While we rely too often on email and other written forms of communication, the telephone is still a vital tool when conducting business in many industries. A quick phone call can save time and avoid misunderstandings. Hearing the tone of the other person’s voice can give you valuable information about their state of mind or intentions, and avoid misinterpreting their words, as can easily happen with emails.
We run you through a few essential telephone skills that your team can incorporate:
1. Introduce yourself
When you answer the phone, always start by introducing yourself and your business. Listen carefully to your caller’s enquiry or request before reassuring them you can help and providing clear and concise answers.
2. Keep a positive tone
A positive and friendly tone helps to build rapport with the person on the other end of the line. Avoid sounding rushed, impatient, or annoyed. Instead, take your time and speak slowly and clearly.
3. Control the conversation
This can be tricky, especially when dealing with a problematic or irate caller. Try to remain calm and confident. If you sound frazzled or unsure of yourself, your caller will sense this and your conversation will turn pear shaped.
4. Placing a call on hold
When you have to place a call on hold, make sure to ask permission and give the caller an estimated time of how long they will have to wait.
5. Answering tough questions
Take a breath and consider your answer. Try to avoid plain yes or no answers, give as much information as necessary. If you do not know the answer, reassure your caller that it’s a really good question, and you will find out and call them back with a reply…and give an estimated time.
6. Adjust your tone
Start by speaking in a clear, confident voice. Then, depending on the situation, you can adjust your tone to sound more formal or casual.
7. Speak professionally
Speak clearly and slowly, enunciating your words so they can be easily heard. Avoid using fillers such as “uhm” or “like,” which can make you sound unprepared or unprofessional.
8. Manage your time
Try to stay on topic and avoid getting sidetracked by overly verbose callers. Be aware of the conversation length and try to wrap up within the allotted time by staying on track.
9. Listen actively
Pay close attention to what your caller is saying in their words and tone of voice. Repeat what you’ve heard to ensure you’ve understood it correctly. Ask questions if you need clarification.
10. Providing feedback
Giving feedback to your team can be tricky. You could come across as critical or abrasive if you’re not careful. Start with a positive comment and then offer a suggestion on how to sound more professional.
Edge Communication offers telephone skills training programs in Perth. We provide customised training programs based on your specific needs and budget. We can even look after you elsewhere in Australia or globally with our virtual training. Contact us to find out more.