Even though we live in the digital age, there’s something significant about getting on the phone and doing business.

Using the telephone, instead of email or instant messaging, lets you have a deeper connection with someone on the other end of the phone. When that person is a customer, you increase the likelihood that they’ll do business with you in the future.

Using the personal touch that comes from doing business over the phone can give you an edge over the competition. But you have to make sure that the telephone skills that you and your employees use are up to par with your customers’ expectations.

In this digital age, it can be easy to forget what makes a good telephone call. Knowing how to use the telephone to connect with your customers is critical in getting, keeping and growing customer relationships.

Follow these suggestions to ensure that the telephone etiquette of you and your staff is sending the right message:

Maintain a Consistent Brand

Sometimes, in small businesses, all team members take turns handling receptionist duties. While this may seem like a timesaver, it can also actually lead to problems with branding and with maintaining high levels of customer service. Anyone that gets on your company’s phone needs to be trained and screened – including any answering service receptionists you may be using.

For example, everyone should answer the phone consistently so you can maintain consistent branding. If one person says “McClellan and Sons Contracting” while everyone else is saying “Thanks for calling McClellan and Sons – how can I help you?” it sounds unprofessional. Decide on one greeting, let everyone know and prompt your team to keep the proper phrasing on hand.

Use a Friendly, Helpful Tone

Telephone calls only give you one method expressing an emotion – your voice. The tone that you use during the call conveys your mood and when you’re speaking with customers, that mood needs to be helpful and happy. You and your staff don’t need to go overboard with cheerfulness, but a bright, positive tone can leave a strong impression for your company. A friendly, live voice instead of a recorded message brands your company as personable and ready to help.

Read more about Telephone Etiquette and Your Business in Part 2 here