For a business owner, professional conduct should feel as natural as breathing. After all, customers and colleagues alike appreciate professional treatment and an empathetic listener. This is no less true when your job involves answering telephones rather than interacting face-to-face with customers.
Professional Phone Call Etiquette
While certain parts of professional conduct translate well to phone conversations, some require a bit more work. The generally agreed-upon rules for phone calls tend to incorporate both phone-specific guidelines and more general rules for professional behavior. Here’s what your customers expect when they give you a call:
- Immediate attention
- Clear speech
- Attentive listening
- Honesty and straightforward answers
- Timely follow-up responses
1) Immediate Attention
Never keep a customer waiting! Answer the call within three rings and introduce yourself immediately. Show the customer that their call is your priority and you’re here to help them.
Pro Tip: Customers are taking time out of their busy days to call you. Give them the same courtesy and grant them your full attention when you answer the phone.
2) Clear Speech
If you’ve ever been in a phone call where the person on the other end mumbled and spoke too quietly, you understand how important it is to speak clearly on the phone. Make sure the caller can understand every word you say. If you do have to repeat yourself, do so clearly and without irritation. The goal is to be understood, not to speak however makes you feel good.
3) Attentive Listening
Pay attention to what the customer is saying, take notes if you can, and try to avoid distractions. Don’t leave a TV or loud music playing while you take a call, for instance. Prioritize the caller. Not only does this demonstrate respect for them, but it also helps you keep up with their questions and how you can best help them.
4) Honesty and Straightforward Answers
If you need to put a customer on hold or call over a supervisor, let the caller know. If you don’t know the answer to a question, let them know. It’s better to have a customer irritated at a slight delay than a misinformed customer having even more trouble later on. Be honest and upfront about your answers or knowledge of how to help. If you don’t know the answer, get someone who does.
5) Timely Follow-Up Responses
Before you start taking calls or calling other customers, begin by checking the voicemail box for any new messages to respond to first. Customers will appreciate a prompt response. Additionally, make sure to follow up with other requests and complaints as quickly as possible. The less time they spend waiting for a response, the happier your customers will be.
Professional Conduct on the Phone
A staggering amount of customer interactions now take place over the phone for many businesses. Whether they’ve called you or come to visit your location, customers expect the same professional treatment and help. Making sure you can offer them the professional phone call etiquette they expect will help you maintain a good reputation and boost your business’s ultimate success.
Connect with us to learn more about telephone etiquette and its impact on customer relations.