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ARTICLESTelephone Manners

IT ALL STARTS WITH A CALL. MAKE THE MOST OF IT

In spite of email and Internet getting popular, telephone will always play a key role in customer service.

The manner of handling telephone calls greatly influences customer’s perception of the entire company.

Developing professional telephone skills help to handle customer requests in a prompt, courteous and consistent manner. Consistency is important as it builds trust. It lets the customer know what to expect.

If you have met or exceeded his expectations then in all certainty he will call you again and again for all his requirements and will relate his experience to others. That means more callers. It means more customers. This basic but important customer service concept, if understood and practiced diligently will surely lead to success and growth.

A fact always to remember in telephone communication is that the customer cannot see you. You have to make up for this shortfall with your voice and words. It is all about WHAT you say and HOW you say it. It has to be effective enough to compensate other lines of communication. To communicate effectively with customers over the telephone one must understand how to handle calls professionally. Other than a caring attitude one needs to send messages that are positive and professional.

ANSWER THAT CALL

Your path towards successful customer service starts here. It is critical to the success of the company. It is normally expected that a call be picked up in one or two rings. This shows our alertness to the call. It tells him that we pay attention and that we need him. Any business possibility starts with that phone call. If answered well and in good time, we have taken a step in the right direction in servicing and getting his business.

ANSWER IT WELL

I once called this company and while it was picked in the first ring, the person at the other end answered as “Goomorning thisis ABZee entatainment, sheilaspeking how may I yelp you” After a good 10 seconds of pregnant silence and further 40 seconds of enquiry I realized that it was ABC entertainment and that I was speaking to Sheila who wanted to help me. PHEW! I wonder why the rush to complete the initial address. Just as picking a call in decent time is important, answering it slowly, clearly with a good accent is vital for the customer to continue. While Sheila might have been repeating this address for the umpteenth time that day, it is essential that she is slow, clear and deliberate to avoid putting off the caller. Answering a call efficiently rather than mechanical, shows interest in the call.

SMILE AWAY

You need to start smiling on the phone from this moment onwards. One way of doing this is to be able to see yourself smiling and look willing and ready to assist the customer. For if you are looking positive and smiling this is sure to reflect in your voice and words.

GREETINGS
Though organizations have different manners of answering calls, it is normal to wish, identify your company, introduce yourself and check how you could help. The order could change depending on the company. There are companies that feel you should stop after introducing yourself. This being the last uttered word in the greeting, the customer has your name registered. It is obvious that you picked the call to help. Stopping with your name helps, as the instinctive reaction from the customer is to give his name in reply. You could then go on with “How may I help you Mr. …”.

Learning his name and addressing him by it, helps build rapport and is a key element towards customer satisfaction.

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