Customer Service Training - TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION
Effective telephone practices
We have all used the telephone most of our lives and most of us think we use it well. These are, however some telephone practices that work especially well in business and form a basis for establishing a good relationship with customers.
Here we look at certain telephone practices that your company expects you to follow and will help you in your work.
When to answer the telephone
When the phone rings you will probably be busy with other things. Let it ring the three times. This will allow you to give your full attention to the incoming call by finishing what you are doing and preparing yourself.
Ending the call
Always thank the customer and always hang up after the customer has done so. If the customer has something to say, you want to hear it.
Your opening remarks should always contain a greeting, your company’s name and/or your department and/or, your Christian name and an offer of assistance.
How long on hold? When you’re on the telephone time seems extended so you must be careful. Here are some guidelines:
- Always give the customer the choice of holding on.
- Use the hold button if your telephone has one. Remember the
receiver will carry sound even though the mouthpiece is covered.
- If your customer prefers to hold, check back every 15-20 seconds to give them a progress report.
- If you’ll be away for more than 3-4 minutes you should suggest calling the customer back.
- Always thank the customer for waiting when you get back to him/her.
- Always ring the customer back exactly when you said you would, even if it is only to let them know what is going on. There is nothing more annoying than someone promising to phone you back in ten minutes and not doing so.
- Always inform the customer that they are going to be transferred, and to whom the call is being transferred.
- If you cannot transfer immediately always ask the customer if he/she would like to have someone ring them back and when.
Take time to be helpful. This will help you keep a good relationship with the customer, ensuring their goodwill and future or additional business.
Listen to the customer’s voice, tone etc and be aware if this changes for any reason. Always encourage the speaker, show genuine interest, use phrases like:
“I’d like to hear about that.”
Take the time to attend to each detail so that both you and the customer have the same accurate information. If the customer is wary because they don’t know the answers, offer to help. Say that you will contact the end user and then get back to the customer.
Use the customer’s name. Frequent use of the customer’s name indicates that he/she is more to you than just a voice at the other end of the line.
Engage in side conversation if time permits. Showing an interest in the customer and their business will identify opportunities as well as make your job more interesting,
Normal, everyday politeness applies to the phone as well as face to face contact.
Don’t interrupt or try and guess what the customer means before they have finished talking. “Thank you”, “please” and “you’re welcome” are phrases we do not hear enough on the phone.
Enthusiasm is infectious and it will distinguish you from the other companies that your customer could go to.
These are not difficult practices to adopt but they are difficult to maintain time after time. You need self discipline and a genuine desire to be good at your job. The rest is easy.
- Prosell offers a program that combines sales training and sales coaching. It is based on recognised research, which tells us that training alone has limited impact and that when supported by skilful coaching, has 74% more chance of being implemented.
- Prosell has resources to deliver these programs across Australia, covering Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.