In this day of technology, the phone is still a critical component in any business. Inbound calls can define your first impression and company reputation. So when someone contacts your office, you want that customer or potential customer to feel completely comfortable with your company. It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-person business or you employ a team of 100.
When someone contacts you, you have one chance to make the best first impression possible.
Find out how to close more leads and keep customers happy by following these seven mission-critical rules for phone etiquette.
When the phone is your first form of contact, here are the 7 ways to make the best first impression during an inbound call:
Answer inbound calls as often as possible.
When customers call, they are ready to talk; take advantage of their full attention – you might not get it again when you call them back. Plus, if a potential customer has to leave a voicemail, they may move on to dialing your competitor.
Say please and thank you.
A show of respect goes a long way as a service provider. Sometimes we forget, especially if it’s a stern person on the other side of the phone. Manners and a kind attitude can give you an edge over a competitor who is rushed and unfriendly.
Be interested in THEIR needs… answer THEIR questions.
Customers call you for a specific reason, it’s up to you to discover what their needs are. Before you push a sales pitch, listen to what they have to say. Your sales pitch may not even be needed, they may be ready to buy.
Keep track of time.
Everyone’s time is important, including theirs. If you’re stalling on the line or putting someone on hold, they will eventually become impatient. On the flip side, don’t seem rushed, remember number three. Give customers the time to tell you their needs.
Try to resolve their issue on the first call.
If you have to, book an appointment to give an estimate, but be sure to have an action plan or some finality to each inbound call before you hang up. Don’t leave your customer guessing next steps.
Keep your promises.
When talking to customers about products and services, be truthful – it’s the only way to keep a customer. And, if you have to call them back, be sure to do it, in a timely manner, even if you don’t have all the answers they need.
Find out the best way to contact them.
Do they prefer email and/or text messaging? Perhaps you have a weekly/monthly newsletter they’d like to be part of. With so many great ways to stay in touch, you have a chance to stay well connected through different media. Don’t miss an opportunity. And whatever you do... don't miss your follow-up to inbound calls.
Want to learn how today's leading field service companies are keeping track of inbound calls? Learn more here.
Always remember, the first inbound call leaves a first impression that lasts.
Leave your customers feeling like they’ve been heard and you were happy to hear from them. Make sure you both know next steps and be excited about the follow through. Keep communication open, and above all – keep your promises; after all, your first inbound call is the start of a potentially long business relationship!
And if you can't answer the call, be sure to provide a quality recording or automated attendant message that's professional while setting clear expectations. Check out some examples here.