Phone Answering Guidelines

From WebFocus Wiki Site
Jump to: navigation, search

How You Answer the Phone Says a Great Deal About Your Business.

Phone answering skills are critical for businesses. The telephone is still most business's primary point of contact with customers. And the way you answer your *company's phone will form your customer's first impression of your business. These phone answering tips will ensure that callers know they're dealing with a winning *business:

  1. Phone call should be answered from 8:30am to 5:30pm by the receptionist (those seated at the reception area). Phone calls should be answered at ALL times.
  2. The assigned receptionists will take alternating coffee and lunch breaks from 10:00am to 10:15am and 10:15am to 10:30am for morning coffee break, 11:30am to 12:30pm and 12:30pm to 1:30pm for lunch break, and 3:00pm to 3:15pm and 3:15 to 3:30pm for afternoon coffee break.
  3. After 5:30pm of the working day, the main hotline number should be forwarded to the tech support hotline, wherein the tech support on-duty will take responsibility as assigned to the receptionist. And on the following working day, the call forwarding should be cancelled.
  4. Phone Calls are classified according the following types with the corresponding action taken:
    1. Solicitation – these calls should be rejected at all times. Don’t give any information nor confirm any information being asked. Just say politely that the person they are looking for is not interested in the product that the caller is offering.
    2. Existing Client – get the company name, client’s name, and purpose of their call whether it be support, billing, or sales concern. Then forward the call to the department or person being requested and at the same time, relaying all the information that was already asked. NEVER ASK THE CALLERS TO REPEAT THE SAME INFORMATION THAT WAS GIVEN ALREADY.
    3. Sales Inquiry - get the company name, client’s name, and purpose of their call whether it be support, billing, or sales concern. Then forward the call to the department or person being requested and at the same time, relaying all the information that was already asked. NEVER ASK THE CALLERS TO REPEAT THE SAME INFORMATION THAT WAS GIVEN ALREADY.
    4. Personal Calls – reject all non-emergency calls by saying that the person (employee) they are seeking is busy at the moment. For emergency or important calls, forward the call the person being asked for.
    5. All other calls – screen properly and reject or forward to the right person according to your discretion.
  5. Answer all incoming phone calls before the third ring. When the phone is ringing continuously and nobody is around to answer, please answer the phone and depending on where you answer, please follow the same manner of answering the calls as stated in #8.
  6. Never transfer a call without first talking to person being seek. If the person is available or unable to answer for whatever reason, forward the call to his/her supervisor. If not possible, then take a message and make sure that the person being seek gets the message AS SOON AS he/she is available.
  7. When you answer the phone, be warm and enthusiastic AND ALWAYS SMILE. Your voice at the end of the telephone line is sometimes the only impression of your company a caller will get.
  8. When answering the phone by the receptionist (or by the tech support assigned from 5:30pm to 8:30am), welcome callers courteously and identify yourself and your organization. Say, for instance, "Good morning. Webfocus & Servobox. Susan speaking. How may I help you?" No one should ever have to ask if they've reached such and such a business. When the call is being forwarded to another department, the person on the other end should welcome the callers courteously and identify yourself and * your DEPARTMENT. Say, for instance, "Good morning Mr/Ms {name of caller}. Billing department. Michelle speaking. How may I help you?"
  9. Speak clearly, keep your voice volume moderate, and speak slowly and clearly when answering the phone, so your caller can understand you easily.
  10. Control your language when answering the phone. Don't use slang or jargon. Instead of saying, "OK", or "No problem", for instance, say "Certainly", "Very well", or "All right". If you're a person who uses fillers when you speak, such as "uh huh", "um", or phrases such as "like" or "you know", train yourself carefully not to use these when you speak on the phone.
  11. Train your voice and vocabulary to be positive when phone answering, even on a "down" day. For example, rather than saying, "I don't know", say, "Let me find out about that for you."
  12. Take telephone messages completely and accurately. If there's something you don't understand or can't spell, such as a person's surname, ask the caller to repeat it or spell it for you. Then make sure the message gets to the intended recipient.
  13. Answer all your calls within one business day. I can't emphasize this one enough. Remember the early bird? The early caller can get the contract, the sale, the problem solved... and reinforce the favorable impression of your business that you want to circulate.
  14. Always ask the caller if it's all right to put her on hold when answering the phone, and don't leave people on hold. Provide callers on hold with progress reports every 30 to 45 seconds. Offer them choices if possible, such as "That line is still busy. Will you continue to hold or should I have Mr/Ms call you back?"
  15. Don't use a speaker phone unless absolutely necessary. Speaker phones give the caller the impression that you're not fully concentrating on his call, and make him think that his call isn't private. The only time to use a speaker phone is when you need more than one person to be in on the conversation at your end.
  16. If you use an answering machine to answer calls when you can't, make sure that you have a professional message recorded, that does the same thing as tip # 3, and gives callers any other pertinent information before it records their messages. Update your answering machine message as needed. For instance, if your business is going to be closed for a holiday, update your recorded answering machine message to say so and to say when your business will reopen.
  17. Train everyone else who answers the phone to answer the same way. Check on how your business's phone is being answered by calling in and seeing if the phone is being answered in a professional manner. If they don't pass the test, go over this telephone answering tips list with them.
  18. Don’t spend too much time on a single call. Remember the old adage, “Time is money” still holds true.
  19. Since the company-assigned mobile phones and wireless landlines are still part of the company phone network, the same guidelines should be applied.