Throughout my working career, I was always the “telephone superstar” at many offices where I was employed. I was frequently complimented by managers and customers for my courtesy and professionalism over the phone. Telephone Etiquette was an extension of Social Etiquette that I learned at a young age. It was instilled in my constitution from the time my mom and I got our first Bell rotary telephone in 1960. It was the only phone in the house and got quite a bit of use. I can still hear the distinctive ring and remember how I use to run through the house to answer it. Every call was a “surprise” because we did not know who was calling. Our “old fashioned” telephone was a luxury. It helped kindle friendships, and “puppy love”. It also provided comfort and assistance during hard times. There were also times when our home telephone was a disciplinary tool and I was “not allowed to use the phone” for one reason or another.
Many agree that the telephone is still a reliable business tool but we often have to be reminded how to use it skillfully. To make good use of your telephone, consider these important points and bring your faithful telephone back to life in your business.
Telephone etiquette is still a time-honored tradition in business communication. Your telephone manner can be a powerful business builder or a destructive business killer. Every time a customer or prospect dials your number, your business is being scrutinized. Each call is a request for information, assistance, or even a potential business deal. If you fail to deliver a sound message, then your relationship with your customer could be at risk.
Prevent potential telephone mishaps in your business by ensuring that everyone in your organization realizes the importance of the telephone as one of your most reliable business tools. Moreover, instill the importance of treating every caller with professionalism, courtesy and respect, regardless of the situation. Make sure that your telephone is always answered promptly and everyone in your organization creates a good first impression by identifying himself or herself by name in a cheerful, helpful tone.
It is discourteous to leave a caller on hold for more than a few moments. If the call requires being on hold for more than a few moments, offer to call the customer back. Leaving a customer on hold for more than a minute or two is one of the surest signs of lack of training and disorganization. A long time on hold can make the customer think twice about doing business with your company.
Always, always, call the customer back when you have promised to do so. Never force a customer or prospect to wait for a call that never comes. Your customer is not only a trading partner but a referral for future business. A professional and positive telephone experience can be your best advertising.
Let’s get back to basics and use your office telephone more often. Remember the fun and mystique of the old home phone? Surprise and delight your customers with a personal phone call now and then. They will be honored and flattered by the personal attention. Your business relationships will be strengthened, your customers will remember your thoughtfulness and sincerely “Thank You for Calling!”
Lynott, W. J. (2012). Inoculate Your Business from Killer Viruses. Air Conditioning Heating & Refrigeration News, 247(16), 17-18.
About the Author: Adele S. Busch is the Owner/President of ASB Business Service. “Business By Personal Invitation”. ASB offers customized and selective telephone outreach for businesses and professionals, specializing in Sales and Business Appointment calls, Meeting Reminder Calls, Customer Follow-Up Calls and Business Research. Adele can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 614-477-2961. Thank you for calling!