Since this is my top 7 list, I’m going to tell you that we are especially good at #7 and all of the team is trained on #’s 1-6. For most of our clients, we work as an overflow call answering service. If all their lines are busy, mobile reception is poor, or our clients are in the middle of a hands-on task, the calls go to us. But that also means a good portion of the calls go to our clients. So here is a list to make sure you provide as good a service as your call answering service.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it can never be said enough. Whenever you answer your phone, always answer with a smile on your face. Your customers can hear it! No matter if you are handing complaints, new enquiries, or your regulars, they want to hear a happy voice at the end of the line. It starts the conversation on a bright tone and could possibly turn the tide of what was going to be a difficult situation.
One of the more frustrating moments in a day happens when you immediately forget the name of the person that just called you 4 seconds ago. Not only is this frustrating to you, but it can be frustrating to your customers when a problem is only half-resolved or an order is only partially placed. Keep a small notepad and pen/pencil at your desk, or if you take work calls on the go keep them in your pocket/handbag. You’ll be able to write it down then forget about it till you need it so you can refocus on the task you were working before the call. This is a huge stress reliever for small business owners and corporate managers alike.
This should go without saying, but it definitely earns a spot on the list. Just like a caller can hear a smile in your voice, they can hear if you are not 100% dedicated to their call. Turn down the radio. Turn off the mower. Stop typing the email. Whatever it is you’re doing, let it wait till you have finished your call. If it can't, ask the caller to hold or if a return call is possible till you finish your task. You may miss a small detail about your customer, and that could mean a missed opportunity to prove your unbeatable customer service or missed money.
When speaking face to face, we can rely on nonverbal cues as well as lip reading to understand what we are saying. None of that is available over the phone, plus there is a chance for bad reception and distractions. Speaking slowly gives the caller time to process what you say. Also, it gives them the opportunity to ask for a repeat if they missed it the first time.
Preparation is the key to success, whether it be a solid warm up before the big game or gathering your notes before a call with potentially your biggest client yet. Make sure you know what you want to say, concisely. Often times, you only have 20 seconds to catch and keep their attention before they ask you for a call back next Thursday. Furthermore, study up on their business and business culture. It may give you some clues on how they prefer to be sold or serviced.
Preparation is so important I’m giving it two slots on my list. This time let’s prep for a cold call session. It is a gruelling task to most, but having a list with all the contact details and a space for notes can make the chore go much faster and be more productive. Make sure you have your cup of tea, you’ve visited the loo, and have a pen that works. This gives yourself no excuses to delay or prolong the cold call ‘torture’. Pick up the phone and dial.
In this day and age, people want products and service almost before they need them. And no one likes to leave you a message but your mum. I am as guilty of this as the next person. Like most, I will just call the next business on my list if the first doesn’t answer. Even if the reviews are better for Business A than Business B I’ll risk it to find my answer quicker. There is nearly no reason to have a missed call during business hours when there are options like call forwarding to mobile phones and virtual reception companies. (subtle... I know)
P.S. The picture is where I wrote this. Yeehaw! It was great being home.