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© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Essential Telephone Skills
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | You will learn: To describe and apply ten techniques that maximize effectiveness in receiving, handling and routing telephone calls. To learn the three parts of the Telephone Doctor recommended telephone greeting and state their purpose. To establish do’s and don’ts of fundamental telephone communications.
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Take the Before-and- After Skills Inventory
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | View Program
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Ways you can create a positive first and last impression
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | What is the purpose of this program? To show how to answer, handle and route incoming calls in a professional manner. To learn ten skills that will leave a positive impression with every caller. Establish Dos and Don’ts of fundamental telephone communications. How can you set the tone for a positive interaction with the caller? Answer the phone in a professional manner. Listen carefully to the caller. Speak in a warm, friendly manner. Use the caller’s name during your conversation. Exceed the caller’s expectations in providing outstanding service. Why is the manner in which you answer the phone important to your organization? You are the first line of contact the caller interacts with and you want to create a positive first impression. Your caller’s first impression of your organization depends on YOU. Satisfied callers are likely to call again, continuing to do business with your organization.
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Key Point #1: Answering a Business Call
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Discuss The first words you say to a caller are critical. They welcome the caller and set a positive, professional tone for the rest of the call. What is the best way to greet callers? What two important purposes do the buffer words serve? Why should your name come last in the three-part greeting?
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Telephone Doctor® Prescription Use the three-part greeting. Begin with a pleasant buffer. Example: “Thank you for calling…” Follow with the name of the organization or department. Example: “…Mollner Industries…” End with your name. Example: “…this is Kine.” Substitute your department or group for organization name. Example: “Good morning. Thank you for holding. Parts department, this is Jeremy.”
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Key Point #2: Putting a Caller on Hold
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Discuss Recall some outgoing business calls you’ve made recently. On how many of them were you put on hold? Do you often need to put your callers on hold? Although placing callers on hold is common to many business calls, a recent survey revealed that being put on hold was the number one cause of caller complaints. Why do you suppose that is? What common mistakes do many people make when putting callers on hold? What is the best way to put callers on hold? If a caller is not able to hold, what should you do?
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Telephone Doctor® Prescription Let callers know why you need to put them on hold. Ask: “Are you able to hold?” Wait for a response. When callers are not able to hold, handle their needs by offering options.
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Key Point #3: Thanking the Caller for Holding
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Discuss What are some negative responses callers hear while holding? What are some positive responses that can reduce the frustration and ease the conversation back to the caller that has been holding?
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Telephone Doctor® Prescription Reduce frustration of being placed on hold. Ease the conversation back on a positive path. Put your organization head and shoulders above average.
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Key Point #4: Monogramming the Call
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Discuss When you give your name at the start of a business call, and the other person never uses it, what is your reaction? What impression do you form about the person/organization you’re dealing with? Why is it important for you to use your caller’s name, especially if he or she offers it to you without being prompted? If the caller has a name with which you are not familiar, what should you do? What should you avoid doing? Why is it important to be sure you have the correct spelling of the caller’s name? Taking the time to pronounce and spell the caller’s name correctly can have an added benefit for you. What is it?
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Telephone Doctor® Prescription If you know the caller’s name, use it. Spell and pronounce each caller’s name correctly; ask if you need help. Reintroduce yourself to the caller and build a relationship.
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Key Point #5: Avoiding Excuses
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Discuss Recall a recent incident where your request for information or assistance was met with excuses. How did you respond to the person taking your call? Why do callers find excuses annoying? What techniques can you use to keep from making excuses on incoming calls you handle? There will always be situations where callers ask for information or assistance you can’t directly provide. What responsibility do you have to those callers?
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Telephone Doctor® Prescription Callers want solutions, not excuses. Take responsibility for the call and express desire to assist. Let the caller know how you CAN help, not how you can’t help.
