How to answer the phone
One of the simplest things you can do that makes a big difference in your customer service is to answer the phone correctly.
It’s defies belief that in nowadays businesses still greet their external callers with variations of:
- Mr. Smith’s office
- Mr. Smith’s office, can I help?
- 7407 4452
Here are my tips on answering the phone right:
- a real person should answer your phone (I don’t care how big you are – this one’s a no-brainer)
- the right person should answer your phone (ideally, a dedicated external line should be answered by people who have the skills, knowledge and talent to convert callers into appointments)
- answer within 3 rings (one ring = disconcerting; more than 3 rings = have you gone out of business?)
- answer with a proper greeting
- determine if the caller is an existing customer or a new caller
- ask some caller details (don’t belabour this point, if the caller is cagey – move on – you should, at the very least, get a name)
- ask the caller if they want to make an appointment within the first minute of the call (sometimes, that’s all callers want to do, there no need to get in their way. Many times, I listen to calls where the the receptionist makes no attempt to ask for an appointment at anytime during the call!)
Here’s a handy visual that I ask my training participants to post on their walls. It’s even better if you can work this into your database. You can click on the image if you want to make it bigger.