How to Answer the Phone (without ruining your business!)
Are you presenting the best face for your company every time you answer the phone? They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but how many of us make judgements about businesses by the way they present themselves and by the way they answer the telephone? (I know I do). Every time you pick up the phone, you have a few seconds to make a good impression. Because answering the telephone is a seemingly a simple task, few small and medium businesses put as much thought into their telephone-answering techniques as they should.
Here are our tips on how to get your telephone conversation off to the best start:
When I call a company the last thing I want is to talk to someone who is down in the dumps, or has no interest in my call. I want to talk to someone who sounds positive, who is actively engaged and is interested in what I have to say. Adjust your attitude to one of positivity before picking up the phone. And smile, it will come across!
2. Be prepared before you answer the telephone
Have a pen and paper near your telephone so you can write down important information i.e. name, time of call, request / order / query etc. Also, when speaking to them, use their name during the conversation, but don’t overdo it.
3. Answer the phone in as few rings as possible
No one likes to be forced to wait. Answering quickly shows the caller, who is more than likely a customer or prospective customer, that your company is efficient. It also lets the caller know that their call is important.
4. Make sure your greeting is professional
It is important that your greeting is friendly and professional. Consistency is the name of the game here. Your greeting may include:
- “Hello”, “good morning”, “good afternoon” or “thanks for calling”
- The company name, your name, or both.
- And a question, “How can I help?”, “How can I direct your call?” or “How may I help you today?” etc
For example, you could use: “Good afternoon, you are through to Callmetrics, Niamh speaking; how may I help you?” . This is a strong standard opening for small businesses.
5. Don’t be distracted, give them your full attention
Do not be in any doubt that callers pick up the fact that you are eating, writing an email, doodling, half listening in to another (perhaps more interesting) conversation in your office. By not giving them your full attention this immediately damages your reputation with your potential customer. Prioritise the customer. Put down all distractions before picking up the phone.
6. Ask before putting someone on hold and wait for his or her response.
No one actually likes listening to on-hold music! I do think that there is a tendency for time to go very slowly when you are on hold and, callers presume they have been on hold for twice as long as they really have. Taking them off hold as soon as possible can greatly minimize the possibility of having an irate caller on the phone when you do come back! Communication is key.
7. Tracking and Monitoring
Now that we have given you some tips on how best to answer the phone and get off to the best start possible, it’s time we talked about the next step: gauging how effective your people are on the phone to your customers.
Here at Callmetrics we provide our customers with a few tools on how to do this:
- Call Recording (link to: http://callmetrics.com/call-recording/)
Consider recording and listening back to telephone calls on a weekly or monthly basis. Listen out for when one of your team handles something well, or makes a connection to a customer, and highlight this to your team. You also should be able to provide guidelines and examples to your team on how to approach problematic customers, and ways to do a better job at forming that all-important instant connection with everyone who calls you.
For further information on our call recording product please see – http://callmetrics.com/call-recording/
- Call Duration
What’s the perfect length of a sales call? Depending on the products or services you offer this can vary. Part of the sales process is building rapport with prospective customers. Measure the average call duration of your entire sales team, then you can compare call duration times between Sales Reps meeting targets and those that are not. This will help you to pinpoint why underperforming sales reps are not hitting their targets. Are they not spending enough time on each call, or are they are spending too much time? According to insightsquared.com “Tracking the duration of the sales calls made by your outbound prospecting team can provide clarity and actionable insights on how well they are doing on the phones. It is an absolutely critical sales metric for managers to track.”
By implementing one or more of these monitoring techniques your team will know you are serious about the way they speak to customers, which hopefully will keep them on target for being customer focused all year-round.
Still have more questions on how to answer the phone properly? Or do you want to find out more about Step 7: tracking and monitoring? Leave your questions below & we will get back to you! Alternatively feel free to ring us for further information on 1890 917 719 or 046 9046 046.
‘what gets measured can be managed’