As a professional, you face many challenges in how to answer incoming calls from prospects. Because you are often too busy to micromanage incoming calls yourself. It is counter-intuitive not to develop a pre-set script, to ensure good phone answering etiquette. Most professionals assume that good phone answering practices are below their own pay grade, but they also fail to train those who answer the incoming calls. Why spend all this time, effort and money on marketing, to only then ruin an inbound call from a prospect.
If you’re not adhering to established best practices when taking calls from your current and potential client base, you are wasting advertising dollars by turning away potential business. When your telephone is answered, the person on the line has reached out to purchase your services. Your advertising or marketing dollar has brought them this far, don’t lose them now.
Telephone Answering skills for a Professional Firm
Nothing beats call answering script and we will talk about that in a seperate post, but for now, start implementing some basics. Here are some important tips to help you bring your phone answering skills up to par with your business, brand, and skill set. Managing them will make all of your advertising dollars count.
- Answer before the third ring
Many potential clients. patients or patrons call with an urgent need. They want to feel that you will always have time for them. Why have them hang up and go to a competition because they answered more promptly than you did. Remember, every ring beyond the first represents a 20% reduction in confidence in your brand, especially for first-time callers.
- Be warm, enthusiastic, and welcoming
Too many professionals feel they bring enough value to the table with their skills and reputation. They feel that good business-phone-answering etiquette is unnecessary. This is a mistake, as it wastes your one opportunity to form a good first impressions. If those who have called you compare your phone answering instead of your skills, as is often the case, it’s a problem.
- Make sure whomever is answering the phone speaks clearly at a moderate pace and volume
Being understood immediately is key to locking in new business. Your initial salutation should contain the name of your practice, who you are, and a welcoming greeting. These should be as brief as possible so that proper enunciation won’t feel slow. Also, make sure the speaking volume works with the equipment you are using and keep the acoustics of the room where calls are answered quiet . Having those who answer the phone practice with a business partner, is crucial, as is testing them afterwards.
Using Professional Language when Answering the Phone
- Use professional language
The manner of speech when answering the phone should be as professional as possible. Things like “very well” or “certainly,” rather than “okay” or “no problem.” Those who answer the phone must get out of the habit of using fillers such as “like” and “um.” These can be acceptable in an informal conversation but during initial contact, are unprofessional.
- Use positive language
It can take some practice to make this a lasting habit, especially if the person answering the phone not having your best day. But it is always better to say “I’ll look into that” instead of “I don’t know.”
Getting these skills down pat can take practice. If you’re willing to spend fifteen minutes a week managing the phone answering aspect of your practice, it can make a big difference. This will have a positive effect on your bottom line, one that you will be able to measure over time.