One of the more important aspects of running a small business is of course customer service. And one of the primary activities related to customer service: talking on the phone. That said, you would be surprised at how many business owners aren’t aware of how their team is interacting with clients during phone calls. Anyone who is assigned to deal directly with customers via phone needs to be trained. It is not simply a given that they will automatically know what to say, how to engage, and how to handle tougher phone-related exchanges.
Very often, a client is getting their first impression of your brand by phone contact; if this goes badly, needless to say, they probably are not going to become a regular customer. Good communication is pivotal; consistency as far as phone interactions are also key. Below are a few tips for instilling proper phone etiquette practices in your team members.
Always maintain consistency
When answering the phone, they should have a practiced opening down, one that everyone uses when speaking to a customer. Keep it short and simple but also make certain that the person is identifying your company so that the caller knows they got the right number.
Do not interrupt
Even if a customer is calling to complain, allow them to have their say. Your staff should listen to what the caller says in its entirety before taking action or responding. If it is a more serious problem, odds are they may hand the call off eventually, but in the beginning, they should always be prepared to listen to everything the customer wants to get off their chest.
Use the hold button
Many people simply put the phone down or hold it to their chest—this is not the most professional way to handle it. The hold button is important. Make sure everyone understands precisely how to use the office phone system to this end.
Keep customers informed
In other words, your staff should clearly outline what they are doing, the actions that are being taken, and approximately how long it may take to resolve an issue. This way when things do get done quickly, the customer is quite satisfied.
This may seem an odd tip given that you are on the phone after all, however, research shows that people can detect a smile in someone’s voice. You want your team to approach calls with a happy demeanor, and yes, a smile on their face. This sets the caller at ease and simply makes for an all-around pleasant experience. Even if there is tension, smiles have a way of diffusing things.
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