2How to use telephone etiquette to create and enhance business relationships. Proper telephone etiquette is more important than ever in today's business environment. Much of our business communication takes place on the phone: in the office, at home, in the car, virtually anywhere. In this area, proper phone technique can make or break deals or relationships. The following are some guidelines to help you use the phone as a power tool.
3First is the greeting.When answering the phone for business, be sure to identify yourself and your company.A pleasant and friendly tone of voice is essential.Offer assistance, by asking how you could help.Remember to always smile while you answer the phone. Even though the customer cannot see you, they sure can hear you.
4Outbound calling:When you are the person making the call, be sure to use proper phone etiquette from the start.Identify yourself, company, and department.Be polite and courteous to them.Get their names in case you need to call back.
5While answering the phone: Answer calls promptly, preferably by the second or third ring.Smile as you answer the phone.Assume your telephone voice, controlling your volume and speed.Project a tone that is enthusiastic, natural, attentive and respectful.Greet the caller and identify yourself, company, department, etc.Ask ‘to whom am I speaking with?’.Ask ‘how may I help you?’.
6During the course of the call: Focus your entire attention on the caller.Use plain English and avoid unnecessary jargon and acronyms.Use action specific words and directions.Use the caller’s name during the conversation.Always speak calmly and choose your words naturally.
7Use all your listening skills: Focus your full attention on the caller and the conversation.Listen between the words.Use reflective and active listening to clarify and to check understanding.If there is a problem, project a tone that is concerned, empathetic and apologetic.Avoid the five forbidden phrases.
8Five forbidden phrases: ‘I don’t know’. Instead say ‘ that is a good question, let me find out for you’. If some research is required, place the customer on hold or assure the customer that you would call back at a specific time.‘I/we cant do that’. Instead replace with, ‘this is what I/we can do’.‘You’ll have to’. Instead say, ‘you will need to’ or ‘I need you to’ or here’s how we can help you’.‘Just a second’. Instead give a more honest estimate of how long it would take and explain what you would be doing.‘No’. Find a way to state the situation positively.
9LEAPS: Use LEAPS with the emotional caller to vent: L – listen, allow the caller to vent.E – empathize, acknowledge the persons feelings.A – apologize when appropriate, even if the fault is not yours.P – be positive.S – solve, suggest solutions to fix the issue.
10Transferring the caller: Transfer ONLY when necessary; get information by yourself.If you must transfer, avoid using the word ‘transfer’ instead use the phrase ‘I am going to connect you with…’.Explain why you are transferring the call.Stay on the line and introduce the caller.
11Telephone etiquette don'ts: Eat, drink or chew gum while on the phone.Leave an open line.Place the caller on hold for extended durations of time. (Not more than two minutes).
12Concluding the call:End the conversation in agreement of what is to happen next. If you are to follow up, do so immediately.Thank the caller for calling and invite the caller to call again, if he/she needs to.