Customer love? Nice idea, but let’s face it, we’re all busy. That’s why we call it a ‘business’, after all. Which sometimes means we don’t have as much time as we’d like for the little things. The trouble is, it’s the little things that make a difference. (Oh. You forgot about my birthday. Again…)
They certainly make a difference to your customers. And it starts from the moment you answer the phone. Or, of course, the moment you don’t…
‘Universal Sprockets, thank you for your call, please leave a message after the tone…’
Oh boy. Hang up and move on.
‘I’m sorry, could you just hold for a minute?’
Well. They might. Or not. They might just hang up and try someone else. Especially since it’s the third time they’ve rung, and even this time it rang about 25 times before anyone picked up.
Ah yes, speaking through a mouthful of chocolate. By someone clearly not expecting the phone to ring. At all. Probably best to hang up.
That one’s all in the tone of voice. Which in this case sounds as if the receptionist is a robot. Or is possibly more interested in his or her fingernails…
‘Good morning! You’re through to Universal Sprockets. How can I help you?’
That one was answered after three rings. And the tone of voice is cheerful and friendly without being annoying. Which is a good start…
Customer love… is all about first impressions
Face it, if you were going out to meet someone for the first time you’d take a little care about the impression you were making. What you were wearing. Whether you’d had a shower and cleaned your teeth. How you’d open the conversation. That, surely, is just common courtesy and consideration.
It’s the same with your business. The way you answer the phone creates the caller’s first impression of your business. So the simple advice is:
- Wait for three rings before answering. Otherwise, you effectively take the caller by surprise.
- Smile (seriously). They can’t see it, but they’ll hear it in your tone of voice.
- Start with a friendly greeting. ‘Good morning’. ‘Good afternoon’, ‘Hello’.
- Use your name or business name.
- And then ask how you can help.
After that, it’s about being proactive. About ensuring the caller talks to the right person about the right topic. Or, if that’s not possible, that their query is properly recorded and acted upon; and they get a callback as soon as there is an answer.
Now, of course, you (or your team) could do all that yourselves. Mostly. Unless you’re too busy. Or unless you don’t actually have a receptionist.
‘Oh, sorry, my littlest has just thrown up. My husband will be with you in a minute… oh. No. He won’t. Er… can we call you back?’
So if you need a little help – we can give it.