We all know that people make snap judgements about others in the first few seconds of meeting them. But the same is true of companies, and especially true if the first, or only, contact is over the telephone ...
always smile before you answer the telephone
They say the decision is made within the first 60 seconds. It's not just about what is said, or the tone of voice used. Judging people over the phone is harder than meeting face to face, but in just the same way, you'll make an instant decision. How you feel at the end of call is immediately associated with the company, and if you feel bad you won't be doing business with them.
For me, I think the worst part is talking to someone who is clearly bored stiff, doesn't really care about my call and worst of all, isn't really listening to what I say. This is usually evident when my call is returned by someone else, who isn't clear about the information that I was originally requesting.
There is a knack to receiving calls well. Making your smile evident over the phone, sounding pleased to be receiving the call, as well as taking down the information accurately and concisely.
My top 5 tips for anyone are:
Before you answer the phone take a breath and smile, the person on the other end will be able to hear it in your voice. It's about more than a good telephone manner. Engaging with callers is about making them feel important and when done well they should feel as if you enjoyed the call as much as they did. Don't forget to state your name and the company name, if they are making a lot of calls it's important to reaffirm who you are.
Stop what you are doing. Put down your pen, turn away from your computer. Focus on what the other person is saying. This will help you avoid missing important information and stop you from sounding distracted. It will also allow you to formulate an appropriate response. There is nothing worse than talking to someone who doesn't appear to be listening and answers questions you didn't actually ask.
Don't try to guess or prejudge what the call is about, it will only cloud your understanding. Actively listen to what the other person is saying. That way you will not make any wrong assumptions or talk over the caller making them feel unimportant. Every call is a two way dialogue, it should be a conversation and not a set series of mismatched statements. If you're not really listening, then you can't be fully involved in the conversation.
If you are taking a message, repeat the information back. That way both you and the caller are sure that you have understood and that the information will be passed on. It might seem simple, but you would be surprised at the number of misunderstandings that begin at the first message. It would be awful, wouldn't it, if they hadn't dismissed you at the beginning of the call but decided against you when you started answering the wrong questions or giving them the wrong information?
Be sure to thank the caller and, where possible, give them a clear timeframe in which their enquiry will be answered. Doing this reaffirms that you recognise that this is important to the caller and that your company is a professional one. This is even more important if you are a small company.
Of course, if you were to use The Office Genie as your call handling service, you can be assured that we will maintain your professional image whilst adding the personal touch to every call we take. We can also help your business appear to be larger than a one man band!
We know that every call is important to you and will take your messages or answer your frequently asked questions for you. With experienced professional receptionists taking your calls you can be sure that your company won't be dismissed out of hand because of the way the phone was answered.
The rest is up to you!
Until next time ...
More about Jenny Eaton ...
THE OFFICE GENIE
I love playing with words and I have dreamed of being a writer since I was a child. With a romantic idea of scribbling away in a cold attic room with my trusty fountain pen. I have always dabbled, but until now it’s not come to much.
When I started with The Office Genie it was to provide me with a part time income to support my writing. Over time though I have developed into the Marketing Genie on a full time basis. I love it, I get to play with words all day as I try to share the dream and the passion that Jacqui has turned into The Office Genie. My work involves blogging, letter writing, email writing, web copy writing, e-book writing, campaign planning, strategy planning, social media interactions – it’s like I write and talk all day every day, my parent would say it’s the ideal job for me!
My first blog posts were about my day to day life as a Genie but they are growing into sharing my view of the business world. I am passionate about helping small businesses be the best that they can be, standing out from their competition in the small things that come together to give an impression of great service – to find out how we can help you should call me on the number below.
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