The telephone is still a primary point of contact for customers, and the way you answer your company’s phone will form your customer’s first impression of your business. Train your voice and vocabulary to be positive when phone answering, even on a “down” day. Keep your voice volume moderate, and speak slowly when answering the phone so your caller can understand you easily. The phone answering tips below will ensure that callers know they’re dealing with a winning business.
- Three rings...max! – It is very important not to let the phone ring more than three times. Today’s consumers don’t have time to wait – what they do have are other options if you’re too busy.
- The voice that smiles is the voice you trust – Believe it or not, the customer can see if you’re smiling, even over the phone.
- Introduce yourself – Wouldn’t you like to know who you’re talking to? The call becomes more personal if the customer knows your name.
- Recognize the mood swing – Every order has a different mood associated with it, pay attention and be aware of the occasion the customer is ordering flowers for. For example, you would naturally speak with a different tone on a sympathy order than on a new baby or birthday order.
- Use preferred phrases and avoid Inappropriate slang – Avoid terms such as: ”okay,” or “no problem,” and replace them with “certainly,” or “very well.” Avoid the use of fillers such as “um,” and “uh-huh,” and train yourself carefully not to use these when you speak on the phone. Make a list for your agents of preferred phrases as well as phrases to avoid.
- Repeat all orders s.l.o.w.l.y. – Never assume you know how to spell someone’s name, a street name, city etc. Always repeat the order –slowly- to ensure all spellings are correct, as well as the delivery date and time, card message, etc. One tiny error could lead to big problems.
- “Brief” holds must be brief – Always ask the caller if you may place them on a brief hold when answering the phone, and don’t leave people on hold. Provide holding callers with progress reports every 30 to 45 seconds. Offer them choices if possible, such as: “that line is still busy. Would you like to continue to hold or can I take your phone number and call you right back?”
- Be consistent and create a script – Train everyone else who answers the phone to answer the same way, including other family members if you’re running a home-based business. Check on how your phones are being answered by calling in and seeing if they are answered in a professional manner.
- Enable and empower – Consider allowing your agents flexibility to solve a situation on the spot. Customers these days have a shorter fuse and want to speak to someone who can make a decision. The more you put them on hold, the more frustrated they get.