Telephone Etiquette: Tips for Maintaining a Professional Tone on the Phone
We have all heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, it is how you say it” in regard to someone’s tone of voice. For businesses who rely on phone calls as the first interaction with their customers, tone of voice can turn a prospective customer into a missed opportunity. Receptionists are often the first voice your customers hear when they are scheduling appointments, inquiring about your services, or visiting your office. In a lot of ways, their personality represents what the customer would expect when they enter your establishment.
Receptionists are often handling multiple tasks while still managing incoming and sometimes outgoing calls. It can be challenging to not sound rushed when talking to customers over the phone, but this interaction can end up frustrating a caller enough that they will take their business elsewhere. In order to provide the highest quality service to your customers, here are some tips to maintain a professional tone even when you’re in the midst of chaos.
Set a Default Introduction for Every Call
Every call that comes through does not have the same purpose. Select a default greeting that you will say each time a customer calls. For example, it is polite to thank the caller for reaching out, reminding them of the business name and share with them the name of the person they are speaking with. A professional greeting may sound something like, “Thank you for calling Dr. Stan’s office, this is Katherine. How may I help you?”
No matter how frustrating or annoying it is to say the same thing multiple times a day, it is critical that you don’t rush through it. Your caller may assume that you’re not giving them accurate answers to their questions simply because you don’t have the time.
Maintain an Easy to Follow Pace
Fast talkers prefer to get to the point, rather than beating around the bush – they aren’t trying to be rude, they just usually don’t prefer banter. If you have a customer on the phone that is trying to engage you in simple chit chat, it is polite to answer their questions with straight to the point responses that are polite but not overly engaging. Do not make the customer feel like they are inconveniencing you by asking how your day was. Instead, let the customer know that your day is going well and ask how theirs is. More than likely the customer was just trying to open the conversation up politely before jumping into their real reason for calling.
Be Attentive & Take Notes
Keeping a notepad on your desk is a great way to help you remember what the customer said in the beginning of the call. For example, if a customer calls in and begins telling you about an issue that they experienced with your business, they expect you to listen. Sometimes, customers will call out dates, locations, or even names of individuals that they contributed to this experience. Jotting these details down can help you when you are attempting to wrap up the call or provide information to the proper channels later on.
Customers can tell when the receptionist is not listening to them. Be attentive during the call, listen to the customer’s concerns and respond with care, even if you don’t agree with their frustrations. An annoyed tone can make the customer feel like their feelings aren’t valid or respected which can make them want to take their business elsewhere.
Building a rapport with your customers is not limited to just face to face interactions. Customers can build trust with the receptionists of your business when they feel heard, understood, and valued. Contact Northwest Telephone Answering Service for more information about our well-trained receptionists and how they can help your business make the right first impression.