We live in a world surrounded by technology people use to communicate. Most people would probably prefer a text message over a phone call. A lot of kids and teenagers who have grown up having cell phones hardly make phone calls at all anymore. Whether you’re young and skilled with technology or elderly and have hardly ever been on the internet, there are proper phone etiquette techniques to follow.
These can apply if you’re having an interview over the phone, speaking with a business or talking with a relative. Today you’ll read about the five main rules to follow when it comes to proper telephone etiquette and shortly you’ll be able to apply these to your everyday life.
1. Be Quick to Answer the Phone
This tip can be easily applied anywhere but especially if you have to answer phones at your job. Have you ever made a phone call and it kept ringing and ringing? The majority of people don’t have the patience to sit on the telephone while it rings seven or eight times.
Answering the phone quickly not only keeps the person on the other line from getting more irritated, but it also shows them that they are a priority. The proper etiquette here is to answer the phone in no more than four rings. This shows the person on the other end that the company you work for is organized and has their priorities straight.
If you work in an environment where you have multiple phones to answer and you’re already on a call when another phone call is coming in there’s additional etiquette for those situations. You could also ask the customer you’re on the line with if they mind if you answer the phone quickly and let them know you’ll be back in no time at all.
2. Rehearse the Phone Call
When you’re expecting to receive phone calls, winging it won’t cut it most of the time. It could greatly benefit you to rehearse what you’re going to say. This can help if the person calling is frustrated or in a bad mood. You’ll know what to say without getting heated in the moment and reacting poorly.
Some jobs may require you to follow a script which can make things a lot easier since the script will follow proper telephone etiquette already. Just make sure you have a warm tone when speaking on the phone.
Practicing how you speak is just as important as what you say. Since it’s a phone call, it’s easy to pick up on emotions through tone of voice. If you practice what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say enough, even on the days where it’s hard to be polite, your etiquette should naturally kick in to get you through the call.
3. Getting Connected
Sometimes you won’t be able to help the customer yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t connect them to someone who can. When this happens, you want to avoid a customer getting angry due to having to talk to another person. This is a great reason you should use the word “connect” rather than something like “transfer.” Connect has a warmer connotation, and it feels less like you’re passing the customer around from person to person.
If you’re in this situation you could say something along the lines of “To get you the help you need, I can connect you with someone who’s well versed in that area. Is that okay if I connect you now so you can quickly get on with your day?” Doing this will make the customer feel cared about and helps them to realize that you know they have a life to get back to. Make sure to stay on the line to be sure the connection worked properly.
4. Ask; Don’t Tell
An easy way to get a customer angry is to put them on hold without asking if they’re okay with it, especially if they’ve just been connected to someone new. Putting someone on hold is often the last resort on your end and should be treated as such.
You’ve probably been put on hold yourself, and it’s not the best feeling in the world, especially if you’re calling during your lunch break or a timed period in your day. One thing we do know is that sometimes being put on hold is necessary to get the person the help or information they’re looking for.
When this occurs, thank the caller for their time, ask nicely if they mind waiting while you find the information they need, wait for them to let you know it’s okay, and then proceed. Do not keep someone on hold for more than a minute unless necessary. If a situation occurs where they need to be on hold longer than a minute, don’t be afraid to check in and let them know what you’re doing so they don’t feel forgotten.
5. Properly End the Call
Taking the time to properly say goodbye and end the call can make a big difference. Make sure to ask if there’s anything else the person needs, thank them for their time, and let them know you hope they enjoy their day.
Let them know you understand any frustration they felt and that you’re happy the matter got resolved. Use their name when speaking to them, so they feel heard and appreciated. Lastly, when it’s time to hang up, make sure the customer does so first, so there aren’t any feelings of being rushed off the line.
Phone calls don’t have to be intimidating, and it doesn’t take much to learn proper telephone etiquette. Phone etiquette can help customers have a better experience, and make your job easier by not having to deal with angry people. Make the customer feel like they matter, and that you are there to help them with what they need in a friendly manner, and you’re on your way to having great phone calls!
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