There have been and still are relentless developments in 21st-century entrepreneurship. There is a surge in business players moving their operations online. The digital economy is laden with endless opportunities and that is why people are leveraging on the internet and social media more than ever before. Be that as it may, the use of voice calls for communication between businesses and customers still rules. It is well set to remain a major part of business operations even as more technologies emerge. Especially for small businesses, this is inevitable. In this article, I am discussing tips on how to professionally handle phone calls at your small business.
The 3 Rings Rule
This reminds me of the many times I have referenced this in my social life. Here is the thing; I once worked in a professional office environment for 3 years. I got so used to adhering to phone etiquette so much that I ended up applying it even in my social life. So you can imagine me getting annoyed by anyone failing to pick up my calls in time. Anyways, the rule of thumb is that calls must be picked up within 3 rings. As a business make sure any phone call that comes in is picked up within 3 rings. It is akin to promptly attending to customers, they expect that of you.
Voice Pitch, Pace And Tone Matter
You must be wary of how you project your voice when making or taking calls. Use a low but audible pitch and be steady (do not speak too fast or too slow). Your tone must exhibit courtesy and respect so that people are comfortable talking to you. You must make a conscious effort on this because some people are naturally fast-paced in their voice pace or maybe too slow. It takes practice and making a conscious effort to put this into practice.
Pleasantries And Identification Come First
When you pick up the phone or even when you are making a call, first things first. Warmly greet the person on the other end of the line. Immediately couple that with identifying yourself. For instance, your business is called Cyberglobal Innovations. You can start a phone by saying, “Hello, good morning”. That can be followed by “How are you?” after they acknowledge your first message. You then can introduce yourself as follows, “My name is Clive Masarakufa from Cyberglobal Innovations.” Alternatively, you can just say, “Good morning. Clive from Cyberglobal Innovations speaking…” The basic idea is to warmly greet and immediately introduce yourself.
Do Not Be Colloquial
It is common for anyone to speak informally i.e. using slang language. That is not professional for a business to do because it gives off the wrong message. As a business entity, you must use formal language and desist from the temptation to be colloquial. It is also important for you to be sensitive to spoken language considerations. It is possible to encounter people who might be more inclined towards a particular spoken language e.g. Ndebele or Shona. If you happen to know their language well then it is noble to adjust. If you are not then you can let them be attended to by someone who can. The bottom line is that you must avoid slang language by all means.
Do Not Project Negative Energies
Generally, people go through different types of personal challenges. At times one can get to work or their businesses in a bad mood. However, it is important to not project that negative energy when handling phone calls. For instance, you can be speaking with a low tone or responding bluntly due to a bad mood. When making or taking calls force yourself to be in the moment and just even pretend to be in a good mood. Voices can emit or project negative energy (or bad vibes) so be conscious of this.
Dynamics Of Taking Down Messages
When taking phone calls, there are times when you will have to take down messages. It can be messages needing attention later e.g. having to call someone back. It can be to follow up on something which the caller would want to know later on. The possible reasons are infinite but make sure you take down the messages accurately – that is first and foremost. Secondly, make sure you act on them as is necessary. Suppose someone called to speak to someone who is possibly not around at the moment. Ensure that when that person returns you inform them and the person is called back immediately. Have a working regime where you cannot forget; you can use virtual or physical sticky notes for reminders.
Dynamics Of Putting People On Hold
Putting people on hold tends to be inevitable but there is a way to do. One, do not just place them on hold all of a sudden. Kindly inform them that you are now putting them on hold. Two, it can be very annoying to keep people waiting for too long. To help matters, kindly check in on your caller, for instance, every 45 seconds. You can simply update them on what is currently happening or the progress that has been made regarding what they are waiting for. For example, “Apologies for keeping you waiting, Grace Marumbwa will be on the line any moment from now…”
These are 7 of some of the tips to bear in mind when handling phone calls as a business. People are very particular about how they are treated in general; during phone calls is no exception. You can land or lose customers just by how you handle your phone calls. Remember that it is also in your best interest and your customer’s to always pick up calls – do not ignore calls.