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Effective Telephone Skills



Essential Telephone SkillsYour telephone is an important communications tool so love it or hate it, you need to know how to use it properly if you want to present a good business image. Develop your company's phone protocol and see to it that all those who will be using the telephone on your business premises are trained in proper telephone etiquette.


Establishing the proper tone of voice immediately identifies your business style. A pleasant greeting should be standard company policy. An abrupt or rushed telephone manner does not project a positive image about your business.


Smile while talking on the phone and your voice will always sound friendly and warm. Try it; you can't sound grumpy or unpleasant if you are smiling.


Business calls are not for social chit chat; they should be short and to the point. Some pleasantries are nice, but if you are calling someone, have your points written down before hand so you don't waste time or forget anything you want to say. If there is an account or letter you will be discussing have everything in front of you before you start your call.


The other day I tried to decipher a message on my answering machine and had to replay it three times before I was able to understand the caller's name and return phone number. When I finally did get the message written down, I did not feel much like calling back.


Speak slower than you normally would when leaving messages. Identify yourself, state the reason for your call and leave your phone number in a manner that will allow the recipient ample time to write it down. It is good to mention a time when a return call is convenient to avoid playing "telephone tag." It is helpful if you restate your name and phone number again at the end of your message.


When you are answering your business phone have a few standard greetings: "Good Morning, Acme Home Business" or "Good Afternoon, Acme Home Business. Jane Doe speaking, how can I help you?"


Don’t put on hold before  giving a chance to speak. If you are too busy to speak to a caller, it's better to use your answering machine. Try to avoid putting your callers on hold.


Always have a pen and paper handy to jot down numbers or messages. If taking a message for someone else, write it down and then read it back to the person who called to be sure you got it right. Some numbers sound very similar so enunciate the numbers slowly and clearly. Be sure to write down the full name.


Tip: Never trust customers on matters of fact. Not even "My system is down."You may be talking to your callers from a very small room in your own home but you can still sound like a Fortune 500 company if you consistently use good telephone technique - and keep smiling

Tip: Always trust customers on matters of opinion. They're entitled to their own opinions and if they want to do it upside down and backwards because it works better numerologically, even though it takes them four times as long, it's their life. They're entitled to hate perfectly nice software programs, to think that the latest and greatest version is putrid, to want their screen purple and green, or to refuse ever to change anything from the system default. Don't argue about it; at all costs don't tell them that they really do like it; and never, ever, ever, decide that they were just kidding and they'll thank you for installing the newer, nicer version.

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