhanced with the uptake of automation. If you don’t take on automation of answering phone calls, monitor the time of calls your business takes and respond quickly.
Silence is Golden
When you or your employees answer the telephone, interference or background noise will be off-putting. A call centre-based operation – or any business that receives phone calls, for that matter – should have a quiet environment that allows conversations to happen effectively and clearly over the phone.
If you have noise in the background due to ongoing remodelling, renovations, construction work or even loud daily company operations, for example, make sure that the customer is aware of this at the start of the call and be sure to apologise for any sound troubles and inconveniences.
Handle Conflict Logically
When you are talking to a customer that is unhappy with the services you have provided, you should aim to have your staff or yourself remove emotion from the call and speak in a calm and logical manner. This should happen while reassuring the customer that you want to resolve their complaint.
Check Needs Are Met
At the end of the call, don’t simply hang up the phone! Aim to ensure that the customers’ needs have been met during the duration of the phone conversation or that you have been able to refer them to somebody who is better equipped to handle their needs.
This will ensure that they feel satisfied with the call and will maximise your chances of getting a good review or recommendation from them.