It may seem a silly title, but there’s more to answering the phone than you think. Naturally, we adjust our tone and manner depending on who we’re speaking to and the context we’re speaking in. Most of the time answering the phone is instinct – it rings and you pick up. Simple.
In reality, we put more thought into answering the phone than you may initially think. A call from a close friend might start with a nickname, but a call with an interviewer will be as polite as possible. When it comes to business, how can we answer with personal, polite and professional feel?
It really is true that a smile can translate down the phone. Not only will it help you feel more positive when talking to a client, but you will sound significantly more friendly and approachable. Your willingness to help will come across to the caller, making a great first impression.
On a business call, “hello” simply doesn’t cut it. Instead, it leaves the caller with a lot of questions. Identify yourself and your business from the off, reassuring the caller they’re through to the best person to handle their query.
In most industries, there is a selection of key terms and buzzwords that make sense to you all. However, it’s important to remember that not everyone calling you will have an in-depth knowledge of your industry. Avoid using colloquial terms, abbreviations or slang that might not make sense to your caller. You want to come across as a professional company, that’s easy to understand and work with. Don’t bamboozle people with your expert knowledge of ISPs & QCs for a MSRP and its ROI. It can get a bit confusing.
Listen and repeat
The best way to show callers that your business understands them is to listen to everything they have to say – so pay close attention! At the end of the call, you should summarise what they’ve said and what you’re going to do to find a solution. If you don’t have the solution, it’s important to give the caller an expectation of when you or someone else will return their call to give it to them. Never end a call with someone left waiting.
Know who’s calling you
This doesn’t mean you need to memorise a whole host of phone numbers. Differentiating between business and home calls allows you to answer each call in the most appropriate manner.
So how can you tell? There are many existing solutions which help to identify who is calling you, one of which is using a virtual number for your business.
Virtual numbers are a great business solution that prevent you from having to buy a whole new mobile or landline. A virtual number can be routed to any existing phone number, where you can answer the call seamlessly. A whisper announcement is played as you answer, giving you notice of whether someone is calling your personal or business number.
Separating your business into departments allows you to determine the nature of the call before you’ve even picked up. It also fast-tracks the customer to the most appropriate person to handle their call, making their communication as positive and efficient as possible.