In a world more reliant upon virtual communication than ever before, outside of a business setting a phone call can sometimes feel old-fashioned (often limited to something you try to do every week or so with a family member).
However, when it comes to business introductions, sales pitches, or the handling of sensitive information, nothing beats a phone conversation. Even as technology advances, it is unlikely that business phone calls will go away anytime soon. So how do you ensure you’re applying modern etiquette to this timeless form of communication? In order to ensure you are properly branding your company over the phone and providing exceptional customer service, we’ve assembled some do’s and don’ts to guide your calls:
Business Phone Etiquette Do’s:
- Introduce yourself. Even in the age of caller ID, it can be jarring to pick up the phone and jump right into a conversation. Remind the person you’re calling who you are and why you’re reaching out. They will appreciate the courtesy even if they recognized your name and number when they picked up.
- Speak clearly. Enunciation is so important when you don’t have body language cues to pick up on. Be sure to speak carefully and slowly so that the person on the other end of the line can understand you.
- Listen to requests. When you’re busy multitasking, it can be hard to focus on the requirements of the person on the phone. Set other tasks aside as you actively listen to requests from the caller. Ask follow-up questions for clarification and to show that you’re engaged in the conversation.
- Make the kind of call you’d like to receive. The Golden Rule applies to just about everything in life, but this is especially true in the business world. Treat callers the way you like to be treated on the phone. That means making easy, friendly conversation that accomplishes goals for both parties.
- Leave succinct voicemails. If you get someone’s voicemail, leave a message that’s short and sweet. Include your contact information and a quick indicator of why you’re calling.
Business Phone Etiquette Don’ts:
- Don’t answer the phone too casually in a business setting. A “Hello!” is fine but consider including your name as you pick up a call. State the name of the business when you’re answering the phone, too.
- Don’t leave people on hold for a long period of time. If you have to put a person on hold, ask them if it’s okay to do so. At times, it may be better to take down the caller’s number and ask to call them back later. There’s no quicker way to make a person feel unimportant than by placing them on an extended hold!
- Don’t talk with your mouth full. Your mom probably warned you not to do this, and if you’re making important calls over your lunch hour, you might be tempted to chat as you chew. Resist the urge! There’s nothing worse than someone smacking their lips in your ear.
- Don’t use slang. Unless you know the person on the other end of the line socially, it’s best to keep language professional. Swap out “hang on a sec” for “just a moment, please” and you’re sure to impress the person on the line – or at least not offend them with your casual vibes.
- Don’t speak too loudly. Depending on the volume in the room you’re in, you could be speaking far too loudly when making calls. Adjust your voice to a normal tone and don’t be afraid to ask the person you’re calling if they can hear you. Nobody likes being shouted at over the phone.
Try This: Business Phone Etiquette Tips for the Modern Age
You don’t get a second chance at a first impression. Since every phone call is a new opportunity to win over a customer, it’s important to deliver on caller expectations while delighting in unexpected ways. Achieve call handling excellence with these modern phone etiquette tips:
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- Introduce yourself. By putting a name to your voice, you set the stage for connection and understanding.
- Speak clearly, not too softly or too quickly. Enunciation is everything, especially when speaking with callers who are elderly or hard of hearing.
- Focus on the call/avoid distractions. Multitasking is incredibly inefficient, and callers can always tell when they aren’t getting your full attention.
- Summarize and repeat back what you’ve heard. This simple strategy can help ensure you’re staying focused on the conversation instead of just waiting your turn to speak.
- Ask follow up questions. Clarification can save serious time and energy for both parties.
- Convey your plan of action based on the info you’ve gathered. Callers like to be kept in the loop and may even offer insight into possible solutions.
Follow the Golden Rule
- Facilitate the kind of call you would want if you were calling a business. Keep kindness at the forefront of every conversation.
- Skip the slang…and the jargon. Don’t be too informal, and while overly technical language might sound impressive, it can alienate callers who aren’t familiar with such terms.
- Avoid putting callers on hold. Nobody likes to wait. Some callers may even opt to hang up and dial your competitor while you’re away from the conversation.
Phone Faux Pas
- Finish snacking before picking up the phone. Even the most discreet munching can be heard by callers.
- Avoid interrupting the caller. Practice patience, even when the person on the other end of the line is talking slowly or repeating themselves.
- Leave succinct messages and voicemails. If you have to leave a message for a customer, get straight to the point – you don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
Phone Etiquette Musts
- Practice empathy above all. Imagine the caller is a friend or relative who is in need of support and treat them how you’d want your loved one to be treated.
- Be patient, especially when speaking to older callers or those whose first language isn’t English. It’s impossible to know the story of every person you talk with, so give folks the benefit of the doubt whenever you can.
- Join forces with partners like MAP to provide great experiences for your callers. A professional virtual receptionist can handle each incoming call with empathy, patience, and grace. Best of all, your callers may never even realize they’re speaking with a third-party call answering professional!
MAP Communications can help make these do’s and don’ts a regular part of your calls with clients. With a proven track record and affordable rates, MAP makes the lives of small business owners easier. Allow live virtual receptionists and a proprietary call handling platform to transform the way you conduct business. Get started with a call today to set up your free trial.
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