If you answer the phone regularly, this can become even more difficult. You may be on several calls at once, and it is easy to get short with a caller if you feel that you have left another caller on hold for too long. Or, you may have just finished a call with a rude customer – how do you keep that out of your voice when you answer the next call? Here are some tips that we find helpful in order to maintain a friendly and professional voice at all times.
Have An Answering Script That You Follow Every Call
As an answering service, this is easy for us since we answer for many businesses. Each has its own greeting script that we follow in order to make sure that we answer the way that our client wants us to. However, a happy byproduct of this is that we are able to think about what we are going to say before we pick up. This allows us to focus on putting a smile into our voice (as our supervisors always say!). If we had to think about what we were going to say each time, it would be much more difficult to think about our tone of voice.
So how can this help you if you are only answering for your own business? Have a script that you follow. Answer the phone the same every time. Maybe something like, “Thanks for calling Super Fast Plumbing, this is John, how can I help you?” You will be amazed at how much easier it is to answer the phone professionally when you have a script.
Don’t Talk Too Fast (Or Too Slow)
Pace is another issue that callers may find off putting. If you speak too fast you can be hard to understand or come across as rude. Speak too slow and people can feel like you are wasting their time. We prefer to speak at a normal pace and allow the caller to dictate how much small talk we will be engaging in (to a point!). If a caller jumps right in with a question, we will answer it quickly because they are making it clear that they would prefer to get off of the phone quickly. If a client starts with some small talk, we will politely engage with them for a short time before moving the conversation politely towards the reason for the call. This is an art form, but you do not want to make callers feel like they are a nuisance or that you do not have time for them, but you also cannot afford to spend too much time talking to each caller.
Again, this is a bit easier for us as we have a computer program that allows us to take notes as the conversation is going and then to send those notes as a message to our clients. However, just because you don’t have a fancy computer program that forces you to take notes does not mean that it is not a great idea. Keep a notebook by your phone at all times and take notes during your conversation. This will allow you to follow up on any issues at a later date and if you have things in writing (with a date on it) it is much more believable if a dispute ever comes up.
These are just a few of the things that help us to take excellent care of our clients’ callers, and they are easy things that you can take into your own business and really change the first impression that you make over the phone.