Despite the growth of digital commerce, the humble telephone call still dominates customer communication. Roy Morgan’s survey reveals that over 60% of people prefer to call a business before buying a product or service. This means we have to ensure our business provides a positive telephone experience to increase the likelihood of people wanting to do business with us. We’ve compiled three top tips to make sure business is providing a positive phone experience:
1. The Gate Keeper
It’s fair to say most businesses neglect to invest a great deal of time in their Receptionist or Office Administrator. But when you really think about it, it’s these staff that offer the first personal interaction with a potential customer. Here are a few points for your consideration:
a. Invest in Training
This isn’t formal training, just take the time to teach your receptionist what it is your business does and why you do it better than anyone else. Front end staff do more than redirect phone calls. So make sure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to make these interaction positive.
b. The voice of your business.
When it comes to telephone calls the receptionist is the voice of your business. Consider what you want your business to sound like:
- Do they introduce the business and themselves at the start of a call?
- Do they address the caller by their first name if provided?
- Do they smile when answering calls (it shows)?
- Do they ask permission prior to placing callers on hold?
2. Speaking to a person
When a customer picks up the phone, they intend to speak to a person. Does your business make this easy for them? Unless your business is complex avoid having an automated answering system. An alternative for dealing with inbound calls may be to have an overflow function on your phone, so if your Receptionist is busy on another call, the new inbound call will divert to another staff member.
3. Return calls
It isn’t feasible for us to always be available – but when we aren’t it’s important to provide a time frame in which you will return a call. Set up some realistic policies around return phone calls and most importantly, stick to them. For example, “We will return your call before COB today”. If your potential customer isn’t getting a timely response from you, you can be sure they’re calling your competitor.