These days, there are countless ways to connect with customers. Texts, emails, virtual consults, to name a few. But in most cases, the phone is still the preferred way businesses communicate with customers and potential customers. Even if you partner with a call center to help answer and make calls, you still need to make sure your team knows the basics of customer service and has great phone etiquette. Why? Your front desk or call center is a reflection of your company, so you want to make sure they are always putting their best foot forward when answering the phone.
At Miller Public Relations, one (of the many!) services we offer is quality assurance listening on incoming and outbound calls to see how your team handles the phone.
We’ve audited hundreds of hours of calls and compiled a few best practices to make your customers’ phone experience with you pleasant and memorable:
Tone matters. Yes, you want to be professional when answering the phone, but also be warm and enthusiastic. Once you connect with a caller, you are acting as the face of the company, so make a good first impression because every caller is a potential customer. Even if you’re having a bad day, your caller should not be able to tell!
Your greeting matters. Make sure to identify yourself and your company when you welcome the caller. A simple “Hello” is not enough. Instead, say something like this:
“Hi thank you for calling XYZ Company, this is Michelle, how may I help you?”
Volume and clarity matter. Be aware of how you come across when answering the phone. Are you enunciating your words and speaking slowly enough for the caller to be able to understand you?
Solutions matter. Callers are looking for solutions, not excuses. Whenever possible, answer with a “Yes!” Can I change my appointment time? Yes. Can I come in after work? Yes. Can I get more information? Yes! Are you getting it?
Wait times matter. If you must place a caller on hold, make sure to ask if you can place them on hold before you do so. It always helps to explain what you are doing before you place them on hold so that the caller feels cared for.
“I don’t know the answer to that question but I can certainly find out for you. May I place you on hold for just a moment?”
Do your very best to make sure a caller is not on hold for any longer than 45 seconds. Their time is valuable, too!
The details matter. Make sure to ask the caller’s name so that you can use it throughout the call. It will build relationships and goodwill.
Info gathering matters. If you work in the healthcare industry, make sure to ask for any information your front desk people or clinical team might need before the patient comes into the office. Things like:
- Insurance information
- Contact information (phone number and email)
- Reason for the call
Excellent phone skills where your caller feels welcomed and cared for can make a huge difference in whether a caller is turned into a customer. Consider this takeaway. Your call center or front desk team on the phones are your bank account every time they answer the phone. Every call is a potential customer that has the ability to increase your revenue. For this reason, training your team on telephone skills is an investment worth making!
If you need any assistance in training your team on phone skills, we’d love to help you!