What Business Phone Etiquette Is All About?
Put it simply, it is a set of rules your agents have to follow when handling calls. In everyday situations, we often do it intuitively, based on our experience or upbringing. In business, you need to pay more attention to how you speak with customers or prospects as the call center is the face (or, in fact, a voice) of your business. Moreover, handling business calls requires professional skills as callers expect an immediate response from you. Nowadays companies use multiple digital channels to interact with customers but it’s unlikely that all this multitude of choices will remove phone conversations completely. Business phone etiquette is sure to remain relevant.
How to Take and Make Calls Professionally. Essential Tips
1. Introduce yourself
It’s equally important both for incoming and outgoing calls. Caller ID can help your customers or prospects to understand who you are but the short introduction will help them to understand the reason for your call. Be sure, they’ll appreciate your courtesy even if they recognized your name and number at once.
When your potential and existing customers are calling to you, an introduction is even more important. When you introduce yourself it shows them that they speak to real people who can take responsibility for solving the problem. That, in turn, helps in building stronger relationships.
2. Use customer’s name
“Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language”.
This famous citation from Dale Carnegie’s bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People is eternally relevant, especially for inbound calls. It’s not a problem to learn an existing customer’s name nowadays. Modern call center software for small and medium businesses from Voiptime Cloud allows you to create client cards automatically during the first call. Your agent fills in the necessary fields so this information will be displayed during the next interactions.
3. Watch your voice and emotions
Voice can tell your customers a lot about your approach and intention. That’s why your agents should maintain the same tone throughout the call, sound clear and confident. Their confidence tells customers that they speak to professionals who can answer their questions and fix their problems. An intrusive, aggressive, or anxious tone is something they have to avoid. These weaknesses can harm your business reputation and make people less eager to buy from you.
Another piece of advice is to remain positive and cheerful. Sure, a call center agent’s job isn’t a piece of cake. Sometimes, your employees have to try hard to keep their cool when talking to angry or rude customers. The first thing they should do in such situations is not to take these emotions personally and try to understand why customers feel the way they do. Staying positive can help your agents to turn your customers into loyal friends and avoid burnout.
4. Mind your language
The words your employees say to customers also matter. Casual phrases and slang create the impression that they are not really into the call. Also, they should sound polite, that is to treat customers with respect and consideration.
5. Listen actively
Distraction is one of the main enemies of good customer service. A couple of seconds of drifting away may cost you a customer. How can you prevent that? Your agents have to develop active listening skills that mean fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said. They should show customers that they’re listening by asking clarifying questions, summarizing their words, and so on.
6. Take notes
It’s impossible to remember everything your customers say so taking notes is another key to successful call handling. Fortunately, your agents don’t have to use external tools or old-fashioned notebooks for that. Call center software for small and medium businesses from Voiptime Cloud allows them to take notes on the client card right during the call. It’s a real time-saver because they don’t need to switch between different windows and can stay focused on conversations.
7. Stick to three rings rule
It means that your agents have to answer calls as quickly as possible. As a rule, callers won't wait for you to pick up the phone for more than three rings. This number gives your agents two benefits. Firstly, they can answer calls fast. Secondly, they have enough time to prepare. Three rings are enough to take a deep breath and recall the rules they should stick to.
8. Be proactive
What most callers can’t put up with is uncertainty after a business call. That’s why your agents should never let a call end without assuring a caller that they’re taking steps to help them to fix their issue. It will help customers to get rid of this uncertainty and give more credibility to your business.
The name of the game in following business phone etiquette is to establish long-lasting and trustworthy relationships with your customers. Your agents benefit from using these rules as well. Understanding all dos and don'ts of phone etiquette helps them to develop communication skills and become true professionals.