Whether you’re answering calls for a retail business, or you’re operating a call center, phone etiquette is an important part of customer service. Customers are often frustrated or unhappy when they call in (or frustrated about calling in), so being prepared to leave a positive impression on them is imperative. And while it may seem intuitive, there are a lot of common mistakes the uninitiated make when handling phone calls.
To help you sidestep many of these landmines, we’ve put together this list of helpful etiquette tips that will boost your performance in the realm of customer service, and keep you from leaving a bad taste in the mouth of your customers. Remember: stellar phone etiquette takes training and practice, so if you do any amount of service over the phone, try to adhere to the following:
Customer Service Etiquette Tips
- Your attitude when answering the phone sets the tone for the whole call, so think before you speak. Don’t allow your bad day to turn into a bad day for the customer.
- Smile when you answer the phone; it can be heard in your voice.
- Once you’ve set a congenial tone for the conversation, don’t deviate from it. Your voice is the voice of the company, and the business will be judged by how you behave towards the customer.
- Even when the customer is calling in with a real problem, do what you can to begin and end the conversation on a positive note.
- Speak clearly so you are easy to understand, especially if you have a different accent than your customers.
- Be polite. Use honorifics like “sir” and “ma’am” where applicable, and always use “please” and “thank you.”
- Never interrupt the person while he/she is talking to you.
- Never argue with the caller.
- Don’t eat, drink, or chew gum while operating the phone.
- Be honest with the caller about what is and is not in your power. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t be afraid to tell them, but also be willing to track down the answer for them.
- Ask a caller’s permission before putting them on hold, regardless if it’s five minutes into the conversation or five seconds. Thank them when they assent to your request.
- Don’t leave callers on hold for extended periods. Whenever possible, offer to call them back instead if it will take too long to find the answer to their question.
- Always call a customer back when you have promised to do so.
These tips should get you started on improving your phone etiquette. If you think you’d rather have experts handle the phone calls, contact ROI Call Center Solutions for a free consultation.