7 Deadly Phone Responses

Studies show that it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a current customer, so clearly working with customers is vital to any businesses success. Company-customer interaction is one of the biggest factors in a company’s brand, and managing this interaction ought to fall under every company’s branding strategy. While emerging technologies allow customer interaction to come in a multitude of forms, some companies use these technologies as a crutch for lazy unprofessional behavior. Today’s focus will be on over-the-phone communication.

7 deadly ways to answer customer calls

• Hello.
A simple hello with no professional introduction or call to action for the person on the other line is too familiar. Answering customer calls with “hello” screams of a small business that still uses a home phone or personal cell number for business.

• HelloJoe’spestcontorlhowcanIhelpyou?
Slow down there cowboy. Breathe between sentences and annunciate your words. Everything you say gets all scrambled up over the phone, so take your time and show the customer that you care by speaking slowly.

• Please hold.
If you are on the other line or visiting with a customer and have to put the caller on hold, then you need to say more than “please hold.” Let the caller know that you are meeting with a customer, or that you are on the other line. Give him or her an estimate of how long they will be on hold. I still remember calling a company, being asked if I minded being put on hold, and then graciously thanked after spending two minutes on hold. I am still flattered.

• Uh huh.
Uh huhers are teenage kids making $8.50 an hour because mom kicked them out the door during the summer. If you are going to greet your customers with an “uh huh,” just do not answer the phone.

• __________
When customers call and are greeted with silence, they generally hang-up. Do not leave your customers guessing, but greet them quickly and confidently.

• Yes?
Similar to hello, answering “yes” only sounds more impatient. This is the response I usually get when I call a government agency. If it ticks me off to hear it from the county DMV, how will I feel getting a “yes” from a for-profit company?

• Ring … ring … ring … ring … “Please record message.”
When a customer calls, answer the phone. The best way to improve your ratio of incoming calls to sales is by answering the phone. Potential customers that are sent to your voicemail get a perception that you are too small or too cheap to fully man your phone lines.

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