Regardless of how much we communicate with clients over email or messages, nothing beats a phone call when you have to go into detail, have a catch-up or help in a crisis. It’s one of the top means of communication, and the first place a client will turn to when they need to get in touch quickly.
According to the Institute of Customer Service, the differentiating factor between the top companies and their competition is the way they handle their phone calls – so it’s definitely worth making sure you get it right.
We’ve put together our top tips on how to perfect your call handling and impress clients every single time.
1. Be a ‘GOFI’ God/Goddess of First Impressions. When you answer the phone the person calling will build an instant impression of you. You want to come across as enthusiastic, helpful and efficient, not rude, bored and grumpy, so move beyond a curt ‘hello’
2. Be chirpy but not too chatty. You’ve probably less than 6 seconds to decide how to deal with a caller’s enquiry and progress with handling the caller’s call, as business people want to get to the point quickly. It’s friendly to have a line or two of general conversation, but don’t spend several minutes on pleasantries.
3. Verbally nod! Commit to the words you are saying even if you are not sure and make sure you come across as positive and decisive rather than vague or distracted. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s fine to admit this, but quickly suggest you can find the required information and come back to the caller as soon as possible. Give a time frame for this; don’t leave it hanging.
4. Focus on what you can do and not what you cannot. If you’re busy and can’t go into detail with your caller there and then, take their details and tell them you’ll call back.
5. Say it with a smile. This will ensure your tone mirrors your greeting. If you are physically smiling then this will naturally be translated into an upbeat voice. It’s a classic, but there is a warmth and energy you only get with a smile. It also sharpens your speech so your words are clearer to the caller.
6. Be efficient and reassuring. There is no script and one size does not fit all. Don’t rely on stock phrases or replies. The caller needs to have confidence that you are really listening to them and taking their call seriously, not just mechanically going through the motions
7. Think of each caller as your million pound customer. How would you speak to them if they wanted to spend £1million with you? That’s how you should greet everyone when you answer the phone. Impress the caller to the point that they can’t wait to work with you.