When you’re speaking with customers or coworkers over the phone, it’s important to maintain a certain level of professionalism. Communication skills are vital to the success of a company. Understanding the basics of professional phone etiquette is a benefit regardless of your industry or job title. For this reason, many companies trust a business answering service to properly manage their calls.
Why Proper Phone Etiquette Is Important
Good customer service over the phone will build brand loyalty, increase sales, and improve overall customer satisfaction. Being rude or unhelpful during a business call can reflect badly on your company and damage your reputation. What are the most important aspects of professional phone etiquette? This guide will help you more effectively communicate over the phone while maintaining a proper and professional demeanor.
1. Answer Promptly
Quick, efficient communication is vital in the world of business. No one likes waiting while the phone rings, so it’s important to always answer your calls as quickly as possible. Try to answer your phone calls before three rings whenever possible.
We now live in a world where customers expect fast, effective customer service to be available around the clock. If you’re expecting a phone call at work, make sure you’re ready and alert. Give yourself time to anticipate and prepare for any calls. While it’s important to promptly answer the phone before three rings, it’s also good etiquette to not answer immediately. Picking up the phone right away could startle or confuse the person calling.
2. Be Friendly
Friendliness and a cheerful attitude are important aspects of having pleasant, professional phone calls. Everyone enjoys talking to kind, positive people. In a professional setting, your tone and demeanor over the phone reflect the image of the company as a whole.
Friendly customer support will lead to improved brand loyalty and customer satisfaction levels. If you act rude or uninterested during a professional phone call, you could harm the reputation of your company. It only takes one negative experience to make a customer distrust your brand.
Make sure you smile when you speak on the phone. Even though the person you’re talking to won’t be able to see it, they will be able to hear it in your voice. Smiling while you talk is a great way to improve the tone of your voice. Furthermore, always remain calm and polite on the phone. Even if the customer is angry or aggressive, it’s important to remain pleasant and positive. Remaining cheerful and optimistic during difficult conversations is a sign of good communication skills and proper phone etiquette.
3. Speak Clearly
Clarity is a key factor of professional communication. Use a clear, confident voice while speaking on the phone and articulate all of your words. Monitor your volume to make sure that you can be easily heard without being too loud. Avoid mumbling, stammering, or repeating yourself whenever possible. Use straightforward language that can be understood without any confusion. Since the person on the other end of the line cannot see your face or body language, speaking clearly is important.
4. Use Professional Greetings and Endings
The tone of a professional phone call is immediately set by your greeting. Always answer the phone with a pleasant, polite introduction that includes your name and the name of your company. Some examples of good professional greetings include “Hello,” “Good morning,” and “Good afternoon.” After you greet the caller and make a positive connection, then you can begin assisting them.
When your phone call is over, you can ask the caller if they have additional questions or expect any follow up from you. It’s proper professional phone etiquette to then thank them for their time and wish them a good day. End your call with a polite ending, such as “Goodbye” or “Have a nice evening.”
5. Be Helpful
Being informed, supportive, and helpful are important aspects of professional phone etiquette. When a customer calls a company with questions, they expect to be helped by a knowledgeable representative. Make sure that you’re ready for any phone call by being properly educated in your field. Maintain a certain level of training to ensure that you can provide customers with quality answers to their questions.
However, if you really don’t know the answer to something, be honest. Being honest with customers will build trust and develop brand loyalty. In this scenario, it’s important to assure the caller that you will try your best to discover the answer for them. Never lie to customers or give them information that could be outdated or incorrect.
6. Listen Actively
Although it may seem obvious, paying attention to the person you’re speaking with on the phone is vitally important. Be fully engaged with your caller and actively listen to them. It can even be helpful to take notes during these phone calls.
Active listening shows your caller that you really care about their concerns and their needs. To practice proper phone etiquette, be careful not to interrupt others while they are speaking. Being a good listener makes customers feel cared about and respected, which makes them loyal to your brand. Customers who feel ignored or disrespected will probably choose a competitor the next time they want to buy that product or service. If you take the time to actively listen to each individual customer, you will build real personal connections and make a true difference.
7. Eliminate Background Noise
During a professional phone call, there should be no distracting background noise of any kind. Background noise can make callers feel distracted, confused, or frustrated. If the noise is interrupting the phone call, the customer could feel unheard and unappreciated. During a professional phone call, the wants and needs of the customer are of the utmost importance.
Professional phone conversations should always be conducted in a quiet space when possible. If you have to take a business call somewhere loud or crowded, the best practice is to find the most isolated and peaceful spot possible. Some background noise may be impossible to avoid in certain situations.
8. Reduce Hold Times
No one wants to waste their time waiting on hold. Reducing hold times is a great way to improve customer satisfaction, increase efficiency, and practice proper phone etiquette. Although sometimes placing a customer on hold in unavoidable, instances of this can be greatly reduced. The best way to lower hold times on the phone at your company if your current employees are overwhelmed is to hire an answering service. Outsourcing is an ideal solution if your call volume is too much for your current workforce to handle.
9. Leave Concise Voicemails
There are ways to practice professional phone etiquette even when your call goes unanswered. If you reach a customer or coworker’s voicemail, leave them a friendly, informative, and concise message. The importance of voicemails is often overlooked, but this form of communication can strengthen your relationship with clients.
Make sure you use a polite greeting and properly introduce yourself at the beginning of your message. Clearly and concisely explain the purpose of your voicemail. If you anticipate that you may have to leave a message, preparing a quick script beforehand may be helpful. Using a script ensures that you don’t leave out any important information or details. At the end of your voicemail, leave a contact number where you can be reached and politely end the message.
Sign Up for an Answering Service Today
Improving your professional phone etiquette is a great way to increase brand awareness, customer satisfaction, and overall sales. Hiring a business answering service is one way to guarantee your customers will always be greeted properly and professionally. Other benefits that answering services often provide is that they are bilingual and always available 24/7 and during holidays. If you’re looking for a business answering service or you want to improve your professional phone etiquette, start exploring some of the options from AnswerMTI today.