“It takes only seven seconds for us to judge another person when we first meet them,” states clinical psychologist, Linda Blair. While there’s many tried and tested theories about conducting telephone calls in a polite and professional manner, there’s one particular principle that is practised by many a successful business – and that is by ensuring they create a good first impression within seven seconds of a call. In this post we look at 4 tips for professional telephone etiquette.
Whilst research shows that words account for seven per cent of how people will sum you up during an initial face-to-face encounter, it’s highly likely many will remember the use – or absence – of manners more than anything else. From minding your Ps and Qs to thanking others for their time, a little courtesy goes a long way.
Here’s 4 tips for professional telephone etiquette:
1. Answering the call
While the traditional greeting of ‘hello’ may seem appropriate, it’s also instantly forgettable. Stand out by introducing the name of your company; as not only does it inform the customer that they dialled the right number, but also gives off a professional vibe expected from a business. Remember to include your name at the start of the call as well as how you can assist with their enquiry – for example, “Thank you for calling (company name). My name is (first name), how can I help?”
2. Talking the talk
Another essential element when undertaking new business is delivering ‘service with a smile’. Let your positivity and upbeat nature resonate in your voice, and you’ll find that customers are much more likely to respond to an inviting and upbeat manner as opposed to a dull, monotone tone of voice. Additionally, steer clear of slang at all costs – and speak clearly and succinctly to avoid any miscommunication.
3. Placing the customer on hold
From time to time, you may be expected to put the customer on hold while you transfer their call. However, if there’s a long wait involved, many people may not be keen on being placed on hold – so ask them beforehand whether or not they mind being put on hold. Also, make sure it’s no longer than two minutes; but if the hold goes past this timeframe, keep the customer up-to-date with regards to the call.
4. Closing the call
Before you say your goodbyes, thank the customer one last time and ask if they need any further help prior to ending the call. Lastly, wait for the customer to hang up before closing the call – this helps prevent you from hanging up on them accidentally.
Remember, you’re not just the voice of the company, you are also essentially the face – so it’s imperative that you practise a genial and respectful approach. Just as you would treat others the way you would want to be treated, from start to finish, ensure you meet your customer’s needs cordially and respectfully – as there’s nothing better than delivering a professional service with a personal touch.
Lee Parker is a writer for Moneypenny speaking all things Business.