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Observe these six phone service tips for your business
Observe these six phone-based customer service tips for your business
Guest post by Leah and Patrick Del Rosario
In an increasingly digital world, more people are getting used to conducting business via e-mail or web-based collaboration tools instead of on the phone. This method of communication is far faster for many things, such as sending a quick follow-up, written specs and details about a project or asking a quick question. But in some situations it is not the preferred approach.
One area where people still reach for the telephone is when there is a customer service matter at hand. With more automated messages answering phones of corporations, one common complaint people frequently make is ‘Why can’t I just talk to a real person?’ This is a valid complaint, but still when a real person does get on the phone, some people still are unhappy with the service they receive. This is due to the lack of phone etiquette some customer service representatives show when they are not properly trained.
If your small business is answering the phone and taking calls from customers you are already a step ahead of many corporations. To provide even better service, here are six of the top phone etiquette tips for customer service.
- Smile – A smile is not just a visual cue but it can also be sensed over the phone. When you answer, do so with a smile and your customer will be instantly put at ease. Continue smiling throughout the conversation as well. This will show that you are happy to be helping the person who is undoubtedly frustrated. When your customer senses the smile in your voice it will instantly disarm their anger and disappointment and put them at ease.
- Say please and thank you – Saying please and thank you is a common sign of respect and one that should not be forgotten while on the phone with a customer. If you need to put somebody on hold, ask them politely if you may do so, then thank them when they say yes. When you pick up again, thank them again for holding. This will give your customer the respect they deserve and leave a lasting impression of your willingness to help in their already difficult situation.
- Offer to call them back – If a solution is complex, or you need to check with another department on how to solve a particular problem, offer to call your customer back. People are busy and being kept on hold for too long can make them impatient. Instead, by letting them know that you are working on the issue but it may take more time, let them go about their day until you have a solution for them. Then, call them back quickly with an answer to their question. If you do not have an answer by the end of the day, give a courtesy call so your customer does not feel that they have been forgotten.
- Allow the customer to vent but do not engage – Your customer is likely calling because they are having a problem or is disappointed in something with your company. When they start in about their trouble it is important to let them speak through it without interruption. Then, respond in a way that is congenial and sympathetic. This will show them that you care and understand their frustration and will do your part to help them.
- Never leave sensitive information on a voicemail – If you are returning a call and reach an answering machine or another person, it is important to be aware of the information you are leaving in a message. This information should be brief and ambiguous. For example, if you are calling about a delinquent account, your message should only be a request for a return phone call to the accounting department.
- Take sensitive calls in private – When you receive a phone call from an angry customer or someone who owes you money, transfer the call to a private setting. This way, you can speak openly and honestly with the person on the other line without worry that other customers will be brought into the problem you are handling on the phone.
Professionalism on the phone is important, even in today’s fast-paced and digitally based society. Use these phone etiquette tips for the best service for your customers.
Leah and Patrick Del Rosario are Filipino business and finance bloggers. They work as business ninjas at Open Colleges, one of the pioneers of Online education in Australia and one of the leading providers of diploma of management and small business courses. Aside from blogging and being a business ninja, Patrick is an aspiring photographer. If you want to feature his writings on your site, connect with him at Google+ or drop a line at patrick (at) oc.edu.au
Reports I have written:
Measuring the impact and ROI of social media - for Ark Group
Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
Social Media: The New Business Communication Landscape - for Ark Group
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
Contributing author to How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues - for Melcrum Publishing
Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing
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