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Telephone Etiquette – 6 Easy Ways to Avoid Potential Problems

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With taking a large number of incoming calls throughout the day, it can be difficult to maintain an air of professionalism and let comfortable habits form.

While some habits can be okay, others can have a detrimental effect on the quality of a call. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that the caller relies completely on how you say things and ask questions, as they cannot see your facial movements or body language. While it may be basic, good telephone etiquette is just good common sense.

Being Polite

Properly greeting someone and identifying yourself is always the best place to start. By doing so you’re reassuring the caller they’ve reached the right place and that you can help them. Speaking in a warm, friendly manner ensures that callers needs are being attended to and the agent is genuinely looking to help. Sometimes it can be hard to be polite to a caller, particularly when they’re irate, however it goes a long way to smoothing over any potential issues and disarming the situation quicker.

Minding Your Manners

Your parents taught you them, your grandparents abided by them, it only makes sense that your manners carry over on the phone. You’re “please and thank you’s” go a long way to convey respect as well as provide a pleasant interaction. Minding your P’s and Q’s sticks with the caller long after the call has finished. They will remember if the agent on the other end was polite or rude. Be sure to avoid interrupting the caller and listen to what they’re saying. Not only does this convey respect to the caller, but allows you to find out more information as to the reason of their call and resolve the issue quicker. Common courtesies can go a long way in helping a caller feel accommodated in their needs.

Speaking Clearly

Nothing is more frustrating for a customer when they want to get business done, but they’re unable to understand the person on the other end of the phone. Proper telephone etiquette ensures that you are enunciating your words and speaking at a steady measured pace. Speak too quickly and the caller might not understand what you’re taking about. Speaking too slowly will frustrate the caller. Be sure to avoid eating and drinking while on the call. While it can be difficult to be understood, it’s just plain rude to speak with your mouth full.

Avoid Informal and Offensive Language

While this seems like a no brainer, it can be an easy trap to fall into. It is important to maintain professionalism at all times, even when a caller uses slang or offensive language. This can be particularly difficult when caller is upset. If such an occasion arises, a proper demeanour will aid in cooling off the situation. Using words that convey respect will help the customer fall into a calmer mood. Remember, echo a curse with a curse, and they’ll hear only yours.

Call Management

It is important to hold and transfer the flow of calls efficiently and effectively. Callers shouldn’t have to wait an unreasonable amount of time to get an answer, nor should their call be transferred to the wrong department or person.  Should you require to put a caller on hold, always ask them before doing so. Inform them of how long the potential wait could be and what you’ll be doing while they wait. When transferring a call, tell them who you will be transferring them to and provide a reason as to why.

Being Prepared

No one wants to waste time, especially when they’re on the phone. In most cases, people want things done 10 minutes ago. Being prepared can work wonders in this case. You can do this by keeping pertinent information close at hand with key talking points or saving important information to your desktop. This allows you to quickly offer any information the caller may need or be looking for.

While many of these points are simple, they go a long way to improving the quality of call, as well as the happiness of the caller. It can be easy to get into a rut and stay there, but personality of interaction can suffer because of it. Assessing your interactions and integrating these aspects into your call will ensure your telephone etiquette will improve in no time.

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