Proper phone etiquette – your key to success
Proper phone etiquette  is not just for call center agents. It is essentially for everyone – business owners included. Let's face it. A lot of people still prefer to conduct business over the phone. So, while the popularity of email and social media  continues to rise, a lot of business transactions will still be made and closed through this tried and tested means.
However, the success of such business transactions may largely depend on your communication skills. So, how can you increase your chances of successfully closing business deals over the phone? The first step is to observe proper phone etiquette. If you need some help along these lines, here are some tips that you may find useful:
- Pick it up. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a nuisance call when you are running a business. Each call is just as important as the next, so try your best to pick up the phone every time it rings. If you are in the middle of something important and couldn't possibly answer it right away, make sure you return the call as soon as humanly possible.
- Answer it with a smile. Be the ultimate professional and sound like one. Take a deep breath and smile before picking up the phone. Practice this technique and your voice will sound more lively and energized. Can this do your business any good? Most definitely.
- Identify yourself. When answering business calls, common courtesy dictates that you identify yourself by giving your full name and/or the name of your business to assure your customer that she has dialed the right number.
- Be consistent. Develop a standard greeting and make sure to train your employees on how to answer the phone appropriately. Keep in mind that some people prefer to hear familiar greetings when somebody picks up the line.
- Focus. As mentioned earlier, you should treat each call with equal importance so try to put everything down whenever you answer a call. Listen attentively to what your customer is saying and verify the important points of the conversation. This can give your business a definite edge over your competition.
- Empathize with your caller. There are times when you have to deal with an angry customer so it is very important for you to know how to handle such situations. When such things happen, the best thing for you to do is to listen to your caller's complaints, keep your cool and show some empathy.
Remember, the way you handle your calls can help determine the success or failure of your business so clean up your act and practice proper phone etiquette. That's the way to do it right.