No matter what type of business you’re in, first impressions matter. This is true if a customer is walking into your location or calling your business on the phone. To avoid negative first impressions that can happen over the phone, train your employees to avoid these top 10 telephone turnoffs.
- Don’t let the phone ring more than three times. Every ring equates to about 18 seconds of time for the caller. Letting the phone ring for a while may seem like it’s happening fast for you, but it feels like a long wait for potential customers.
- Don’t veer from the script. With every caller, be sure to consistently follow your company’s phone-answering script. At a minimum, you should state the company’s name so the caller knows they’ve reached the right place, introduce yourself, and offer to help the caller with whatever they need.
- Don’t be uninformed. You must be prepared to answer common customer questions and know where to direct callers for specific needs. Depending on your business, this may include knowing your hours of operation, directions from various parts of town, and the special promotions currently in place. Be careful not to just quickly direct the caller to the company website or another person – if you can answer their question, you should.
- Don’t use slang. Always speak professionally with callers. Your words should be a reflection of the company’s brand.
- Don’t scowl. Even though the person on the other end of the line can’t see you, they can often sense your mood through your voice. Smile when you’re on the phone – it will reflect in your speaking tone.
- Don’t multi-task. Customers – both in person and on the phone – deserve your complete attention. If you must juggle a phone call with someone in person, politely put the caller on hold. If an in-person customer approaches you while you’re on the phone, smile and make eye contact so they know you’ve noticed them, but wait to help them until you’ve finished the call.
- Don’t talk to anyone other than the person on the other end of the line. If the caller hears your muffled voice or can’t tell whether you’re talking to them or someone else, they will feel unappreciated.
- Don’t rush. Talk slowly, and take the time to clarify that the person on the other end of the line got what they needed from you.
- Don’t treat callers like they’re an interruption to your day. People who call in to your business represent an opportunity to start or nurture a long-term business relationship. Treat them accordingly.
- Don’t end the call abruptly. The way you end a call is just as important as the way you begin it. Always thank callers for reaching out, and offer your assistance in the future.
Training to Avoid Telephone Turnoffs
Even though the world now has more phones than it has people, an astounding percentage of younger employees are not comfortable actually talking on the phone. Phone etiquette training can help all your employees understand what is expected of them when they answer the phone. Make sure your training also includes how to use the different features of your phone system.