Tips for Today: Business Phone Etiquette
How you and your employees answer the phone (and talk on the phone, and put someone on hold, and finish a call) will leave an impression (good or bad) on your caller. Below, we’ll walk you through the key customer touch points during a phone call:
There are a few key elements that separate a good greeting from a great one. Make sure all employees answer the phone the same way. Make sure you thank your caller for calling, introduce yourself and offer help. This way, the caller doesn’t have to assume anything about who’s answering the phone.
Thank you for calling ABC Wine Store on Main Street! This is Susan, how can I help you?
Plainly put, your tone should be pleasant and helpful. Your caller can’t see your face nor do they know that you have a line of customers waiting to be helped. If you have time to answer the phone, you need to maintain an inviting tone that makes sure your caller knows you appreciate their call (and possible future business). Did you know you can actually “hear” a smile over the phone?
Attention to Detail
If your customer has a quick question (“Where are you located?”) you can likely answer it while simultaneously stocking shelves or packing up a gift basket. However, if your caller has a more detailed question (they want to place a special order, or they want to plan a private event), it’s best to ask the customer to hold (see next section) and remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of the “front of the house” so you aren’t distracted.
Putting Someone On Hold
Before you place a caller on hold, always ask if you can place them on hold. You never know if the customer would prefer a call back. This way, their preferences are the priority, and they are more willing to wait, if necessary.
I’d be happy to check to see if we have that item in stock. Would you mind if I placed you on a brief hold?
Speaking of putting someone on hold, make sure your employees know how to use your phone system so they don’t hang up on someone, “forget” to press the mute button or transfer someone to the wrong person.
With these tips, you and your employees will be able to provide good customer service just by picking up the phone!