Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Telephone Etiquette for Small Business 101

It may sound like a trivial subject, but that is far from the truth. Even in this computer age, the telephone is your front line. More often than not, a business is judged by how one is received over the telephone. Give the wrong impression and the transaction is over.

Try and be prompt. Don't let the telephone ring off the hook. No more than a few rings if necessary.

It is important to convey enthusiasm and professionalism. A warm, clear response, coupled with moderate tones and proper language convey a highly, professional image. Accents are most acceptable but improper language is not. Try and avoid using slang and leave professional jargon out of conversations with laymen.

Avoid leaving people on hold for an extended period of time. Even though the music on hold may be quite pleasant, remember to check back every half minute or so. If the desired person is not available, or will not be free to take the call for several minutes, offer to take a message before the caller asks.

We all have bad days. However, the rule of thumb is to leave it at the door. Don't convey your negative feelings to the caller.

Speakerphones should be avoided. The caller can hear when they are speaking to someone on a speaker. It gives the impression that you are simply too busy to lift the receiver.

If your telephone system is automated, be sure that the recorded voice sounds professional and that the information in the system is current.

Finally, be prompt about returning calls. If someone left a message, they do wish to speak to you. Good business sense dictates that a timely reply is the best course of action.
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