Today is Thursday, April 15th, 2010. So what impression would you get of a business if you called one today and received the following voice greeting?: “Hello. I will be out of the office until March 31st , so please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as I return.”
Or how about this one?: “It’s Monday, April 5th, and I’m not my desk at the moment. Leave a message at the tone and I’ll return your call when I’m back. Have a good day.” Why is it that some people who own businesses do not complete the simple task of updating their voice greetings on their business lines? An outdated outgoing message immediately leaves the impression that your business does not necessarily function all that well.
Susan Ward of About.com discusses the various ways in which proper phone etiquette can be maintained to keep the impression of your business a great one. She writes that “phone answering skills are critical for businesses” as the telephone still represents a company’s “primary point of contact with customers.”
How you answer the telephone is the first impression given of your business. So, naturally, this is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Ward insists that following a number of her tips will help prove that you run a “winning business.”
The first tip is to answer all incoming phone calls before the third ring. This helps to provide the impression that you are on the ball and not neglectful of your customer base. You want to provide service that is dependable and efficient. Ward also advises that you answer the phone in a warm and enthusiastic manner.
Welcome callers in a courteous way while identifying yourself and your business, she insists. Your greeting should make it so that no one ever has to question if he or she has contacted the right place.
“Enunciate clearly,” writes Ward, “keep your voice volume moderate, and speak slowly and clearly when answering the phone, so your caller can understand you easily.” It’s frustrating for customers who are seeking information or assistance when they are greeted by someone who appears as if they will be of no service.
In addition to making yourself understandable and clear, you should also refrain from using any slang or jargon. Ward believes that one should maintain a business-appropriate vocabulary that also sounds positive and upbeat. Do your best to highlight what your company can do as opposed to what it cannot. So, for example, use phrases like “I’d be happy to find out about that for you” instead of “I don’t know”.
Remembering that the ways in which you answer your business line represent the first impression that your business gives, it is important to not only update your outgoing message but ensure that you update your approach to your own personal greeting. We will continue to visit this topic in tomorrow’s blog. Thanks for calling!