Here's how distinguish your business as one worthy of a customer's trust (and business).
1) Hire an operator to answer your phone. This promotes good will, shows that you have employees, and may cost less than the consequences of rotten service. If you must use an automated system, let callers reach an operator from the first menu. The key is to be readily approachable.
2) Make sure that the person who answers the phone sounds happy when someone calls. This sets the tone for the conversation that follows. A friendly greeting can lead to more sales.
3) Take care of the basics. Have the person who answers the phone state the name of your company and his or her name. This confirms that the caller reached your business and starts the call on a personal note.
4) Be accessible. If you have a small office, make sure that your voice line is always available to incoming calls. Avoid putting a fax machine on your phone line. Instead, buy a separate line; it keeps your voice line open and prevents callers from receiving a fax signal.
5) Appear like a real business. Instead of using a telephone answering machine, buy the voice mail service from your local phone company. This collects messages while you are unavailable or while you are on the phone. Also, use a land line phone instead of a cell phone because it sounds better and works all of the time. You want to appear like an established business, instead of someone operating out of a van in a parking lot.
6) Be respectful of others. That is, give the caller your undivided attention. Never interrupt a call to take another. (Your voice mail service will collect messages while you are talking. ) Stop all other activity (such as typing or sorting papers) because the caller can hear it.
7) Return phone messages. Voice mail has caused an epidemic of rudeness that hinders progress and destroys trust. Return all calls. It is courteous and enables others to continue with their business.
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Steve Kaye helps leaders hold effective meetings. He is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator, author, and speaker. His meeting facilitation and leadership workshops create success for everyone. Call 714-528-1300 for details. Visit http://www.stevekaye.com for a free report.