OfficeHQ’s Top 10 Tips for answering the phone like a pro

Not everybody is great on the telephone. In fact, many people avoid answering phone calls entirely, especially when the incoming call is from an unknown number.

To guarantee a great first impression for your business you must ensure that the person answering the phone conducts themselves in a professional manner. To help you master the art, we share with you our most effective phone answering advice.

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OfficeHQ’s Top 10 Tips for answering the phone like a pro:

1. Smile. We can’t recommend this enough – you can hear the happiness radiate down the phone line.

2. Greet with your business name. Callers will know they have reached the correct company and not misdialled. If you are your own brand, answer using your own name instead.

3. Keep your greeting snappy. If your company name is exceptionally long or if there’s a tag line you like to use, don’t use both. The purpose for answering is to hear why this caller is phoning your business and to determine how you can help them. Long greetings can sound clumsy and scripted and encroach on the space where your caller wants to speak. Be mindful of listening to the caller.

4. Be consistent. However your phone is answered, make that part of your branding and make sure it is the same every time. Ensure that all staff members are familiar with your desired answering style too.

5. Be alert and on point. Listen to what your caller has to say and give them your full attention. Repeat names, phone numbers and email spellings to ensure they’re correct and that you can make contact again.

6. Speak clearly. This is especially important if the line is bad and there is distortion. By speaking clearly you eradicate a lot of repetition and wasted time on the phone and avoid potentially frustrating your caller.

7. Answer within three rings. This is standard expectation in business and shows that you’re available and eager for more work.

8. Always have a back-up plan. When you’re not able to answer within three rings it is important to have an alternative solution to answer your calls. Meetings, appointments, family time or even calls in the middle of the night require an effective solution to capture all your potential customers.

Your voicemail should be professional! (i.e. not a recording of your favourite music track or even the standard mobile greeting that’s supplied as standard by your provider) Your callers need to know they’ve reached the right person or company and have confidence that their message has been received.

Record a clear greeting yourself or ask OfficeHQ to arrange a voicemail account for you. Even better, why not get yourself a virtual receptionist to answer the phone when you can’t? OfficeHQ offer live receptionist cover 24×7 every day (and night!) of the year.

9. Return calls when you say you’re going to. If you say you’re going to call back, then do it. Even if you don’t have the right information yet – just phone your client to say you don’t have an answer yet. This shows them that they’re valued, important and that you’re thinking about them. Remember too that some of your callers who haven’t embraced mobile technology may wait at home for your call. Keep that old fashioned etiquette alive.

10. Enjoy speaking on the phone! We are blessed with a plethora of means of effective communication, which as well as giving us a 24×7 international audience and keeping us all busy around the clock, it also means we can always be in contact with one another.

If any of your business clients contact you via telephone, then enjoy it. These are the people who will keep you in business and tell their friends about you and there is no better marketing tool than happy customers!

Kate Thomson

OfficeHQ Pty Ltd

1300 ANSWER (1300 267 937)

www.officehq.com.au

 

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Virtual Reception – not just for start-ups!

What do you think when you hear the words “virtual receptionist”? Most businesspeople think of small businesses, staffing crises, and a desire to “look bigger than we are”.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

It’s true that start-ups, sole traders and SMEs can get significant benefits from virtual reception services. However, a growing number of medium and large businesses are realising that virtual receptionists can provide them with a number of advantages over the competition.

Let’s take a look at three myths about virtual reception being “just for start-ups”, and how the capabilities of phone answering services can be applied to larger organisations.

Myth: Start-ups need virtual receptionists to compensate for a lack of staff.

Reality: All businesses can benefit from greater front-desk availability.

Many larger businesses may assume that low headcount is an issue only experienced by their smaller counterparts. But what about after-hours or holiday periods, when most employees aren’t available; and peak demand windows, when staff may face more inquires than they can handle? Failure to maintain adequate phone answering service during these times can result in lost leads, missed opportunities, and reputational damage – no matter the size of the enterprise.

Professional virtual receptionists, like those provided by OfficeHQ, can be “on stand-by” to take overflow or cover for times when regular employees are unavailable. In other words, a call answering service doesn’t have to be running 24/7: it can scale to your business’ capacity requirements whether you’re a start-up or an ASX-listed enterprise.

Myth: Only start-ups need to work on having a good “phone manner”.

Reality: All businesses can benefit from more timely and refined telephone responses.

How often have you let the phone ring simply because you were working on something else? Or gotten a tetchy email from a customer when your colleague didn’t pass on a message? The phone is the “first impression” of your organisation: prompt answering and reliable message-taking are only two elements that you need to put your best foot forward. This helps start-ups look like larger, more established outfits, but also sustains the reputation of larger businesses.

Virtual receptionists are, above all else, timely. The best virtual reception services will respond to 90% of calls within 10 seconds, reducing abandoned calls and generating higher rates of customer and stakeholder satisfaction (OfficeHQ, for example, offers uptime guarantees similar to the best hosting providers). They’ll also offer a range of message delivery options, from email transcripts to SMS notifications that summarise the caller’s details and get them to you as quickly as possible. They can even notify the caller that a message has been delivered for that extra touch of customer service. It’s the little things that count.

Myth: Start-up owners can’t afford to lose a lead while they’re out of the office.

Reality: Neither can CEOs.

Mobility is a big part of business today; we travel and engage in meetings far more frequently, in more locations, than ever before. Both small businesses and larger ones need to ensure their people stay readily contactable without reducing their mobility. Losing a sales lead from a missed call hurts, no matter whether you’re a bootstrapping entrepreneur or top-tier executive.

Virtual reception services do more than simply answer calls on behalf of the business. They can also centrally manage the number of channels which someone might use to contact an individual. Virtual receptionists can receive calls from both landline extensions and mobile numbers, for example, allowing them to eliminate duplicate messages and inform the caller of the employee’s situation.

Angela Peverell
angela@officehq.com.au | 1300 ANSWER (1300 267 937)
Sales & Marketing Director, OfficeHQ Pty Ltd

 http://www.officehq.com.au