Everyone in the business needs to know how to answer the phone correctly and professionally, not just the receptionist or customer representative. You never know when the person who’s supposed to answer the phone won’t be able to do it and someone else will step in and pick it up (especially if you’re running a home business).
Even in this modern age, where people prefer to send sms, chat and email, the telephone is still the main point of contact for most business people with their customers. And the way you answer the phone will shape your customers’ first impression of your business.
If the person answering the call is unprofessional, the customer’s last impression may also be that you are unprofessional! Here’s how to answer the phone properly and win business instead of losing it.
Tips for Answering the Phone Correctly in Business:
- Answer all incoming phone calls before the third ring.
- When you answer the phone, be warm, enthusiastic, and professional . Your voice on the phone is sometimes the only impression of your company that callers get.
- When answering the phone, greet the caller politely and immediately identify yourself and your organization. Say, for example, “Good morning. Safepedia technology. Susan is speaking. How can I help you?” Don’t just say “Hello”.
- Speak clearly, keep your volume steady, and speak slowly and clearly when answering the phone so that your callers can understand you easily.
- Control your language when answering the phone. Do not use slang or keywords . Instead of saying, “OK,” or “No problem,” for example, say “Sure,” “Okay,” or “Okay.” If you’re a person who uses fillers when you talk, like “uh huh,” “um,” or phrases like “like” or “you know,” train yourself carefully not to use them when talking on the phone.
- Train your voice and vocabulary to be positive when answering the phone, even on “down” days. Positive vocabulary is vocabulary that focuses on helping customers. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t know,” say, “Let me find out for you.”
- When you answer the phone, take the phone message completely and accurately. If there’s something you don’t understand or can’t spell, like someone’s surname, ask the caller to repeat it or spell it for you. Then make sure the message reaches the intended recipient.
- If people have to leave you a message, answer all your phone calls within one business day. It reinforces the good impression of your business that you want to promote. Some of the things that annoy callers trying to reach your business are unanswered calls.
- Always ask the caller if it’s okay to hold them while answering the phone, and don’t let anyone else be put on hold. Offer them options if possible, such as “The channel is still busy. Are you going to continue on hold or should I ________ call you back?”.
- While you may be aiming to achieve the purpose of your calling, make sure that you engage in a two-sided conversation. Give the other party time to respond to your points and ask any questions they may have. Be careful not to interrupt unless you find the other party off topic. If this happens, politely interrupt by saying, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but another question came to my mind and I wanted to ask it before I forget.”
- Do not use loudspeakers unless absolutely necessary. The loudspeaker gives the caller the impression that you are not fully concentrating on the call, and makes him think the call is not private. The only time to use a loudspeaker is when you need more than one person to engage in the conversation at the end of your conversation. Ask the caller if you can put it on the speakerphone before doing so.
- If you use voicemail or an answering machine to answer calls when you can’t, make sure that you have a professional message recorded, do the same as tip #3, and give callers any other pertinent information before recording their messages. . Update your voicemail messages as needed. For example, if your business is closing for the holidays, update your voicemail message to say so and to say when your business will reopen.
- Train everyone who might answer the phone to answer the same way, including other family members if you run a home-based business. Check how your business calls are answered by calling and seeing if the calls are answered professionally.
Red thread: While it may be more convenient to contact someone using more modern technology, such as email or text messaging, the phone is still a more personal means of communication. Even if the other party can’t see your face, your voice can still convey a sense of professionalism and authority. To help you make the most effective business calls.