24 May Developing Good Phone Etiquette in the Home Office
Excellent phone etiquette is an attribute that is indispensable to customer service. Being attended to by a pleasant, polite voice that patiently gives a willing ear to the caller’s queries and solves customer problems promptly and efficiently, can do wonders for the image of a company. Whether it is a traditional brick and mortar call centre, or a virtual call centre office at home, it is extremely essential to refine your telephonic skills and provide customers with the highest standards of service.
Reflect enthusiasm and positivity through your voice
A formal but friendly tone will help the caller to connect better with you and steer the interaction in the right direction. Never let any tones of boredom or disinterest creep into your voice as callers easily pick up such cues even from a brief conversation and this would come across as a barrier to good communication. Your voice should exude warmth along with expressing a genuine desire to help the callers and make them feel comfortable talking to you.
The next golden rule – Cultivate the art of listening
Listening is an art that comes naturally to only a few select people. But in telephone based work, it is very important to hone your listening skills so that you can understand better what the caller is saying. Besides this, listening carefully conveys to the caller that you care, making them feel like a valued customer. Avoid the tendency to interrupt in the middle of a conversation and always allow the callers to complete what they are saying.
A critical factor in phone etiquette: Paying undivided attention to the call
It is just not possible to multitask when you are attending to a phone call, therefore it’s best to drop everything else on hand and focus only on your conversation with the caller. The manner in which you attend to the call should give the impression that the caller is your top priority.
Eliminating noise and distractions
A home office environment must be the same as a traditional office environment. The home office should be in a quiet part of your home with no internal or external noise. If you have very young children, ensure that you have efficient child care to look after them while you service. Make children aware that when you are servicing they should only disturb you if it is an emergency.
Speak slower than you do in normal conversation and pronounce each word clearly as the headset microphone could alter the voice quality a bit. Position the microphone at the correct distance from your mouth as if it is too close, your voice would sound garbled. It is very frustrating to the caller if they can’t understand what you are saying. Consider also the effect of any regional accent you may have. It may be considered neutral by friends and family local to your area, but could be very hard to understand to a caller from a different part of the country.
Attend every call with a fresh mind
Although this may sound easier said than done, don’t let the mood or emotional baggage from the previous call spill into your present one. Every caller deserves the best service so you have to ensure high professional standards for every call that you attend to. If you have had a difficult last call, take a deep breath when the phone rings again and bring back in your voice the same enthusiasm that you had when you serviced your very first call.
Stay unruffled by negative comments or angry tones of callers
Callers could have several reasons to be worked up, they may have other worries that may worsen their mood, and there is every possibility that they could make you the sounding board to vent their troubles. Or there could be a genuine grievance about the company or its products that they want redressed. Whatever the reason may be, it is your duty to treat customers with the greatest respect and take care not to ever react to their inappropriate tone or language. You could try to calm them by empathising with them and offering genuine, workable solutions to their problems. Situations like this test your customer service abilities and you should let your professionalism take centre stage by solving their problems and winning over the caller.
Be confident and competent
Attending to phone calls confidently indicates that you are professionally competent and thoroughly well versed with every aspect about the client you are servicing for. This will reaffirm the caller’s faith in the brand or services of the company. Ensure that you update your knowledge on all the policies, sales, promotions and schemes introduced by the company. Do a regular review of your training material and refresh your skills so that you can maintain the highest standards of customer service at all times.
Last but not the least – smile
As they say, callers can “hear” you smile – so bring on a special warmth in your voice and add a personal touch to your customer service simply by smiling pleasantly as you answer every call.