Did you know, according to the researchers at the London Metropolitan University, people spend an average of 4 years of their life talking on the phone while at work? Yet, many people feel anxious when speaking on the phone, especially in professional settings. The reason for this is clients have a specific intention and expect a level of professionalism which can intimidate some people. However, being professional on the phone doesn’t mean you have to be stiff and robotic.
1. Show Those Pearly Whites
Have you ever walked down the street and had a stranger smile at you, causing you to smile back? Smiling is contagious and creates a feeling of positivity and confidence. This confidence is felt even through a phone connection. It may seem silly to answer the phone with a smile, but clients will respond to your friendly tone and in turn, trust your capabilities.
1. Determine the Reason for the Call
If your office is anything like ours, you may be inundated with a variety of calls, not all of them legitimate. As a gatekeeper, we need to quickly identify why someone is calling and how to address their requests. When you see an unfamiliar phone number, don’t immediately assume it is a sales call. Unless you have requested information on the product or service they are selling, this is probably an unwanted call. However, it is important to offer the same care you would a prospective client as you never know where this new business relationship will lead. Be friendly, polite and inquire the reason for their call.
1. Create a Team Environment
An inquiring client may not know everyone’s individual responsibilities in the office. Anyone answering the phone should be able to speak with the client in a way that communicates familiarity with the account to properly respond to the client’s request, even if that means passing them along to a co-worker. In order to promote a team environment, use words such as “we” and “us.” These inclusive words tell your client there is a team working on their project.
The client should always be a part of the team. It gives them the confidence to trust your professional opinion and work together for the best outcome. Remember to be respectful of clients’ ideas and use your expertise to point them in the best direction.
1. Be Confident in Your Expertise
Once you create a team environment, you have to lead it. Never forget your clients hired you as the professional. Avoid using words such as “um,” “maybe,” and “I don’t know.” These words give the impression you are unsure or unprepared. Instead, if you don’t know the answer, assure the client will find the solution and get back to them immediately.
Look at these two brief conversations between Sally and a potential client on the phone. In the first example, notice four things Sally does wrong and how she fixes them in the second example:
In this dialogue:
x Sally did not listen to the client’s request, assuming it is a sales call.
x She was not friendly.
x She used unsure words, giving the client no security or assurance.
x She did not give the impression of a team working together.
In this dialogue:
√ She was friendly, accepting and welcoming to the client.
√ She listened to the client’s needs and responded accordingly.
√ She used inclusive language such as “we,” and “our.”
√ She used affirmative language to give a sense of professional confidence even though she was not the appropriate team member to speak with about the project.
Before We Hang Up
Communication is a huge aspect of daily professional life. If you are working to improve your telecommunication skills, give us a call at 203-426-9193 to schedule a consultation.
Stay Tuned for my next blog, “Tackling Your Coworkers’ Personalities”
Rebecca’s inherent finesse with finer detailing, coupled with her tenacious communication skills allow her to effectively coordinate, administer and organize all project activities aiming at the flawless execution of the project.