your customers aren’t impressed
by you or your co-workers on the telephone, they can switch businesses
merely hanging-up and dialing the competition. So, your telephone
have a significant impact on your business and your
find out how you and your
co-workers are perceived, take this telephone test. While you’re at it,
friend make a “mystery call” to see how your fellow employees
How long does it take you and/or your
switchboard operator to answer the phone?
5 rings or less
3 rings or less
under three rings
After 2 rings,
wondering what’s going on. Your
should be answered in-person by the second ring or by your voice-mail
the 4th ring.
Do you answer your phone with any of
this is (your full name), how can I help you?”
All of these
flaws. A, B, and C are too abrupt and don’t provide enough
information. D is too wordy and
dissuades callers from
identifying themselves because it encourages them to get to the point
than saying their name. Plus
you to check the clock to see if it’s before or after .
A better greeting is, “Thank you for
calling ABC Company. This is John.”
you are taking a call that’s transferred to you, then always identify
as you wished to be addressed. Whether you choose to identify the
Have you ever said, “Please hold” to
put a caller on-hold without
asking for their permission, and then waiting for their
response. Putting customers on hold
consent is a sure-fire formula to lose customers.
4. How long
does it take a
person on hold to become annoyed?
c) 1 minute
d) 17 seconds
that after only
17 seconds, callers on hold become annoyed.
The exception is when the greeter explains why the caller
is being asked
to hold and provides the estimated time required. Knowing beforehand
they can expect to wait reduces the chance of annoyance, particularly
long distance and cellular phone callers.
Another option to prevent frustration is to offer the
caller the option
of either holding or hanging up and having their call returned within a
specific time period.
When you’re talking on the phone
while a visitor walks in, who gets priority?
The person who
effort to show up in-person gets priority. That means you need to
caller. The quickest way to get that caller’s attention is to call
“George, I have someone who just walked in, can I ask you to hold for a
moment?” Wait for
their agreement. Then
acknowledged the visitor, tell them you’ll be a moment, and wrap-up
talking to customer
in person when the phone rings, then get someone else to answer the
use voice mail. Abandoning
answer the phone is downright rude and is a guaranteed way to lose
obvious as this seems,
it’s one of the most common blunders in customer service.
When receiving a call for a co-worker, how are you most
“Susan’s not in right now,
so I’ll have to take a message.”
“Susan’s still at
lunch. Can I take a message?”
“Susan’s should be back
soon. Could you call back in about 15
All of these
statements have flaws that make the greeter sound unhelpful and
Consider each response.
statement, “I’ll have to take a
message,” makes it sound
like an inconvenient chore. Instead,
change two words: “I’ll be happy to take
a message.” The
bonus is that you don’t
work any harder but you convey the impression of someone with a
customer service attitude.
that the co-worker is at lunch. The
caller might be thinking, “That’s a long time to be at
lunch!” It’s also irrelevant
whether your coworker is
“in a meeting” or “with a customer” or “busy”.
The only relevant information is they’re not coming to the
Therefore, “Susan is not available
right now” is the most appropriate response, followed by, “I’d be happy
c) asking a
caller to phone
back later gives the impression that you’re too lazy or disorganized to
message. This gives
a potential customer
a terrific excuse to call your competitor. ‘Nuff said.
The training solution
If you’re like
and business owners, you’ll probably find that when you assess the
practices within your organization, there’s room for improvement. The
is that with just a little training, it’s easy to develop the skills
ensure that your customers keep coming back.
About the Author
Mowatt CSPis an international speaker
and corporate trainer. His
is, “The Art of Client
Influence with Ease.”® For
self-study kits, and information about booking Jeff
or call 1-800-jmowatt