A lot can happen during a phone call, but only if you know how to communicate effectively
Today's workplace is increasingly mobile, and a lot can happen during a phone call. Innovative ideas can be shared, deals can be made and sensitive negotiations can go down, but only if you know how to communicate effectively. Making a good impression over the phone is about communicating your interest and engaging in the discussion. Consider these tips before you dial into your next conference call.
Create Meaningful Connections
Even if business is the main topic of your conversation, cultivate personal relationships with your clients by sharing some personal information. For example, if a caller says he or she will be out of town next week on vacation, don't just agree to follow up later. Ask where they are going. The caller is most likely excited about it and striking up a more personal conversation allows you to share their enthusiasm while building a stronger relationship.
Sure, it seems a bit silly to force a smile when you are alone in your office, but callers can sense your good attitude over the phone. Smiling makes your tone more friendly and, as an added bonus, even boosts your own mood.
Call Them Back
If a client calls just as you are running out the door to a meeting, answer the phone and be honest. Let them know in a friendly manner that you have to run, and confirm when they can expect a return call. Then, stick to your word and pick up the phone at the promised time. A client with a simple problem can easily become frustrated when waiting for a return call that doesn't come, but keeping your word shows you are professional and reliable.
Practice Good Telephone Etiquette
Etiquette seems to be lost on many cell phone users, but it should still rule in your business. Speak clearly and in a pleasant tone, ask for permission before placing someone on hold and never interrupt your clients when they are speaking. Handle several callers with equal respect and don't give the impression that you are rushed.
Don't Keep Them Waiting
A little anticipation is sometimes a good thing, just not when you are on the phone with a client. If you have to place someone on hold, keep it brief. If finding an answer or solving a problem is taking longer than expected, don't let the client just sit there. Explain the situation briefly and offer to call back when the issue is resolved. This shows that you value the client's time and prevents you from feeling rushed while finding a solution.