Technology has evolved incredibly, and so has the medium of communication. Mediums such as email and social media texting have become popular modes of communication. However, telephone calls are still chosen to date as the most trusted mode for communication. Regardless of technology-influenced chatbots, customers prefer human understanding, and hence a one-to-one call is mostly chosen for grievance redressal.
While being in any sort of business, one must understand that customer retention is crucial to keep the business moving. Attracting new customers and retaining them likewise is possible only when they have good business experiences. Therefore, a business owner must always have a customer service team ready to converse with customers if they have any issues or grievances.
In this article, we will discuss how to answer a phone professionally at your business.
How to Answer The Phone Professionally?
There are various aspects to be kept in mind while making professional phone calls. The customer service techniques may differ from one organisation to another but answering a phone professionally is a systematic and standard practice. Here are 10 tips for answering the phone professionally.
1. Be Quick
It is always inappropriate to make the customers wait. Therefore make sure to be quick and pick the customer's call by the third ring. In case you are unable to pick up the call, send some form of a message to the customer to try after some time. In this way, the customer won't feel neglected; rather, they will feel respected. One must try every possible way not to waste the customer’s time.
2. Offer a Greeting
Offering a greeting is a great way to start a conversation. While the "hello" must be used for greeting the customer, one may offer more. One can create a great image of the organisation they are working in, with a specialised greeting. One such example of greeting a customer is that one can state the organisation's name, give their introduction and ask how they can help.
3. Smile While Speaking
It may sound a bit weird, but when one smiles, the tone changes remarkably. It may become a little difficult to smile throughout the phone call, especially if one is a customer service provider and performing multiple duties at a time. Therefore it is better to smile while greeting the customer. This way, a friendly and professional tone will be maintained throughout the call. This is one of the best tips to be kept in mind while answering the phone professionally.
4. Focus on Clarity
While speaking on the phone, there may be many factors that can downgrade the phone call quality, such as poor network, unnecessary background noises, indistinct voices, etc. And on top of all this, if you don't speak clearly and pronounce properly, the call will be very unprofessional. Therefore try speaking slowly with clarity so that the customer can listen to you at once and don't have to repeat multiple times. This will also encourage the customer to be patient.
5. Avoid Usage of Slangs
While answering a phone call professionally, it is suitable to use simple words instead of complex words specific to your business or industry. Avoid using jargon. Also, resist using casual words like "cool", as words like these may sound highly amateurish. Instead, use phrases like, "you're welcome". Also, avoid usage of filler words such as "like" and "um".
6. Maintain Positivity
Maintain an optimistic and energetic tone throughout the phone call. This will make the customers feel welcomed, and they may speak out their grievances effortlessly. Use proactive alternatives like "Let me see if I can figure it out" instead of phrases like "I don't have any idea". If your job is to answer calls, then you have to give proper assistance to the customers. If you cannot provide any solution, you must transfer the call immediately to a different colleague or other departments. Make sure that you take the job seriously and treat your customers with compassion.
7. Ask Before You Put a Call on Hold
Sometimes your customer service team may be understaffed, or everyone is busy at a particular moment. So the customers may wait for a long time before they can call you and tell you their grievances or issues. This can also happen if your organisation's automated system filters the calls. As a customer service provider, you must respect the time taken by the customer to make a call.
Therefore as a service provider, if you have to take your colleague's call for some reason and you have to put the call on hold, ask before doing so. Calmly explain your situation and thank them for their patience. This simple phone etiquette is enough to give the customers a good experience and retain them simultaneously.
8. Take Messages for Your Colleague
If the business's organisation is yet not equipped to receive voicemails, then you must take the call of colleagues or seniors for that moment as a customer service provider. While doing so, be quick enough to jot down the messages with clarity. Make sure you don't miss anything and include every detail from the call. This will help your colleagues or seniors to take over the call smoothly when they return, without forcing the customer to repeat. Generally, understanding the customer's messages accurately can help your business' customer service improve.
9. Learn to Transfer the Call If You Don't Have a Solution
Before joining the customer services of a company, a person must have good practice of handling different circumstances. But sometimes, one may fail to have a solution to the customer's issue. In that case, one must know who could have a solution to the problem and transfer the call to them.
As a customer service provider of one's company, they may probably have to transfer calls daily to colleagues or superiors who are best fitted to give a solution. Therefore you must learn to use the " transfer call" function and keep a list of colleagues and superiors along with their responsibilities and duties. Make sure you always have an updated list. This will help you to transfer the call to the correct person immediately.
10. Hang up on a Positive Note
Before hanging up with a customer, try ending the conversation on a positive note. You can either thank them or wish them well. This will motivate the clients to feel positive toward your business and make calls without hesitance to address other issues. For example, you can say, "Thank you for your call today. I hope you have a wonderful day ahead."
These were some simple things to keep in mind to answer a phone professionally at your business. All these acts will lead the customers to have a good impression of your company.
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Q. What is phone etiquette?
Ans. Phone etiquette is a way of using manners to represent your business or organisation to customers while answering a telephone call.
Q. What is professionalism?
Ans. Professionalism is an individual's adherence to a code of conduct and certain standards while being in a particular industry or job.
Q. What are some other tips to keep in mind while answering a phone professionally?
Ans. Other tips to keep in mind while answering a phone professionally are making sure a colleague, or a senior is present when a call is being transferred to them and calling the customers back in case they leave a voicemail.
Q. What can we do to compensate if we are unavailable to pick a call?
Ans. To compensate for one's absence and unavailability while answering a phone call, one can create a professional voicemail message and use it during one's absence.
Q. What must be avoided to maintain professionalism while answering a phone at your business?
Ans. One thing that must be avoided while answering a phone call professionally is eating or drinking while being on a call. It is highly unprofessional behaviour and leads to unclear pronunciation.