As a business owner, you mainly focus on the bigger issues of your company. That means you probably leave the phone answering to your dedicated receptionist or everyone in the office taking a turn to answer phones. Sometimes as the business owner, you will have to answer the phone.
While answering the phone, it is very important to be attentive and friendly to your customers. Though it’s not easy to please a customer, it can be done. If your phones are not answered properly you could be losing leads and ultimately losing customers. In a study done by YouGov, 76% of customers said: “Just one unpleasant contact center experience was likely to make them take their business elsewhere.” A recent Zendesk survey also revealed that 35% of customers stopped doing business with a company after a poor customer service experience.
To prevent losing phone leads and customers, here are things not to do when answering business calls.
The Don'ts of Answering Business Calls
1) Never Be Rude
Answering phones, it’s important that you train yourself to be patient and calm. Customers may have other frustrations they take out on you and they may act out. This can demoralize your spirit, but just smile and keep your head high. Whatever the reason for the anger, do not further upset a client because if they have a bad experience with you, they will never make a purchase.
2) Never Say "No"
Avoid saying “no” for an answer unless it is really required, as that’s the last thing a caller wants to hear as a customer. Don’t be harsh, but always use positive phrases even when your message isn’t favorable. You can use alternative phrases like “I will see what I can do for you,” “Let me check the best options,” and “Give me a moment while I check this for you.” These are some of the best statements to reduce the negativity of the situation.
3) Never Hang Up On A Customer
No matter how frustrating dealing with a customer can be, do not hang up on them. If you hang up on an angry customer, you’re just passing on the problem onto another colleague in your office. That person will usually call back, and will be even nastier to the next person they talk to.
4) Never Ask Your Customer To "Calm Down"
If a customer is shouting, it’s likely they’re feeling undervalued, belittled and powerless. Never ask your customer to calm down, as it may sound like their reason for being upset is not valid or adequate. Don’t say this at the beginning of your call. Instead, use emphatic statements like “I understand”, “I will try to help you” “You’ve called the right place for this” or "I can solve this problem for you, but only if we can discuss it calmly."
5) Never Have Unplanned Silence On The Call
There might be instances when there will be periods of silence during the call. It may be due to network issues, technical issues within your company or the customer might be busy talking to someone else. There also may be periods of silence because you need to reach someone on an extension or ask a question toy your co-worker. When these periods of silence occur, make sure to always tell the customer why you are going silent. You never want a customer to ask if you are still on the line.
6) Never Lack Confidence
If the agent doesn’t know the product or service well, they will not sound confident and the customers can easily catch this lack of confidence in their voice. This is when customers will start doubting the company’s sincerity towards the product or service that the agent is handling. If you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to look it up so you guarantee the customer is getting the correct information.
7) Never Sound Scripted
Customers will easily be bored or disinterested to talk to you if you read some information verbatim. People like to talk to a human, not to an automated voice system. They expect a conversation with a human touch. If you end up using talking points or a script, avoid narrating every word from the script and make it sound like your own words. Don’t ditch the script, just use it for reference on your products and common FAQs.
How Can I Avoid These Phone Answering Mistakes?
While there are numerous things you should not say or do when answering business phone calls, these are among the most critical ones. Each call is different, and each customer is different. No one can predict their emotions, their behavior. Whether it is you or your receptionist answering the call, it is your responsibility to try and make a difference. Customers won’t see you, but how you handle the call will either help you gain business or lose it.
To ensure you don’t lose business, look into hiring a small business answering service like Abby Connect Virtual Receptionists. Customers will experience superior call quality from professionally trained virtual receptionists who can screen calls, take messages, and answer phones up to 24/7. The great customer service your customers will receive from the small business answering service will help you in building a long-term clientele.
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