A customer contacts your firm; their first impression of your corporation is typically made by the receptionist or representative. It is their job to uphold a professional appearance throughout the entirety of their job tasks. Answering the phone is just one of the many tasks in which they are assigned to, but it is the most important.
Some representatives are born with the natural talent to engage clients where it matters most. While others have to work a bit more to effortlessly come off as friendly and helpful. Here is a guideline of professional phone skills to help those strive at providing quality assistance.
1. Timely Manner
Whether it is a receptionist or virtual office assistant taking calls, it is important to always be on time and answer the call within the first two-to-three rings. A customer that calls and allows the phone to continuously ring is probably not going to leave a voicemail. This means that new business is potentially lost and your reliability has sunk. The more reliable the business, the better chance customers will use your services.
2. Be Polite
Every customer that calls is a VIP customer. You want to greet and assist the 1000th caller the same as you did with the very first client you ever spoke to; professionally and pleasantly.
The top five phrases, from 2014, that customers hope to hear from your company include:
- Let me take care of that for you.
- I’m not sure, but I’ll find out for you.
- I’m sorry.
- Thank you for contacting us. How can I help you?
- I see you’ve been a customer for many years. Thank you for your loyalty.
These are simple phases, but the reality of it is, your client is a human being and they should be treated as though their business matters to you.
3. Listen Carefully and Stay Organized
This skill is key to success. Clients do not call to get the run-around. Make sure to take detailed notes and practice active listening. Make sure to focus on what the caller is saying and determine what the best action is, whether it is to transfer the customer to another department or quickly assist right-then-and-there.
4. Communicate Effectively
Do not speak to quickly nor to slowly. Do not mumble; rather speak with confidence and clarity. Do not use slang words or company jargon. Adjust your tone and pitch to ensure that you are willing to help and serve this customer. As well, a skill that you can easily implement is to speak with enthusiasm and at a comfortable pace.
If you need clarification or are taking down important information, always take a moment to repeat what was indicated and verify if it was incorrect. This includes the phone number, address, credit card information, current issue and so on, depending on situation.
6. Rules of Hold
Before placing a customer on hold make sure to ask the customer for permission. If the client agrees to the hold, the customer is not meant to bewaiting for long, extended periods of time. In fact, if you are planning to have the client on hold for even more than 2 minutes, you should ask the customer if it is more convenient to call the customer back once you know more information. One minute can feel like forever, and a client’s time is precious; this is an important skill to always implement.
7. Thank you
A skill used in professional etiquette is to always thank the customer.
8. Best Face forward
Customers want to feel that they are welcomed. Put a smile on, even while on a phone. It is guaranteed that that small amount of positive energy will be transmitted through the phone line.
It is important to go above and beyond for a client regardless if it is on the phone or in person. Follow this guideline of professional phone skills to boost the customer experience. For further assistance in providing an outstanding first impression to your clients, contact us today for your free quote!