We live in the modern era where texting, messaging, and automated phone services eliminate the need for direct person-to-person speaking. While this is our current digital mode of communicating, there is nothing more personal than a live person greeting you when you call a business.
You would think that it is easy to answer a phone and direct calls, but there is an art. If you want your business to sound professional when talking to clients and customers and turn leads into sales, you must have a strong communicator who knows what to say.
Here is how to answer a business phone call professionally.
1. Answer a phone call before the third ring
Everyone is busy, and they are calling you to get information. If you don’t answer promptly, they will simply move on and negatively impression your business.
Answer before the third ring or have voicemail to pick up if it goes longer. That way, the person on the line will be able to communicate with you or leave a message. Make sure to follow up quickly on messages before contacting your competitor.
2. Have your automated attendant direct the call
When you can’t answer in time, it is better to have an automated attendant to direct the call to service, sales, or a person’s extension. Make sure it is a pleasant greeting, so people hear that you have taken the time to set it up directly for their convenience. Alternatively, you can also use inbound call center services, especially helpful for large business organizations that get many calls each day.
3. Use a standard phone call script or greeting
Develop a professional script for the receptionist to use when answering the business phone call. It should be professional, stating the business name and asking how to help them. This may be the first contact a person has with your business, and you want it to be a great experience.
Make sure you talk professionally too. Don’t use slang or offensive words and speak clearly to them. Most people communicate on their cell phones, and service may be unclear, so they will understand you better by speaking slower.
4. Smile and talk as you answer the phone call
Make sure the person answering the phones smiles when they talk. Positive emotion and expression translate through your speech, and you want to sound great. The tone of a receptionist can either attract business or repel it, and the friendlier they are to your clients, the better it is for you.
Also, try to monitor your tone throughout the conversation. You may be tempted to multitask while answering phones, but you can better serve them with undistracted speech if you just concentrate on the call.
5. Don’t use speaker phone
When you answer a call, assume that the person wants the conversation private. A speakerphone should be activated only when two people need to be in the conversation.
When a caller hears that you have them on speaker, it makes them feel like you are busy doing something else and can’t give them full attention. If necessary, ask the caller if it’s alright to put them on speaker and respect their answer if they decline.
6. Take down accurate phone messages
When taking down messages, write legibly and use the correct spelling. If you don’t understand something said, ask them to repeat it. Also, get the proper spelling and annunciation of names.
When the intended recent calls the person back, they will have all the information and pick up right where you left off. This will be helpful for the caller as they don’t have to repeat everything to you over again.
7. Ask before putting the call on hold
When a business phone call comes in, the person might ask to speak with someone. Make sure to ask them if you can put them on hold, then wait for their repose. Some people would rather call back, so give them that option. Also, never blind transfer to a mailbox or someone’s extension. Make sure the recipient is available to take the call. If they aren’t, let the caller know that they are away from their desk and offer assistance or take a message.
When putting someone on hold, make sure not to leave them hanging. Under one minute is acceptable but after that, ask them if they still wish to hold. Have the system set up with pleasant music playing so their time waiting is enjoyable.
8. End the business phone call positively.
You should have a positive script to finish the conversation when the call ends. This is a good time to thank them for contacting the company and asking if there is anything else you can do for them. Then wish them well and have a wonderful day and politely hang up. This will leave your contacts on a positive note, and they will remember the experience.
The person that answers your business calls is your best salesperson. They are the voice of the company and the one that is usually the first contact. How they converse with clients and customers can have a huge impact on your business. Make sure to follow these tips on answering a business phone call professionally, so your business is respected, and communication is positive.