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Chances are that business owners don’t think too much about the quality of their business answering service or how they handle their calls. But a business call is the first point of interaction for a client or customer and can go a long way in building or damaging the equity of a business. This is why improving call handling should be of interest to business owners.
There are several ways to handle business calls as a small business owner. You could hire a receptionist or go for a professional business answering service, which would offer you several advantages. But if you do it yourself, you should be able to improve your call handling with these tips.
First and foremost, you need to take the call quickly. If there’s a delay, the caller might get the impression that you don’t have enough team members. They might also believe that this is the kind of service they would get if they were to partner with you. So, take the call quickly and introduce yourself.
As you pick up the call, tell yourself that you’re there to listen. They might have a short query or a complicated one. Either way, never ask them to hurry. Be patient and listen to them without interrupting. Always keep a notebook and pen nearby to take notes. Let them feel that you take their call seriously.
Since it’s not a face-to-face interaction, the caller won’t be able to read your body language. But they will hear your tone of voice. So, rule number one is to smile when you take the call. The caller would feel your smile. Secondly, be empathetic and use a welcoming and friendly tone. Don’t raise your voice. Speak slowly and coherently.
If there’s one thing that people hate when making a call, it’s being left on hold. If you can take the message on behalf of someone else, do it. Don’t tell the caller that it’s not your responsibility or that you’ll need to find the concerned individual. Remember that at that moment, you represent your business.
This is where auto-replies can come in handy. With a second phone number, even if you miss a call, the caller will get a message explaining why you can’t take the call and when you’re likely to get back to them.
In the end, you should summarise what the caller has told you. Be specific if there are order numbers or other such details. Slowly read out those details and ask them whether you have the right information. If that reminds them to provide more information, be patient and note it down.
If you aren’t able to provide a resolution, tell them when you would call them back. When you follow up, explain what you’ve been able to find out and what your business can do. Finally, thank them for calling you. And say it with a smile.
Your business answering service is like a mini-marketing campaign for you whenever a call comes in. With these tips, you’ll be able to deliver better results for the caller and your business.