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10 Tips To Handle Business Phone Calls Professionally

Customer Service

The majority of customer frustrations with call centers and customer support representatives come from their experiences on phone calls. This is because a lot of staff members, more often than not, are not trained to handle phone calls professionally. Today we’re going to go through several tips to fix that.

  1. Inform
    Remember to always ask the caller if you have her permission to put her on hold. When you do, check in every 30 seconds to keep her updated – customers often loathe waiting for long. It’s considerate to keep them in the loop of what’s happening, as it’s happening.
  1. Promptness
    No matter what, refuse to answer the phone too quickly. Answering phones on the first ring seems to throw a lot of people off – and is somehow startling. Some experts in this industry suggest answering the call on the third ring, and some suggest answering on the second ring. Experiment for yourself to see what works.
  1. Positivity
    How we present ourselves on the phone is apparent. We can present ourselves as negative or positive – buoyant or down. You can simply tell when someone is having an off day, and you might not want to be around for that. The same goes for other people: which customer wants to talk to a downer of an employee? Therefore, train to be positive while taking calls and prompts.
  1. Return Calls
    I cannot emphasize the importance of responding to messages in one continuum. Do not way until tomorrow or the day after to respond to customer’s left messages. Nobody enjoys waiting for a business to respond to them. Invest in an answering phone service that can track call volumes, provides detailed diagnostic reports, and measures and analyze response times to find ways to improve rates.
  1. Be Inviting
    Callers who are left with a positive impression from staff will have no qualms about doing business with you in the future. Ergo, train your staff to be more inviting and welcoming in their personality.
  1. Who?
    People dial wrong numbers all the time; we often get the wrong department, the wrong, extension, etc. Therefore, train customer service reps to answer the phone with the name of the company or department. This will let the customer know that they have the right number and save time from being transferred to five different departments trying to find the right one.
  1. Body Language
    The inflection of our voices pack a powerful punch. Even though customers cannot see you, they can usually tell whether you’re genuinely happy to speak with them or not. To see for yourself, call someone you know and hold a conversation while smiling the whole way through. Notice their reaction.
  1. Enunciate
    There is nothing more frustrating than speaking with a mumbler, or someone who speaks quietly that you have to ask them to repeat what they said. Therefore, articulate your words and slow down your talking speed. Over-elaborating your words (enunciation) is a better alternative than wasted time repeating yourself or asking the caller to repeat him or herself. This goes double if one of the parties doesn’t speak native English.
  1. Compassion
    You’re a real person and the people on the phone are real people, too. When I hooked up my internet at my new place, I called a local ISP and asked her if they offered unlimited internet. She friendly said, “Of course. I wouldn’t offer you anything but. I wouldn’t live with internet if it wasn’t unlimited either.” That statement alone made me feel more relaxed with her. This is how you win loyal customers.
  1. Language Control
    Do you have a problem saying “okay” or “no problem”? Being too informal and using slang/buzzwords tends to throw customers off guard. It makes your company look less than professional. Control means avoiding filler words such as um, like or you know, which are alright for teenagers – but not for professionals who are servicing customers.

These are just a few tips that will help you answer business phone calls more professionally. In the end, it’s the customer experience that matters; provide the greatest experience for your callers as possible.

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Alexandra Dimitropoulou

Alexandra Dimitropoulou

VP and News Editor
Alexandra Dimitropoulou is a VP and News Editor at CEOWORLD magazine, working to build and strengthen the brand’s popular, consumer-friendly content. In addition to running the company’s website, CEOWORLD magazine, which aims to help CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and other C-level executives get smarter about how they earn, save and spend their money, she also sits on the Board of Directors of the Global Business Policy Institute. She can be reached on email You can follow her on Twitter at @ceoworld.