You never get a second chance to make a first impression!
For many customers, the telephone is the first contact they have with a business.As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.And that first impression can either leave customers calling elsewhere,or have them excited about learning more about your products or services.
Here are Top 10 Keys to excellent Phone skills
TOP 10 KEYS TO EXCELLENT PHONE SKILLS
NOWING how to answer the phone is an essential part of communication . Do you know that within 60 seconds, People will make a judgement about you, your background and personality based on your voice alone?There are two areas you should be aware of when speaking on the phone. One is “what” you say, the other “how” you say it. Studies show that as much as 87% of the listener’s opinion of you is based on your voice alone.That leaves only 13% allocated to what we are saying, to make a positive impression.
Here are some tips on how to answer the telephone politely
to help you improve your phone voice and technique.
1 Third ring rule: Answer the phone by the third ring or make sure your voice mail
is set to pick up by the third ring. Nowadays, people are not inclined to wait much longer and will assume you are not available and hang up.
2 Be clear and precise. An excellent step is to identify yourself right away –
if you are someone that your recipient will want to talk to: “This is John. Can I speak to Roy? Is he available ?”When you are giving answers, explaining policies and procedures, or delivering a complaint,have ready quick, concise statements.
3 Prepare then answer: Do not beat around the bush or speak too vaguely.Be polite but be reasonably direct. Make your comments short and sweet!Have a note pad and pen by your phone at all times.Write down the caller’s name and use it during the conversation.
4 Smiling while speaking over the phone can give your voice a friendlier tone, even in formal conversations.If you are at work , it’s conventional to say the name of your business when you pick up the phone,followed by an offer for help. For example: “Good afternoon, John Meyer’s office. How may I help you?”
5 Be sincere. Be truthful and trustworthy. Faking it with polite words won’t fool anybody.People need to feel you truly care, and are trying to do a good job.
Help them out or deal with their problem. You can’t fake it, so be sincere. Control your emotions.
6 Be an active listener. Take notes, ask for correct spelling, etc. Avoid distractions.
You should not multi –task a handful of things while talking on the phone.Concentrate on the call, listen to your callers’ needs or complaint, and give sincere helpful responses.
No one likes to feel unimportant and they can certainly tell when you are not paying attention or when you are doing other things at the same time.
7 Promptly return calls. Make it your personal goal to return phone calls.This may very well be the most professional characteristic. Set a goal to return phone calls as soon as possible, this will make a positive statement about you and your image.
8 Check your message: Check your message several times a day. Learn how to dial in from a remote phone to get your voice mails. Many times the caller is facing a deadline and your information may be crucial for them to complete their assignment.
9 Use polite words and intonation e.g. please, thank you. It helps set the tone of the conversation from confrontational to friendly. Politeness gets you further than shouting, and we are always going to assist a polite person first, rather than a rude person.
10 Professional Greeting : Be aware of what you are going to say in the greeting , then practice and rehearse before you leave the greeting on your answering machine. Be short and to the point. Don’t drag out the greeting and leave a date for your return. Always be aware that you are a reflection of your company. It is important to note that customer loyalty is based on personal treatment and relationship, not the price, product or history. One bad experience over the phone may kill a longtime loyalty to your company.
(Article taken from New Straits Time April 2 2010)