Tuesday, June 6, 2017
How to Answer the Phone: A Process Server’s Guide to Phone Etiquette
A missed call is a missed opportunity. And when you do answer the phone, customers will often decide whether or not to hire you based on a phone call that lasts only a couple minutes. Since a good first impression is crucial, here are ten quick tips that will help you answer your phone the right way.
- Answer your phone. This might seem obvious but it’s important because most customers won’t leave a voicemail or call back if you don’t pick up the phone. So answer quickly, at least by the third ring. Answering promptly shows potential clients that you respect their time.
- Set up a professional voicemail system. With process service, you are often out of the office and covering ground on other jobs. If you’re going to be away from your office phone for any reason, have all calls forwarded to your cell or hire a receptionist or answering service.
- Answer professionally. The first thing you say should be the name of your business. This way the customer knows they called the right place. You then want to state your name and “How can I help?” Right away, the caller knows who you are and that you are ready to help them.
- Don’t multitask. If you’re driving, pull over. If you’re working on a project, put it on pause. Don’t eat, or drink, or address other people in your office. The person on the other end should have your complete attention. Have a notepad handy too so you can write down important information. This way you can also write down their name and use it throughout the conversation.
- Smile and be polite. It might sound strange, but potential clients can hear the smile in your voice and they are more likely to respond well to a pleasant conversation. Also don’t waste their (or your) time with long answers or non relevant stories. Keep your answers to the point and, if you need to call back, set a specific time.
- Speak slowly and clearly. Don’t use too much process server jargon that they may not understand. Enunciate your words, avoid using slang, and train yourself to not use filler words like “um” or “like”. Speaking like this portrays confidence and intelligence. Also, give the other person a chance to ask questions and avoid interrupting them as much as possible.
- Return missed calls promptly. If you do miss a call and have voicemails, listen to them and take notes so that you can have that information when you call back.
- Don’t put people on hold. If you need to ask someone else a question or research an answer, offer to call back and then set up a specific time when return to the conversation.
- Plan your answers. If you don’t know something, rather than saying “I don’t know,” say “Let me find out and get back to you.” Or if you are frequently asked questions, have a friendly and helpful response prepared.
- Ask where they got your number. Don’t be afraid to say, “We work on referrals, can I ask who referred you to us?” Also ask for clarification if they simply answer “the internet.” That way, you will know where your calls are coming from and you can improve your marketing going forward.