This is part two in a two-part series. Read part one here.
In the previous part of this series, we covered the first five keys for excellent business etiquette over the phone. Now it’s time to delve into the second set of five tips. By using these suggestions, you’ll deliver excellent customer service over the phone each and every time:
- Don’t interrupt under any circumstances.
While you are listening, you may have some questions or interjections that may help the situation. Resist the urge to interrupt. You need to hear the whole problem from the customer’s point of view – even if you may eventually transfer the call to a specialist or other staff member. Letting your caller get through their entire story will help you determine what steps you need to take next, as well as help them feel supported.
- Understand the basics of your phone system – including holding and transferring.
Make sure that everyone on your staff knows how to use the phone system. If your phone agents need to talk to another employee while trying to solve a customer problem, they should use the hold button – and not muffle the mouthpiece. The transfer function in your phone system is another essential to know as well. This way you and your employees can help customers without any technological frustration.
- When it’s your turn to speak, don’t ramble.
Your time is precious and so is your caller’s. Get directly to the point after you’ve gotten a good idea about the situation and what you need to do. Stay on topic, don’t integrate any chitchat into the conversation and try to solve the problem as efficiently as possible.
- Keep callers informed about what is happening next.
Whether you’re going to transfer the caller to another party, ask a few questions of the staff and give them the answer, or need to gather more information and call them back – you need to keep your caller in the loop. For example, “I’m so sorry you’re having trouble installing the new software, Mr. Smith. I’m going to need to transfer you to Jed – our tech support specialist. It will take me a minute or two to get Jed up to speed on your issue, and then he’ll be able to take it from there. May I put you on hold?” When you explain exactly what is going on to help them solve their problem, they’ll feel supported.
- Have a plan for handling angry or abusive callers.
No matter how polished your business telephone etiquette is, you may come across callers who are so mad that they’ve passed the point of politeness. Don’t get caught up in their high level of emotions. You, your staff and your answering service should have a plan to deal with these types of callers. Listening, reassuring and understanding will go a long way toward resolving the caller’s problem.
With these business telephone etiquette 101 tips, you can be sure that your callers feel supported and that you make the right impression…every time