Whether your business deals with local or international clients, understanding and practicing business telephone etiquette can ensure your business maintains professionalism and communicates effectively with its clients. Let’s learn how to practice proper business phone etiquette.
Business Telephone Communication
As easy as making and receiving telephone calls can be, many still do not know that rules guide telephone conversations, especially in the professional or business context. Business communication is a critical dimension of every organization. It can set the tone for many business activities involving clients and customers and other businesses such as closing deals, onboarding new customers, or offering customer support. Business calls play a major role in the day-to-day operations of many businesses. Companies need to contact potential customers, clients, and vendors and receive calls from customers about product inquiries and assistance.
The Importance of Proper Business Telephone Etiquette
Having good business telephone etiquette is beyond your ability to speak fluently and offer pleasant greetings. It is more about leaving a good and lasting impression on the person on the other end of the line. Since your next phone conversation could be your initial contact with a client, customer, or even your superior, you are presented with an opportunity to make a good connection and build a relationship.
Having the proper phone etiquette for business calls is necessary for every business that takes its professional image seriously. Have you ever contacted a business’s customer care department only to be greeted by a rude or uninterested representative? Did that response and interaction make you want to take your business elsewhere? This is where having stellar business telephone etiquette plays an important role in supporting your sales and customer support services. When a poor first impression is given, many businesses suffer, which often leads to a loss of customers and low sales conversions.
How a business communicates with its customers and clients will determine how they will be perceived. Therefore it becomes essential that businesses invest in training their employees to answer or initiate telephone calls. They also need to be aware of international business phone etiquette and how to connect with global customers effectively.
Furthermore, they must identify when a telephone call is the best means of communicating with a client, customer, or business contact. Employees must understand their audience and the most appropriate method to communicate with them. This depends on the type of business you run and what the interaction with the customer is about. In some cases, customers may prefer email or SMS contact instead of phone conversations.
11 Tips For Efficient Phone Etiquette for Business
So, what are some key phone etiquette rules? Here are 11 practical tips for business telephone etiquette that every employee should exercise when communicating with clients, customers, business contacts, and vendors:
- When answering a work or business phone, do not allow the phone to ring for too long. Three times is the ideal number of times that a business phone should ring.
- Ensure that you identify yourself at the beginning of every call. When answering the phone: “Hello” or “Good morning; customer support department, XYZ speaking.” When placing a call: state your name and the name of the person you are calling.
- Hold the phone at a distance of about 2 fingers from your mouth for clarity. Do not keep repeating the same thing over and over again; the other party might become uninterested and hang up.
- The tone of your voice can tell the other party a lot. Ensure you maintain a friendly yet professional tone. Avoid sounding nervous or aggressive. Speak with confidence and authority. Sit up in your chair when receiving phone calls to maintain your composure. Stand if it will be more comfortable.
- Prepare for a call before dialing the number. Ensure that you have thought through what you want to discuss. Write your talking points down on a notepad, so you do not leave anything out. This will help you to be direct and precise should your calls be forwarded to a voicemail.
- Listen to the other person without interruption. Under no circumstance should you interrupt them while they are passing on their information.
- If you must transfer a call, inform the caller before doing so. Explain why you need to transfer their call. First, confirm that the person you are transferring the call to is available to attend to the customer. Also, let the customer know who they are being transferred to.
- If you have to put a caller on hold, ask their permission first. You can also give them the option to leave a voicemail message. When you resume the call, ensure that you thank them for their patience.
- Always turn off your phone/ringer during a business meeting or call. It is not polite if your phone rings in the middle of a business decision.
- If you are expecting a call about the same time you enter a meeting, inform the caller beforehand about your meeting and that you will return their call as soon as you can.
- When speaking to a client or business contact on the phone, keep a distance from anything that can be a distraction. These include office desk noises, keys jingling, rustling papers, eating, or chewing. If you have to take a phone call while driving, ensure that you use a hands-free device or a speakerphone for your car. Giving your caller your undivided attention translates to treating them with respect, which is the most important business telephone etiquette foundation.
Invest in Business Phone Services
The importance of business telephone etiquette explains why many businesses invest heavily in their communication department regarding personnel and equipment. Both small and large businesses invest in call forwarding services to enable them to keep the lines of communication open at all times. Call forwarding companies like Global Call Forwarding make these services available to businesses globally. They offer various business communication solutions like SMS forwarding, virtual assistants, and much more for seamless business communications.