Test Your Telephone Effectiveness
Submit Articles Back to Articles
Find out if your phone practices are winning or losing
If your customers aren't impressed by you or your co-workers
on the telephone, they can switch businesses by merely hanging-up and
dialing the competition. So, your telephone skills can have a
significant impact on your business and your career.
To find out how you and your co-workers are perceived, take
this telephone test. While you're at it, have a friend make a
"mystery call" to see how your fellow employees measure up.
1. How long does it take you and/or your
switchboard operator to answer the phone?
- a) 5 rings or less
- b) 3 rings or less
- c) under three rings
After two rings, callers are wondering what's going
on. Your phone should be answered in-person by the second
ring or by your voice-mail system by the fourth ring.
2. Do you answer your phone with any of the
- a) "Hello."
- b) "(Company name only)"
- c) "(last name only)"
- d) "Good afternoon, this is (your full name), how can I
All of these greetings have 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 rather than saying their
name. Plus it forces you to check the clock to see if it's
before or after noon. A better greeting is, "Thank you for
calling ABC Company. This is John." If you are taking a call
that's transferred to you, then always identify yourself as you wished
to be addressed. Whether you choose to identify the
department is optional.
3. Have you ever said, "Please hold" to a caller?
Never put a caller on-hold without asking for their
permission, and then waiting for their response. Putting
customers on hold without their consent is a sure-fire formula to lose
4. How long does it take a person on hold to become
- a) 2 minutes
- b) 30 seconds
- c) 1 minute
- d) 17 seconds
Studies show 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 how long they can expect to wait
reduces the chance of annoyance, particularly among 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 brief, specific time period.
5. When you're talking on the phone while a visitor
walks in, who gets priority?
Test Your Telephone Effectiveness
- a) the visitor
- b) the caller
The person who made the effort to show up in-person gets
priority. That means you need to interrupt the
caller. The quickest way to get that caller's attention is to
call their name. "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 your telephone conversation.
If you're talking to customer in person when the phone rings,
then get someone else to answer the phone, or use voice mail.
Abandoning customers to answer the phone is downright rude and is a
guaranteed way to lose customers. As obvious as this seems,
it's one of the most common blunders in customer service.
6. When receiving a call for a co-worker, how are
you most likely to respond?
a) "Susan's not in right now, so I'll have to take a
b) "Susan's still at lunch. Can I take a message?"
c) "Susan's should be back soon. Could you call
back in about 15 minutes?"
All of these statements have flaws that make the greeter sound
unhelpful and unprofessional. Consider each response.
Response a) - The 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 terrific customer service attitude.
Response b) - It's completely
irrelevant 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 phone. Therefore, "Susan is not available right now"
is the most appropriate response, followed by, "I'd be happy to take a
Response c) - Asking a caller to
phone back later gives the impression that you're too lazy or
disorganized to take a message. This gives a potential
customer a terrific excuse to call your competitor. 'Nuff
The training solution
If you're like most managers and business owners, you'll
probably find that when you assess the phone practices within your
organization, there's room for improvement. The good news is
that with just a little training, it's easy to develop the skills that
ensure that your customers keep coming back.
About the Author
is based on the bestselling book,
Influence with Ease®
customer service strategist and certified professional speaker Jeff
obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for
team, visit www.jeffmowatt.com
or call toll
free 1-800-JMowatt (566-9288).
Follow us @Scopulus_News
Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-02-20 09:02:20 in Marketing Articles