One of the critical ingredient to making a positive first impression for a business is Telephone etiquette. It is very important that anyone with access to your clients by phone -be it the receptionist or the security guard, know and practice professional courtesy. Make no assumptions, not everyone has appropriate manners. Whoever answers your phone represents the entire organization and its philosophy about customer service.
Proper telephone etiquette is an important facet of communication since it not only represents the employee but also the department and company they work for. It is capable of leaving the respondents with a favorable impression of a company thus improving the customer service experience or ruin its reputation.
A friendly and professional customer agent with impeccable telephone etiquette can immediately create an impression in the caller’s mind of an efficient customer service oriented professional company. This is why training the employees about proper telephone etiquette is one way to insure consistency and professionalism in a company.
Not everyone is born with a perfect speaking manner, tone or pitch, fortunately telephone etiquette is a skill that can be easily be acquired with the right motivation and training. The following are some suggestions on proper telephone etiquette that companies who value their corporate image can use to train their employees.
Answer the Phone Promptly
All calls to the company should be answered between the first and third ring. We live in a world of instant expectations. If you don’t answer the phone immediately, people assume that you are either closed for the day, out of business or simply provide poor service. Answer the phone as soon as it rings, and enhance your customers brand satisfaction.
Identify yourself immediately.
One of the top complaints about telephone etiquette the world over is that people fail to give their name immediately after they pick the call. Whether you are placing or receiving a call, identify yourself right away. People never want to guess who their caller is or be put in the awkward position of having to ask.
Facilitate smooth Call transfers
Most of us cringe when someone says, “Let me transfer your call.” We get visions of being passed around from person to person, each feigning being busy to avoid answering. Sometimes we get transferred too much that we end up telling our story over and over again before finding someone who can help. If you need to transfer a call, proper telephone etiquette demands that you ask the caller to hold while you confirm that you are sending the call to the right person and that that person is indeed available.
Be courteous with the Hold Key
In most telephone surveys, people rank being put on hold as their biggest frustration. Consider asking your callers’ permission before placing them on hold and wait to hear their reply. Answering the phone with a “hold, please” and immediately hitting the hold key is poor telephone etiquette and only serves to irritate the caller.
Answer with a smile
Even if you aren’t feeling cheery, your callers don’t need to know. A smile can change the entire tone of your voice and is audibly noticeable over the phone. The same way you would smile if the customer was standing in front of you- despite having a tiresome day— smile on the phone. In telephone etiquette, Fake it if you have to, but still do it. It just might be what gives your company an edge over your competitors.
Be prepared with pen and paper.
Telephone etiquette is not only about speaking.Sometimes an Employee may have to take a long information from a customer. Clearly we can’t rely on our memories to remember the details of such long messages so a pen and paper is necessary. People are not impressed when you have to search for pencil and paper. It gives the negative impression that If your customer service agents aren’t prepared to take information, perhaps your company isn’t prepared to do business.