Can you imagine your life without a phone? The entire world is connected with phones. Every other minute you will hear some phone ringing in this modern world moving at a frenetic pace. It is no more merely a phone line but our lifeline!
When you answer your organization’s incoming calls, you are the ‘Director of First Impressions’ for your organization. Good phone manners can turn a potentially lucrative relationship with a customer into a bottom-line booster while bad phone manner can turn it into a regrettable missed opportunity. Good manners can actually get you the results you want – faster.
It is more important than ever to be aware of phone etiquette and manners. The truth is that practicing proper telephone manners is something that very few of us have ever been adequately trained in despite the incredible importance the phone plays in any organization’s success in business.
Using proper phone manners is not difficult and requires only a little practice and the proper training. This article will provide you with a quick rundown on 10 essential phone etiquettes which will show your customers your true level of professionalism.
1. Make an Agenda
Treat the call as if it were a meeting – have a purpose, and an agenda. Always jot down key objectives before making a call: What are you trying to accomplish? What outcome are you expecting? How will you deal with objections? By setting an agenda, you are showing respect to the person you are calling and acknowledging his or her busy schedule.
2. Mind the Time
8:00 A.M. might be convenient for you, but you might be interrupting the other person during sleep? As the world tries to be awake 24 hours a day, people can be divided into two categories: the morning persons who are early risers and the night persons who are night browsers. The other person’s sleeping habits might not reflect yours. As a rule of thumb do not call someone before 9:00 AM or after 9:00 PM unless they’ve previously mentioned that it’s fine for you to do so.
3. Hold Smartly
Don’t leave the callers on hold for too long. If you must ask a person to hold, ask in a courteous manner. Keep him or her updated every 45 secs to a min. However, if you feel you’ll need more time, the proper thing to do is to ask if you can call that person back so he or she is not left hanging. Always apologize for the delay.
4. Answer Promptly
If you’re at work and the phone rings, answer promptly. People are impatient when it comes to business. Studies have shown most people hang up after the 3rd ring when calling a business and the 5th ring when calling home.
5. Transfer Gracefully
In case you picked a call that does not belong to you, forward it gracefully. Be polite and use friendly greetings and closings. Alert the person on the other end that you are transferring the line, rather than let him or her wonder why you’re no longer on the line.
6. Find Who Is on the Other Side
Never presume who’s on the other side and just start talking. Check who the person talking to you is. This would prevent you from some of the most embarrassing moments of your life. Whether you’re at home or in the workplace, there’s a nice way to find out who’s on the other end. “May I have the liberty to ask who’s calling?” sounds nicer than the plain and unpolished “Who’s this?”
7. Say Hello
Take the time to say “Hello.” I have seen executives answering with, “I will call you back…dial tone,” or “Yeah?” If you are answering someone else’s phone, it is also a good practice to say hello instead of, “Prabbal’s Phone.” The caller knows whose phone they are calling. After all, it’s they who dialed the number.
8. Don’t Argue
Let the caller ask questions and convey his or her point of view. Do not interrupt. Indicate that you are listening by saying, “I see,” “I understand,” or simply, “Yes,” but refrain from other comments until the individual is finished. Be honest while answering but not stupid. Even if you are met with objections, allow the individual to finish before stating your defense. Be courteous and check your attitude frequently.
9. Hang-Up Politely
Let the caller end the conversation. Sometimes, this is not possible as there are always those out-of-time-sense callers who talk incessantly. On such occasions, you have to be the one to end the conversation but end it kindly. Unless the person on the other end is being rude or abusive, it’s never polite to hang up without saying goodbye. Even if you’re ending the call on bad terms, it’s always best to say, “I’m sorry, but I must end this call now.”
10. Return Calls
Not returning a phone call is a sin in the phone world. It is just inexcusable! It only takes a few seconds to call someone back or to send an e-mail explaining that you will call them back when you are available.
With these quick phone etiquette tips by your side, you will be able to be the direction the first communications to translate into bottom line boosters and your callers would definitely be impressed!