Poor Phone Skills Can Seriously Damage Business Profitability
Did you ever experience a phone call go bad, and you didn’t know why? You couldn’t recall anything negative you said, but you received a negative result? Perhaps the person on the other end of the line decided not to schedule a meeting with you, or not to buy a product or service, or they didn’t seem to trust your opinion, or they asked to speak to someone else. You ended up feeling rejected or incompetent, or just decided you were having a bad day. It was all made worse when someone else spoke to the same person and got a positive result, even though they used the same argument, even the same words!
Importance of Good Phone Etiquette
A good part of the hidden problem causing people to experience poor results during phone conversations may be as simple as phone etiquette and skills. Successfully connecting with another person during a phone call requires quite sophisticated skills that involve, in addition to subject knowledge:
- Tone of voice
- The way you phrase your communications
- Listening skills
- Listening and responding skills
- Ability to articulate clearly
- Mood and attitude
Nearly Anyone Can Easily Master Great Phone Skills
Acquiring great phone skills requires education, practice and good feedback. Many, even if they recognize the need to sharpen their phone skills, don’t know where to start. The good news is that most anyone can quite easily master great phone skills, and experience more success in their business because of that. With improved phone skills, you may experience more sales, have the opportunity to engage in more cooperative and lucrative business relationship and experience hearing others say the word, “yes” more often. How great would that be!
What’s involved in acquiring great phone skills?
Here are 5 rules of great phone etiquette:
Phone Etiquette Skill #1 – Refine Your Words and Phrases
Consider phrasing things differently when you speak on the phone, then you might speak in everyday conversation. Use words like: “Could you”, “May I”, Please” and “Thank you”. These often-overlooked polite phrases tend to make the person on the other end of the line feel more comfortable, more at ease, and invoke their trust. Speaking differently may at first feel unnatural, but with practice it will become second nature, and the encouragement you receive from getting a better response will motivate your transition.
Phone Etiquette Skill #2 – Look to Your Tone of Voice
Practice communicating with a pleasant tone of voice. All the emotions and feelings make a difference when speaking to someone, especially if you are happy or sad or the tone of voice is too loud or too low. Lower tones of voice actually come off as sarcasm or disinterest. A loud voice may appear manipulative.
Phone Etiquette Skill #3 – Avoid Surprising the Other Person
Few people like to be surprised in areas that matter greatly to them. Always give the caller verbal hints to where the conversation will be going. Realize that the other person may not know what you know, or have had as much of an opportunity to hear and internalize a new thought or concept or decision as you have had.
Phone Etiquette Skill #4 – Be Articulate
Practice speaking clearly and slowly, and pause when the caller is speaking. Repeat words or questions if necessary.
Phone Etiquette Skill #5
Practice Listening and Assuring the Other Person That They Have Been Heard
Train yourself to listen to the caller, because this skill does not come naturally, and is easy forgotten what we’re in a hurry or we are invested in a particular outcome, and feeling a sense of urgency. Always let the caller finish speaking before you begin your next sentence. Practice repeating back what the other has said, and getting confirmation from the other person that this is indeed what they just said. Let the caller know what you can do for them and how you can help with their needs.
Here Are Some Additional Examples of Valuable Phrases to Learn, Practice and Internalize:
- “How may I help you?”
- “Thank you for calling.”
- “Could you repeat that name again or company?”
- “One moment while I transfer you.”
- “May I take a message?”
Be There to Answer When You Receive a Call, Or Hire That Service Out
Customer service often begins over the phone. Having a telephone answering service, with real people answering the phone, can be a great benefit to the success of your business. With that professional phone presence answering your business phone you’re likely to experience an increase in the credibility of your company…and experience the positive results. And sometimes, it’s just a matter of being there. I currently have a client who prefers I use his telephone script to answer his calls. I also forward his calls straight to his voicemail or take a message. He loves the fact that he won’t miss a call and his callers can leave a direct voicemail.
Questions to Sharpen Your Phone Etiquette Skills
Circle the best answers below:
What is one benefit of using correct phrasing on a telephone call?
- Calls sound professional.
- The call is completed quicker.
- The customer is not bored.
- The operator can persuade the client better.
Which of the following should be avoided on the telephone?
- Soft tones.
- Steady breathing.
- Clearly pronounce words.
- “Um’s” or Uh’s”.
Share your answers with another person along with why you selected the answer. Discuss phone etiquette together. If anything in this article has resonated with you, I would be happy to schedule a consultation for further exploration, discovery and action.