Making and taking phone calls is a critical component of your business’ daily function. How these calls are handled can impact your brand’s perception for better or worse. Whether you are a manager, business owner, or receptionist, these tips are for you.
Pick up between the 2nd and 3rd ring (The Elsmar Cove). The phone should not be allowed to ring more than 3 times if you can prevent it. Similarly, never answer on the 1st ring, as this is often startling to the caller.
Never answer the phone while eating, chewing, or drinking. This includes gum, cough drops, etc. Similarly, never answer the phone while coughing or laughing. It is better to let the call go to voicemail than to risk an unprofessional moment.
Before dialing, plan the call. Take a moment to write down the call’s objective, essential information you wish to convey, questions you wish to ask, etc. before starting the call.
Keep an eye on the clock. Never call a customer/client before 8am or after 9pm, unless they have stated otherwise. If possible, the best practice is to predetermine with the client which times work best for them to receive calls.
Be punctual! You want callers to respect your time, so you need to respect your client’s time. Call well within the appointed time frame and don’t go overtime. However, note that perception of punctuality varies across cultures (Business Insider).
Minimize distractions. Hush conversations, turn off or lower the music, and if possible, invest in a phone specifically designed to eliminate background noise. If you must, take the call in a separate room. Also resist the temptation to multitask.
Voicemail greetings shouldn’t be too long or too short. State your name and the name of the company so the caller knows they’ve reached the right place, and then state why you’re not available (if there’s a reason). Close by inviting them to leave a message and promising that you will return their call.
The same goes if you have a separate voice message for calls that come in after hours.If you find yourself receiving more calls/having to answer more messages than you have time for, professional message taking services or offsite receptionist services can be helpful. This is especially the case for legal professionals (Answering Legal Intake Services).
If your client doesn’t pick up, state your name, give you number, briefly explain why you’re calling, ask them to call you back, and then slowly repeat your contact information. Many people struggle with leaving a professional message, so it’s best practice to rehearse a possible message before dialing so you don’t have to make something up on the spot.
Don’t forget to act like the expert you are. Customers and clients want to know that the time they’re spending on the phone is worthwhile — especially if they’re paying you for the time. Avoid filler words, and instead of saying “I don’t know,” say “I’ll have to check that.” One of the best ways to deliver value to your clients on a phone call is by being prepared, authoritative, and firm (Luna Metrics).
BMOC wants to help you reach new levels of performance in your business management and operations. Call us today at 888-720-6996 to see how we can help you get measurable results in your organization.