7 Best Telephone Skills to Sound Professional on the Phone

The next call that comes through could be the tipping point for your success. Someone said that good things come to those who wait; and here, at last, is your opportunity to shine. How you handle this caller, and the next, could be the tie-breaker your business has been waiting for. To maximize every call, you need certain telephone skills that are critical for success in any venture. Below are some of the top ones:

1. Be Positive and Smile

While a caller may not see your face to gauge your mood, they are highly discerning and can pick any negative vibe or tone in your voice. It is therefore important to project a joyful, natural, attentive and enthusiastic tone while speaking on the phone. Projecting a positive tone while on the phone puts the client at ease. The best approach is to behave as though you were talking to the caller face-to-face.

Smile as you greet them since they can hear (or feel) your smile over the phone, weird as that may sound. By smiling at the onset of the conversation, you create an environment of positive interaction that has a high chance of producing desired results.

2. Listening Skills

Listening is one of the most important telephone skills. Most people talk more than they listen. Avoid talking while the caller is speaking. Listen attentively to what they are saying and only respond when they are done. It’s highly unprofessional to interrupt a caller in the middle of a conversation.

3. Be Articulate

While talking to someone on the phone, they need to understand what you are saying. When you speak clearly and audibly, you diffuse potential tension, putting the caller at ease. It can be extremely frustrating to strain to understand what someone is saying over the phone if they are not clear. Use simple phrases and words and avoid complex jargon or vocabulary.

You should also keep off words such as “yeah,” “um,” “dude” since they can potentially interfere with the quality of engagement and compromise constructive problem-solving. Also, avoid eating during a telephone conversion or chewing gum as these could mumble your speech and turn off a potential client.

4. Be Sincere

The first thing you should do after picking the phone is to greet the caller and quickly introduce yourself. From the get-go, make sure the entire conversion is sincere. Your “hello, my name is so and so; what can I do for you,” must sound genuine and sincere.  As much as possible, avoid scripted greetings since they usually sound inauthentic and artificial. When answering service calls for a business, mention the company’s name, yours, and then ask how you can be of assistance.

You should also state your role and the department you are from, so the client can decide if indeed you are the person they should talk to. There’s nothing as frustrating to a caller as to get to the end of a conversation only to realize you are not the person they should be talking to.

Quickly find out what their call is about and if you can’t help, transfer them to the relevant department, either directly, or via the switchboard operator. Be sincere with your answers and respond to the caller in a way that makes them feel they are getting the best assistance you can give.

5. Be Personal: Refer to Callers by their Name

Once a caller has given you their name, use it from then on. You can start by writing down their name so you can ‘monogram’ the conversation. This will help you recall the caller’s name and personalize it. However, the key is to ‘use’ the caller’s name, not to ‘abuse’ it. You should naturally include it in the conversation and don’t shy from asking them how to pronounce it correctly.

Most callers will appreciate your efforts at pronouncing their names right. Make sure you spell it correctly as well. By referring to them by their name, you personalize the interaction and make them feel like you genuinely care.

6. Control the Conversation

The ability to control a conversation is one of the important telephone skills to have. Sometimes a caller can get off topic and wander into an irrelevant issue. Use your skills to steer them back to the subject. As you build rapport with a caller, keep a tight reign on the conversation by asking questions related to the purpose of the call. This is a subtle way of reminding the caller of the objective of their call. They will appreciate your professionalism and the fact that you are keen not to waste their time.

7. Don’t Hang Up Until the Customer is Satisfied

Just as it is important to start a telephone conversation on the right footing, you should finish it on the right note as well. This will leave a caller with a positive impression and encourage them to continue doing business with you.

For a great ending to the call, countercheck to establish that a caller understands the key information in your conversation. Finally, before you end the call, ask them if there is anything else you could help them with. If there are further questions or points of clarification, attend to these before hanging up.

If they need to call back, let them know the best times to call, and who to talk to when they do. After this, you can end the call by saying: “Have a great day,” or “it was a pleasure talking with you.” This lets a caller know you were glad and happy to help them, and that you would be willing to help them again.

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