Telephone Answering Skills and Tips

A good telephone answering ability is vital for business and how you answer the phone says a lot about you and your company. Even with the advent of email, the telephone is still most business’s first point of contact with clients and potential customers. The way in which your company’s telephone is answered will form your customer’s first impression of your company. The following telephone answering tips will hopefully help to guarantee that customers know they’re contacting an unbeatable business:

  • When answering the phone, try to be friendly and keen. The voice at the end of the telephone is more often than not the only impression of your business a caller will get.
  • Aim to answer all inbound telephone calls before the 3rd ring.
  • Speak clearly, try to keep your volume normal, and speak slowly and distinctly when answering the telephone.
  • When you answer the phone, be sure to greet callers politely and identify yourself and your business. Say, for example, “Good afternoon ABC Limited, Debbie speaking, how can I help you?”, callers should never need to ask if they’ve reached the correct company.
  • Even if you’re having a bad day, don’t let that come through in your voice when you answer the phone. Take a deep breath, smile, pick up the phone and say “Good morning…”
  • Do not use jargon or slang. Rather than saying “No problem” or “okay”, for instance, say “All right”, “Very well”, or “Certainly “. Train yourself and staff members not to use fillers such as “you know” and “like”.
  • Take all messages correctly and fully. If you didn’t catch or understand something, like an unusual name, ask them to spell it out or repeat it for you- this is particularly important for telephone numbers, always read a contact number back to caller.
  • Reply to messages within the business day. Why waste all your good work in attracting clients if you fall at the first hurdle and they go elsewhere where they are dealt with quickly?
  • Never put a caller on hold without warning, ask if it is okay to hold. Don’t leave them on hold indefinitely, go back to them every 30 or 40 seconds. Don’t ask them if they would like to continue to hold, offer them a choice, for example “I’m sorry but his/her line is still busy, should I ask him/her to call you back as soon as possible or would you like to continue holding?”
  • Make sure that everyone who answers the phone is trained to do it in the same way, test the line yourself and if it’s not up to scratch- tell
    them! It’s far better that you find out the phone hasn’t been answered correctly than a prospective client.

NJ Walker- 31/03/10