Four Essential Skills for Phenomenal Phone Calls

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Delivering customer service over the phone might feel like second nature considering how often you do it. It might also feel like a minor thing in the scheme of your whole job. However, for that customer you’re speaking to, that single phone call can be the reason they decide to do business with your company for life – or never again.

Despite possibly feeling like an insignificant part of your job description, phone calls can be essential in allowing your business to deliver service, complete sales and earn customer loyalty. But it’s easy to go wrong on the phone too, which is why it’s important for customer service representatives and, indeed, anyone in the business who speaks to internal or external customers over the phone to be on the top of their game when it comes to their phone skills.

To help you get there, consider these four essential business telephone skills that are hugely important but rarely considered. First, thanking the caller for holding is a low-effort way to let the customer know that you appreciate their time. Service representatives are often quick to put a caller on hold without asking them if they’re actually able to do so. Similarly, when taking the caller off hold, service representatives often launch into speaking without taking a moment to thank the caller for their patience.

A simple ‘Thanks so much for holding. I was able to get that information off the database for you…’ goes a long way towards easing a customer’s frustration.

A second essential skill is learning how to control the conversation. Callers can sometimes veer off topic or provide unnecessary additional detail when speaking with you. To ensure that you’re being respectful and using time efficiently, gently steer the customer back on track when this happens. For instance:

You: When would you like us to deliver your new couch?

Customer: Well, my great aunt is coming to stay with us this weekend. She’s coming all the way from Calgary! Have you ever been? It’s lovely this time of year.

You: I haven’t, no. How exciting that your great aunt is coming – it sounds like it might be good to have your couch delivered before she arrives. Would Thursday work well for your delivery?

You can engage with the customer, answering their questions or responding to their remarks, while still keeping things on track to get the information that you need.

A third skill which is all too often forgotten is to avoid mouth noises while speaking on the phone. While these noises may not bother everyone you speak to, for those who are sensitive to this, it will make a big difference in their experience. Mouth noises include those from sipping drinks, chewing gum and food or humming.

Our fourth and final skill is to leave a positive last impression. The reason for this should be obvious – this impression will inform the feeling that the customer has when they hang up the phone. This can be one of annoyance or frustration or it can be a feeling of satisfaction and having been listened to and appreciated. Thank the customer sincerely for calling, let them know your next steps for ensuring that their order will be fulfilled or their problem completely solved and tell them that you look forward to helping them again whenever they need it.

To learn six other essential business telephone skills, contact a ServiceSkills representative today and request a free demo.