Although social media, emails, live chat and web enquiries are very important in the day-to-day running of a company, phone conversations are still the preferred tool of choice when it comes to business interactions. The way you answer a phone plays a huge role in the perception of your company, and a professional, helpful and friendly phone manner can make-or-break a sale. Here are ten tips to help you answer the phone professionally.
1. Make sure you answer the call quickly. The caller has made the choice to contact your company over your competitors’; the least you can do is not leave them with a line that rings and rings.
2. However clichéd it may sound, answering the call with a smile on your face really does work. Even if you are having a bad day, it helps you to sound warm and enthusiastic.
3. Use your company name in your greeting – this clarifies who you are and sets the tone for a professional interaction.
4. Use professional language and speak clearly – pronounce every word and avoid using words such as “yeah” and “cheers.”
5. Double-check any information you are writing down and re-confirm any spellings you are unsure of. This includes names, email addresses and phone numbers.
6. Teach yourself the phonetic alphabet to confirm spellings, postcodes etc.
7. Remain professional and positive at all times, even if you are unsure of answers to their questions. “Let me come back to you” is so much better than “I don’t know.”
8. If the caller is expecting a return call, give them a timescale of when this is likely to be.
9. If it is necessary to put the caller on hold, update them every few seconds or offer them a call-back.
10. Don’t forget your out-of-hours callers. Ensure you have a professional answer machine in place – don’t put them off by using an impersonal answerphone or letting the phone ring.