Many small business owners spend a lot of time on the telephone. Did you know that something as simple as smiling when you answer the phone can really help you improve your telephone skills? No matter how tired or stressed you are, putting a smile on your face makes your voice sound livelier. Some more phone skill tips:
1. Always answer the phone in a professional manner and don’t make assumptions. I once tried to place a substantial phone order only to have the owner respond with “Sure you want the entire package. I suppose you want fries with that, too?” As I made a bewildered response, she realized that I wasn’t her niece playing a prank and quickly apologized, but I will always remember this business owner’s unprofessional first response.
2. If you start to become frustrated with a difficult customer, take a deep breath and count to ten before responding. It is easy to misunderstand someone or lose your cool when they aren’t standing in front of you, since you aren’t seeing their body language.
3. If the phone is ringing off the hook, you should still ask if you can place a customer on hold and actually wait for a yes or no response before doing so. If he or she says no, ask if you can take a number and call back.