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Key Point #6: Giving Spoken Feedback Signals
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Discuss Have you ever been talking to someone on the phone and heard only silence from the other end? How did you react? What message does that silence send? Why is it especially important to give verbal feedback while talking on the phone? What can you do to make sure your callers know you’re paying attention while they’re talking?
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Telephone Doctor® Prescription Give spoken feedback. Mix responses to avoid sounding mechanical or insincere. Mirror back or rephrase the caller’s words to confirm understanding.
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Key Point #7: Being Prepared
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Discuss When you are taking a phone message for someone else, why is it important to write the message down word-for- word? What problems can result if you change the caller’s wording? What is the best way to avoid getting the message mixed up? What information should be included with all messages you take? Why is this important?
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Telephone Doctor® Prescription Keep a pen or pencil and a supply of writing paper near the phone at all times. Take phone messages word-for-word if possible; read message back to caller. Be sure message includes caller’s name, message, date, time and your name or initials.
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Key Point #8: Controlling the Conversation
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Discuss For a variety of reasons, some callers shift from topic to topic or get carried away on a subject that has no connection to your business or why they called. While visiting with a caller may build rapport, it isn’t always possible. What should you do if a caller sidetracks the conversation when you are short on time? What are the steps in the “back on track” technique? How does it refocus the conversation? What should you do if the “back on track” technique is unsuccessful in guiding the caller back to the original purpose of the call?
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Telephone Doctor® Prescription If a caller gets off the subject, take control of the conversation. Use the “back on track” approach. Ask a question related to the purpose of the call. Use a subtle buffer to soften your approach to getting the call back on track.
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Key Point #9: Avoiding Mouth Noises
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Discuss List four things you should avoid doing while talking on the telephone. Why should you avoid doing these things while handling a call? Why do people find these types of noises especially objectionable during a telephone conversation? Have you ever had a phone conversation with someone who was obviously eating, drinking, humming, etc.? What mental picture did you form of that person? What unspoken message can this behavior send your callers?
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Telephone Doctor® Prescription The phone mouthpiece or headset is a microphone that amplifies sound to the caller. While on a call, don’t eat, drink, hum or chew gum. Don’t distract or annoy callers with unpleasant mouth noises.
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Key Point #10: Leaving A Positive Last Impression
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Discuss What impression do you get when you begin to feel rushed toward the end of a conversation? How anxious would you be to talk with that person again? Why? Even if you’ve done a good job in handling the rest of the call, why is it still important to make a good last impression on your callers? What impression should you leave with every caller? What are some phrases you can use with callers that will help make a positive lasting impression?
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Telephone Doctor® Prescription A good last impression counts every bit as much as a good first impression. Make every caller feel important to you and to your organization. End your conversation on a positive note. Let callers know you are glad they called and are looking forward to hearing from them again.
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | Take the Before-and-After Skills Inventory Again ANSWERS 01. F 02. B 03. A 04. C 05. F 06. F 07. C 08. F 09. B 10. A 11. F 12. F 13. F 14. F 15. B
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | A CALL TO ACTION! Memorize the key points. Keep them in mind every time you use the telephone. Practice them!
© Telephone Doctor, Inc. | SUMMARY OF KEY POINTS Answering a Business Call: Use three-part greeting, begin with a buffer, follow with the name of organization or department, end with your name. Putting the Caller on Hold: Ask “Are you able to hold?” and wait for a response. Monogram the call: Use the caller’s name. Avoid excuses: Take responsibility for the call and express desire to assist. Giving Spoken Feedback Signals. Mix your responses to avoid sounding mechanical and insincere. Being Prepared. Be sure message includes caller’s name, message, date, time and your name or initials. Controlling the Conversation. Use the “Back on Track” approach. Ask a question related to the purpose of the call. Avoiding Mouth Noises. While on a call, don’t eat, drink, hum or chew gum. Leaving a Positive Last Impression: End your conversation on a positive note. Let callers know you are glad they called and are looking forward to hearing from them again. Thanking the Caller for Holding: Reduce frustration of being placed on hold.
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