Customer Service Tips 101: The Do’s And Don’ts of Answering the Phone
Everyone can make and receive calls but when it comes to official phone calls, there are rules and guidelines to be followed. The telephone is the first point of contact for clients, vendors, and customers, therefore, you cannot afford to be nonchalant. Any mistake can dent the image of the company.
Have it at the back of your mind that whenever you answer the phone, you automatically become the face of the company and whatever impression you create either leave a good or bad taste in the customer’s mouth.
Below are tips for a good telephone etiquette. Whether you are the customer service rep or not, as long as you communicate or interact with external parties on behalf of the company, these rules apply to you.
Do introduce yourself and sound pleasant
When making or receiving a call, always introduce yourself with your name and department or company name. If you placed the call, confirm if you are speaking with the right person then go ahead to state the reason for the call. Do not beat around the bush. Show respect for the receiver’s time. For example: “Good morning, this is Amaka calling from XYZ Company, please am I on to Mr. Kehinde?” If you are receiving an incoming call, you could say: “Good afternoon, thank you for calling XYZ Company. This is Amaka, please how may I assist you?”
Avoid sounding bored and tired. Sit up, smile and use a cheerful tone to communicate.
It is easy to misunderstand the speaker since you cannot see him or her nor can you read cues and body language which will help translate the message. In this case, all you have to do is listen carefully to the tone of voice and the message being passed to you. If you do not understand, ask for clarification instead of assuming. Do not interrupt him/her while speaking.
Do ask before placing the customer on hold
Before you place the customer on hold, ask permission first. Once you have placed someone on hold, make sure you don’t keep them for too long. Solve the problem as quickly as possible.
Do end the call politely
Before ending the call, ask the customer if there is any other thing you may help him or her with and listen for a response before ending the call. Don’t just terminate the call abruptly.
Do not give monosyllabic responses
Avoid using responses like ‘yeah’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, etc. all the time. Respond appropriately with full sentences to questions asked to avoid sounding like you are uninterested in the customer’s needs.
Do not be distracted by other activities when speaking with a customer
Avoid multitasking or answering to a colleague or someone else while still speaking on the phone and if you must, put the customer on hold, inform him or her politely, keep it brief, or alternatively, promise to call back shortly.
Do not use slangs and informal words
It is inappropriate to talk to a use informal language or slangs when on an official call. Make sure that all your words are clear when you speak.
Do not transfer aggression to a customer
Even if you are having a bad day or the client is giving you a tough time on the phone, never respond rudely. Rather try to pacify an irate customer then present a solution or ways in which their grievances can be handled.
Do not chew or nibble on bits of food when answering the phone.
Bonus Point: Have a script. If you are the one placing the call, it is safer to think through and plan what you will say on the call. It can’t hurt you to rehearse.