Whether you’re providing customer support, taking an order, or trying to land a sale, phone etiquette is key. Today’s consumers know they have options; if you’re not giving great customer service, they’re going to switch to the competition. Fortunately, providing a great phone experience isn’t hard. Here are some easy yet effective tips to improve your company’s phone etiquette and impress your customers every time.
Start With the Greeting
First impressions are everything. A cheerful greeting sets the tone of the conversation right away. At the same time, your greeting should be crisp and professional. You want callers to know for sure they’ve reached their call destination. Keep your greeting short and simple, and avoid sneaking in a mini sales pitch. A simple greeting such as, “Thanks for calling; how may I help you?” is succinct and pleasant. You can also add, “Good morning,” or, “Good afternoon,” for a personal touch.
Keep It Light and Easy
Even when you’re dealing with a grouchy customer, your phone etiquette must stay polite. This rule can be difficult at times, but maintaining composure goes a long way toward calming upset customers. Don’t let your personal emotions get the best of you. Remember that customer service is not just a job; it’s a skill that takes practice.
Relate With the Customer
Never tell the customer they’re wrong. If you need to point out flaws in their statements, you can do so in a constructive way. For example, instead of telling a customer to calm down, you could say you understand their frustration and you’re doing everything in your power to find a solution. Always be proactive. Your goal is to leave the customer satisfied when they hang up. The customer may not always be right, but you can steer them in the right direction by being apologetic and understanding.
Train Your Employees
Don’t assume your employees know how to interact with customers over the phone. Training your employees to follow specific guidelines is crucial, even if your employees are charming. Consistency is key to customer relations, so your customer service team should function as a unit; you don’t want customers to call with their fingers crossed in the hopes of getting the friendly employee. To keep your team on the same page, host a phone etiquette training session for all your employees.
Monitor Customer Service Calls
Phone training is only effective when followed. To ensure your company’s phone etiquette remains at the top of its class, you should regularly audit customer service. Not only do audits help you ensure employees follow proper procedures, but you may find ways to improve upon your current standards. If desired, use recorded calls as training sessions to show employees how to act in tough situations.
Avoid Automation When Possible
Sometimes automated answers work well, but they shouldn’t stand in for person-to-person interactions. When a customer is put on hold, they may become frustrated, so be apologetic and explain the situation. In today’s technological world, customers appreciate companies that still provide a human touch. Never underestimate how critical phone skills are to your success. When you run a small business, customer service is your basis for survival, so go the extra mile by connecting with your callers every time.