8 Fundamentals of Professional Phone Etiquette

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Phone Etiquette

Managing a high customer calls volume is essential for any business looking to ensure client satisfaction and convert leads. So when a customer decides to give your business a ring, it goes without saying that your first contact point should treat callers courteously and with the correct professional etiquette.

By following this list of business phone etiquette, you can ensure a golden standard within your business for all to follow. Not only will this give your customer-facing team a  sense of professionalism, but it will promote a better customer experience resulting in more referrals and leads for your business.

1. Start the conversation with a warm introduction

Any phone communication, business or otherwise, should always start with a brief but courteous introduction to the recipient. By introducing yourself and the company, you’ve not only ensures the caller their in the right place but left an excellent first impression. Ensure everyone follows a similar formula when answering phones. Setting this standard gives returning callers confidence in your business. By allowing anyone working phones to have a confident and enthusiastic approach to all questions and inquiries.

Another essential tip when introducing yourself is not to jump into the issue or overwhelm the caller with questions right off the bat. Lead them to their call’s purpose by asking how you can help and then follow up questions relevant to their queries or complaints.

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2. Listen and be actively present

By actively listening to customer feedback, you not only acknowledge the problem but show empathy and understanding in response to it. Your customers will not only feel reassured that they are being looked after but will be more likely to offer valuable insights which are curial to improve your overall business services. For instance, if you receive many calls on the same issues, use them to create an FAQ or knowledge base. In essence, customer feedback will primarily affect the changes you make regarding customer experience and your overall business. To help facilitate this, ensure your call agents only provide information relevant to the problem at hand and psychically note down all feedback from the client.

3. Create a personal connection

As a business owner, you’re undoubtedly aware of how important word of mouth and testimonials are to your companies growth. However, to obtain positive referrals, meaningful connections with customers must be achieved first and can be done by ensuring a customer feels heard, valued, and validated.

In a virtual setting, connections can be formed by taking an interest in your customer’s life outside the business. Even just asking about their day can immediately make them feel more relaxed and understood. Once a customer feels they can trust and open up to a call agent, they are more likely to recommend their services to friends and give their feedback for testimonials and reviews.

4. Never interrupt the caller

Unless it’s urgent- your customer or potential prospects usually won’t reach out over the phone. That’s why it’s essential to prioritise these calls and ensure no disruptions, such as loud background noise or poor connection quality, occur on your end.  Of course, interruptions do happen, and if that’s the case, then politely apologise and let them continue.

5. Make sure your response is prompt and concise

Relevant, prompt, and easy to understand answers are key to good communication, especially in a business setting. With today’s high paced environment, you’ll likely need to make every second of your call count and not waste your time or your customers. By no means should you skip the pleasantries, but be prepared before you even answer the phone.

As part of efficient customer service, call operators should be briefed on common problems and share relevant solutions and templates in a database to respond to clients more concisely and promptly. By reducing hold times, you’ll not only keep customer happy but strengthen the credibility of your service.

6. Know how to handle angry customers

Often the most challenging part of the job is to deal with frustrated or irate customers who come out of the gate yelling. While it may be our first instinct to start yelling back, you should always remain polite and level when speaking with an angry client. Often customers can change their tune once they’ve been listened to and have heard an apology.

While this may not always be the case, the first step should be to remain calm and deescalate the situation.

7. Reduce hold times

We touched on this a little in point five with keeping responses concise as customers don’t like to be kept waiting.  As you can probably imagine, the fastest way to lose customers is to keep them on hold. Now, how long is considered to be too long? Most customers will only stay waiting for up to 30 seconds.

While that might seem unrealistic, these days, where another service is just another Google result down, people don’t have the patience to wait around on hold. That’s why part of your professional phone etiquette should include hold times. Even though hold times are unavoidable, outsourcing a highly-trained business call answering service can help take customer calls during high traffic hours. Another tip is to encourage your team to use status and out of office messages, so call operators to know who is free to talk immediately.

8. End the conversation in a proper manner

No matter what the conversation is about, be sure to conclude the discussion and leave customers on a positive note. Whether it’s thanking them for their time or ensuring you’ll be in touch shortly, it’s good to acknowledge the time taken to have the conversation or assure customers that you’ll be in touch. By following this small piece of phone ending etiquette, you can expect a lasting impression among the customers. It’s also good practice when taking requests or offering support to briefly summarise your conversation to ensure nothing has been missed and encourage them to reach out if they face any further problems.

Author Bio:

Starc Maxwell is a freelance writer, social media marketer and independent blogger who writes  about automotive, sustainability, finance, and home improvement. Aspires to become a professional writer and make a difference in society and the world we live in. I am always enthusiastic about promoting small business sites like www.callservice.com.au