Newsletter - Learning Matters - No.19

Telephone Etiquette

When we speak to someone with excellent telephone skills it can make our call much easier and our mood lighter.

Bad telephone communicators, on the other hand, can affect our mood, our impression of the company and possibly also affects whether we choose to do business with them in the future.

Telephone skills can be learnt and developed, although it does help if you start with a positive outlook and a willingness to help people.

Top Ten Telephone Tips - from Learning Curve

1. Use the name of the person you are speaking to - it helps build rapport and personalises the call

2. Show good listening skills - this means making notes, repeating important information back, and using 'verbal nods' to show you understand

3. Take control of the call - if you are taking an inbound call set the agenda, eg tell the customer that in order to help him you will need to take some information first, and then get their agreement

4. Have one conversation at one time - it is downright rude to break off mid-conversation to call across the office to someone else!

5. Give information concisely - being brief is not enough. We have to be concise and specific

6. Give your name - it enables the caller to relate to you more easily and shows ownership

7. Ask open ended questions - gather information quickly and effectively by using open ended questions (what, where. When, how, why, who) rather than yes/no questions

8. Summarise at the end of the conversation. This shows that you have understood the main points discussed and allows the customer to confirm their agreement of what is going to happen next

9. Wait for them to end the call - it seems such a shame to build up all that goodwill in the call only to cut them off at the end! Wait for the caller to put their phone down first

10. Be positive - 'thank you for holding' is so much more pleasant to hear than 'Sorry to keep you waiting'. Always remember to thank the customer at the end of the call and use their name

Learning Curve - Reading, Berkshire, England: +44 (0)118 987 5683

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