The modern era is dominated by instant messaging, social media, and text messaging, making good phone etiquette as standard a thing of the past. So, when you pick up the phone at work, what do you need to do to sound professional? Let’s explore.
Most people are skeptical about the origin of a call, even if your business shows up on caller ID. Before anything else, introduce yourself and the company you are calling from to settle any doubts that the customer may have.
Enunciate your words clearly and carefully – you may find it is easier to do so if you speak a fraction slower than your typical talking voice.
It might seem pointless, as no one can actually see you smile, however smiling can help you to keep your tone of voice light and cheerful. In a sense, customers should be able to hear your smile through the phone!
By evoking positive emotions, this can help the customer feel more safe and comfortable, making for a more pleasant and productive interaction. You will be surprised how much a dash of positivity can diffuse fraught conversations.
Utilise your technology
Business phone systems can come with a whole host of additional features, such as call monitoring, analytics, call forwarding, and more. Make the most of the technology you have to hand, improving the productivity and the efficiency of your calls.
After all, 33% of global customers want to have their issue resolved in a single interaction, and 21% do not want to have to repeat themselves when they are transferred. Use your communications tools to make notes so that issues can be solved quickly and efficiently.
Use colloquial language
In the UK, research has found that there is still a prevalent accent bias. Middle class voices and received pronunciation (RP) are still the most positively received accents, despite the country’s growing diversity.
However, this does not mean that you need to put on a fake posh voice! Avoid using colloquial language, staying away from all the slang in your vocabulary. Though this won’t change your accent, it will certainly improve the formality of your exchanges.
Leave people waiting
A general rule of thumb is to pick up the phone before or on the third ring – anything longer than this might come across as rude or lazy. If you are putting someone on hold, always tell them what you are going to do, and try not to leave them on hold for more than 30 seconds without an update.
Rely on voicemail
Truth is, most people hate leaving voicemails, especially the younger generations. By leaving calls to go to voicemail, this can seriously put off a lot of potential customers. The fact that voicemails are instant and unrecordable, they can leave some people feeling quite anxious. Instead of leaving a voicemail, they might simply hang up and go somewhere else.
If you are doing other activities whilst on the phone, this can draw your attention away from the conversation, which will certainly be picked up on by the customer. Always give your full attention to the phone call at hand – be present in the moment. If you need to do another task, such as use your computer system, during the call, simply let the customer know what you are doing – they won’t mind!