If you frequently handle calls for your business, you know the importance of phone etiquette! Call centers regularly handle large call volumes, and must maintain high customer service levels. Try the following call center techniques to leave callers with a strong positive impression of your business.
How should I sound on the phone?
Sometimes, your voice at the end of the line is the only impression of the company your caller will get! People are often unaware of how their voice reflects to the listener. Enunciate clearly, speak slowly and sound enthusiastic. Smile when you answer the phone—it sounds cheesy, it creates a noticeable difference in your tone. You may take a variety of calls ranging from executives to clients and vendors, so be sure to maintain your positive tone of voice throughout the day.
What should I say or avoid saying?
Find ways to accentuate the positive, and make the caller feel unique. Instead of “what can I do for you?” try “how are you?” This allows you to engage the caller for a moment or two. If the caller asks how you’re doing, try an enthusiastic response (“I’m great! Thank you for asking”) rather than “fine, thanks.” Avoid filler words (“um,” “ah,”), and replace “sure” with “absolutely!” or “of course!” Use the caller’s name periodically throughout the conversation to create a sense of familiarity. If a caller says “thank you,” never reply “uh huh.” You may only speak with a caller for a few seconds, so make every moment count.
What if I don’t know a caller’s name?
If the caller drops any hints, such as mentioning that they called earlier, do a quick search for any record of their name. Don’t always trust caller ID, as they may be using a phone not associated with their name. Once you identify a caller’s name, verify the spelling. You don’t want to follow up a call by emailing “Catherine” instead of “Kathryn.” Use a phonetic alphabet to verify spelling (“K” as in “kite).
What’s the best way to take a message?
As the caller speaks, jot down what he or she says. Afterwards, restate it in your own words. The caller will feel more confident that you fully understand the message. Say, “May I ask who’s calling?” and take note of the caller’s name and how it’s pronounced.
What if I can’t answer a question?
Avoid making up answers, or saying, “I don’t know” or “I can’t do that.” In business, almost no one will ever admit to not knowing the answer to a question. Put a positive spin on the situation, and emphasize what you CAN do for the caller. Say, “That’s a good question! Let me put you in touch with John. He would be happy to help you with x, y or z.”