Professional Telephone Skills Guide for your Staff

girl showing her telephone skillsTo give your company the best possible “face” to new and existing customers it is essential that their first point of contact – either by telephone or personal conversations – be a pleasant experience.  Your staff need to be trained in telephone skills with an attitude of customer service which will consistently and effectively impress on the customer that they are valued and will be given attention.

Given below are a few tips on how a phone call can be answered in a professional manner and your staff should be trained to use these systems.  Unless staff are given guidelines as to how you wish phone calls to be answered you will really not know what impression they may be giving.

These rules are simple but may need to be reviewed and practiced.  The following examples should always be used.

1. Use the four answering courtesies.

  •      The caller should be greeted
  •      The name of your company (or department) should be stated
  •      State your own name
  •      Ask how you can help the caller

“Good morning, Sales Department, Sally Brown speaking, How can I help you?”

2.  Show enthusiasm when you answer.  Help make the caller feel welcome.

To be answered by someone who sounds bored or fed up will not enhance the caller’s opinion of your company, nor their view of your professionalism.

3.  Use friendly phrases as part of your greeting.

“Thank you for your call”

“How may I help you”

4.  Remember to smile as you pick up the receiver.

The caller may not be able to see you but a smile will reflect in your voice – put a smiley face or mirror close to the phone as a reminder.

Closing the conversation

At the end of a telephone conversation courteous or relevant comments should be made, for example:

1.  Thank them for their call

2.  Tell the caller that you appreciate their business

3.  Confirm to the caller that any promises made during the call will be carried out

4.  Make sure the caller feels they have had a worthwhile conversation with you

Points to include in a system for answering telephones.

  •      Know which people will be answering the phone
  •      Have a system in place so that there will always be someone available to take calls
  •      If necessary can calls be diverted to a mobile?
  •      Have a time limit on how long the phone can ring before it must be answered
  •      Will an answering machine be taking your calls?
  •      If it is then how quickly do you intend to return the call?
  •      What will your greeting be?
  •      Do you intend to use given names and surnames when answering the phone?
  •      Will the person answering the call be able to provide answers to queries?
  •      If they cannot answer directly how will the call be transferred and queries answered?
  •      What form will messages be taken in
  •      Can the caller be put on “hold”?
  •      How long will the caller be put on hold before being spoken to again?
  •      What position in the office will the phone be situated?
  •      If it’s in the Reception area and phones are ringing continuously who will greet clients?
  •      If a visitor has arrived then the phone rings what should the receptionist do?

Keep a record of the system you want to put in place, discuss it with your team as they may have ideas of their own and be able to see any drawbacks with the system.  After having the system in place for a week evaluate whether it’s working for you and make modifications if required.