Have you ever called a company and had a rude person answer the phone? They say first impressions are important. With that in mind, always remember that the phone is often the first contact most people have with any business, so making a good impression is vital.
Here are our top tips to help you project a professional and friendly company.
1) Create a company policy on how to pick up incoming calls. That way if we all agree, incoming callers know who they’ve reach by your opening line.
I favour “Good morning/afternoon. This is Phone systems Toronto. Michelle (or whoever) speaking and leave it at that. If you must add something then “How may I help you?”
Personally I dislike the commonly used phrase “What can we do for you today?” because it makes a reply difficult – my most usual reply is “You can put me through to Fred (or whoever I’m trying to speak to)”.
2) Smile when you pick up the phone. Believe it or the not, the person on the receiving end can sense your cheery disposition.
3) If a caller is waiting, keep checking in on them and ask whether they are okay to wait. This makes them feel important and that you are looking out for them, so being kept on hold isn’t so painful.
4) A little recognition doesn’t hurt, so acknowledge them if you know them. It gives that personal touch.
5) Remember that old adage the customer is always right? Well they are! So try and deal with difficult callers courteously even if you want to join them in a rebuttal match. Of course this doesn’t mean that you are required to tolerate intimidating or offensive language. If people use offensive or intimidating language then it is appropriate to warn them that you will disconnect the line if they carry on (and to do so).
Most companies will have a policy allowing you to resolve the complaint if you can even if there is some small cost to the company. If you cannot resolve the complaint then you can at least offer to get someone to call the complainer back – but make sure they return the call.
6) Another important purchase is a phone system that allows everyone to answer the calls directly. A good idea is everyone should have their own phone number (otherwise known as a DID)
7) Learn how to use your phone system’s features smoothly. No one wants to be hung up on, especially if it was unintentional so ensure your staff know how to work all the necessary features like transferring a call.
One of the best solutions I have found in business is to work with an interconnect company that can service the phone system, program the phone system. Set up the phone, so that if they can’t take the call, then the system should allow a colleague to answer – you can use call cascading or have multiple phones ring at once.
o put people in queue until answered (though most people hate this)
o work with a live answering service so that another company answers the call on your behalf in your name. Cloud Net provides an excellent service with no subscription
o set up a voicemail service which allows people to leave a message – say you will get back to people (people don’t like this either)