I speak from experience when I say that there is no better way to deter a new prospect or drive an existing client toward your competition than to create a bad impression over the phone. Time and time again, I speak with clients and customers who have been put off working with an individual or a business because of the lack of good telephone service. It’s an important and often overlooked aspect of a successful business, and it’s a costly mistake to make.
Especially in industries with high competition, losing prospects because of poor customer service is a big problem.
It’s not just the sales team
However, it’s rarely the sales team themselves who fall prey to a bad telephone manner. Have you ever heard the saying “sales are not just for salespeople”? Nine times out of ten, this kind of bad impression comes from interactions with employees who aren’t part of the sales team but to whom incoming calls are transferred. It’s imperative to upskill your workforce so that key support staff, or those who end up taking incoming calls, can do so with the same competency as your core sales team.
In the meantime, here are my top tips for what to do and more importantly, what not to do, when taking a call:
One of the biggest mistakes people make is to create a poor impression of the person a client is trying to reach. Phrases such as “they’re still out to lunch”, “they’ve just popped out”, and “they’re not in yet / they’ve already left for the day” translate to a client or customer as “they take an awful lot of breaks” or “our communication is poor, and I’m not sure where my co-worker/employer is”. Needless to say, this is not the impression you want to be giving.
Similarly, phrases like “they’re tied up” or “they’re busy” say “your custom is not valuable enough to make time for”. These make both your employer look lazy or uninterested, and your customer feel unimportant. Not a good combination!
Adopt these five phrases
Avoid this trap by adopting these five phrases when communicating with customers over the phone:
“They’re unavailable right now, can I get them to give you a call back”: by not giving away too much you avoid giving the impression that the person is either not interested or rarely present.
“Let me find that out for you”: avoid guessing. Focus on the different options, tell the client that you’ll find out what they need to know and when you’ll have the information and make sure to follow it up.
“I’m sorry, I’d love to help, but your request is more than we can offer right now”: sometimes you have to bite the bullet and say no when a customer’s request is just too big. Preface the ‘no’ with an assurance that you would love to be able to do more.
“Happy to help”: smile! Reassure you’re customers that helping them is just your favourite thing to do.
“Is there anything else I can do for you?”: end the call by asking if there’s anything else you can do. Always give them the option to air any grievances that you might be able to clear up before you hang up.
There you have it, my top five phrases to use on the phone to ensure you and your staff, especially those not trained in sales or customer service specifically, leave a lasting positive impression from every telephone call you make.
For more information contact Julie Futcher on 01604 534004 or email email@example.com