Is every call different? Yes!
If it’s your mom calling, you may begin with something like, “Hi mom, how are you doing?”
If it’s your friend, probably you may answer with, “Yo, buddy! What’s up?”.
When you get a call directly from your manager, I guess you may say something more like, “Yes ma’am?”
In our everyday lives, we don’t follow any particular rules or tips on how to take calls. However, if you are working in customer support, you know that answering phone calls is the bread and butter of your job. And, it may seem obvious to simply answer the phone and say “Hello?”, but, answering professional phone calls isn’t that easy.
Professional telephone communication includes greeting your customers in a polite tone, listening to their concerns and conveying your message in a clear way. Therefore, you need excellent phone etiquettes. Telephone etiquette improves the customer experience and builds your company’s reliability of having high customer service standards.
Telephone Etiquette Tips
#1 Greet Respectfully
A friendly greeting always helps to lighten the communication. Customers feel welcome and are more likely to open up about what the exact issue is with a calm tone. Make sure your greeting is professional and pleasing to the caller. Begin by greeting the caller based on the time of the day.
Moreover, your greeting has to be audible and clear, while not being too loud. Your voice has to be soft and warm while answering the call.
#2 Be Polite
Call center agents should always treat every caller with courtesy. They should ask the customer how they wish to be addressed and make an effort to pronounce their name correctly.
Also, representatives should talk with energy, smile, remain friendly and use pleasantries. They should use polite and kind words and phrases. Always remember, they can hear you smile.
Being polite on the call with customers can go a long way to assuring the interaction is as pleasant as possible.
#3 Answer the Call Within Three Rings
Time has a major influence, every call should be answered within three rings.
When you don’t answer the call promptly, customers assume that you are either closed for the day, out of business or simply give poor service.
Three rings is a universal number for two reasons:
- It means you haven’t answered the phone instantly, but at the same time, you didn’t let the caller wait.
- Three rings give you sufficient time to be aware of the call, take a deep breath, and recollect the rules that you should stick to. Give yourself enough time to prepare for the call, therefore, when you answer it, you can do your best.
Do not let your customers wait for a long time. Be smart and constantly monitor the calls and answer them quickly.
#4 Listen Actively and Take Notes
Active listening is a significant part of phone etiquette. It means listening to everything your customers wish to say and restating back to them needs or comments. This lets the customer on the other end know you’re actively listening. Allow the customer to speak without interrupting them. Interrupting a customer can be rude and lead to frustration.
Also, it’s important to take notes while calls. It’s helpful in simple things like using their name throughout the call and preparing a report post-conversation. It also assures that you can note down the important points during long calls without asking them to repeat.
#5 Ask Before Putting a Caller on Hold or Transferring a Call
If you need to place the customer on hold or transfer them, inform them clearly and respectfully. Always ask for their permission first before placing them on hold or transferring the call.
For example, “The best person to handle this is Maria, may I please transfer your call to Maria?”
Explain to them why it’s crucial to do so, and reassure them that you or another agent will definitely get their issue solved quickly. By keeping your customer in the loop, they’ll be less likely to complain about the long wait time. Let your customers know how long it will take, i.e. how long they will be on hold.
For example, “It will take me around four to five minutes to get the information, can I please put you on hold?”
#6 Leave Your Customer Satisfied
Closing your call on a positive note builds a greater chance of repeat business, even if it involves staying calm when handling customer complaints about the phone.
How do you close the call professionally?
- Confirm the customer gets the entire required information.
- Inquire if there is anything else you can help her/him with.
- For future contact, suggest the best times s/he can call back if required.
Thank them for calling and wish them a nice day. Use their names when addressing them, it makes the whole experience more personalized and increases the likelihood of closing the sale.
For more information about developing customer service, read our post on How Customer Service Training Benefits Your Company.
Providing excellent service to every customer should be a priority of all the call centers. Managers must set telephone etiquette rules and provide proper telephone etiquette training.
When all agents will stick to these telephone etiquette tips organizations will achieve trustworthiness, reliability, and effectiveness. This positive brand awareness is crucial to businesses’ success.