Phone Answering: Skills
The phone is always ringing when you’ve got a thriving business whose services are in demand, so it’s important to ensure that your incoming calls are being handled with the best possible care. This is, after all, the first point of contact for your customers. Within society today, people have found it easier to slip into a far more casual, nonchalant sort of tone and manner when dealing with customers or potential clients in person or via telephone. The world is, in a sense, becoming desensitized in a lot of ways and it is carrying through to our daily interactions with others. Below we’ve listed some important aspects of a good call’s handling. Compare them to your current call processes and see how they match up:
Etiquette & Professionalism: First things first, let’s get to it and answer that call! Timeliness is essential. If your customers are waiting forever to have that call answered, they may just believe you’re too busy or simply not concerned with addressing incoming inquiries. Answering the phone requires a greeting and this is ultimately the golden opportunity to set that crucial first impression. Make sure that the greeting being used is adequately addressing the level of formality that your business should require. Another good aspect of this portion of the call is the opportunity for whoever is answering to make themselves known. By introducing yourself when greeting the caller, you are creating warmth and already developing a sense of connection with the customer. Last but not least, let’s keep it professional and respectful by minimizing all background noise. Nobody likes to go unheard or having to repeat themselves.
Efficiency: The key component to this aspect is staying focused. Having minimal distractions, background noise and side conversations are the best possible ways to stay efficient. Nobody enjoys distractions because a customer’s time is valuable, as is yours! Next up, let’s ensure that a lot of listening is taking place. How are your customers’ needs or wants going to be adequately addressed if nobody is really hearing what they are looking for? Listening and paraphrasing let’s your customer or potential client know that they’re being taken seriously. In addition, ensure that you have all the proper tools or programs readily available to ensure a seamless call.
Knowledge: Once an incoming caller has been greeted professionally, listened to adequately, and confirmed to be heard correctly, it’s time to put those concerns to work! Don’t think for a second that a customer cannot hear right through someone trying to pull the wool over their eyes by answering questions with a ‘whole lot of nothing’. When people call in looking for answers, typically they’re already familiar enough to get an idea of what they’re expecting, and if they’re not familiar – they certainly deserve to get the best possible explanation anyhow. All of your company information should be readily available to be given and used to address those concerns or questions. From everything to hours of operation, to the year your company was established and all the way up to policies, procedures and pricing – this information should be completely available to the customer without the need for consistent referencing of materials or pauses for research on the call. This aspect is the next best possible opportunity to ‘wow’ your potential customer and re-iterate that wonderful first impression that was given when the call was originally answered.
The truth about a Virtual Assistant is that they’re formally trained to deliver in all aspects of etiquette and professionalism, efficiency and knowledge.
Take a hard look at who’s answering your phones and how they are going about it. Perhaps it’s time to stop wasting money on your 8-5 receptionist and start using a Virtual Assistant instead. Your phone calls can be handled with care, efficiency and by knowledgeable VA’s. Leave your customers or potential clients in awe, leave them to ask only one question, “Was that for real?” After all, after such a surreal & refreshing experience, how could you not wonder if you’re dreaming?