Businesses receive hundreds of calls each year. Business telephone etiquette is essential, as phone conversations are limited in comparison to face-to-face meetings.
Believe it or not, business telephone etiquette begins before a phone call takes place and ends after you hang up your phone. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure positive business interactions via the phone.
Preparing to Answer the Telephone
How you prepare for a phone call will dictate the rest of the conversation. Anticipate and think about when and how you will answer the call.
Consider your caller.
What industry are you representing? Who are your typical callers? Do they tend to be emergency medical patients, or are they in need of the assistance of a plumber next weekend? Be aware of the caller’s reason for calling and how they might need help so that you can address their concerns in a quick manner.
If you are making the call, think about the clear objective that you wish to convey.
When to let it ring.
Answering a telephone call on the first ring might be a surprise to the caller. Letting the phone ring longer than 3 rings might make the caller concerned that you are preoccupied. Ideally, answer the call after two rings.
When you answer, give them your all. You should finish eating, drinking, talking to others before you pick-up.
Smile before you pick-up the phone, be friendly, and show them that you are there to support their needs. Include your business name, and use phrases such as, “How may I help you today?”.
Telephone Etiquette while talking on the phone
During the call, each party should have the appropriate time and opportunities to talk. You want to make sure that each person is heard and their questions and concerns are being addressed.
To be heard, you should speak calmly and clearly with the right amount of volume. Learn to adjust these aspects depending on who is on the other line.
Your language is as important as its clarity. Don’t use any slang or swear words.
Learn to listen and hold yourself back from interrupting. When needed, remember to ask permission to place a call on hold. Check the frequency of the call on hold. If you get off track for any reason, remember to tackle the objective of the call and end on a positive note.
Finishing the Telephone call
Before the call comes to an end you need to make sure that your caller’s, and your objectives have been met.
Know how to further escalate the call.
• Get a phone number. If the caller or you come up with more information, or if the call drops, you can properly finish the conversation. You could even schedule a follow-up conversation.
• Wrap things up. If you have to transfer the call, do so at this moment. You can ask final questions and close on a positive note. Before finishing the conversation remember to ask the caller “Is there anything else I can do to help?”.
How you start, continue and finish a conversation is important for impactful relationship building. These guidelines of basic business telephone etiquette will go a long way.