Even as digital forms of communication become more popular, phone calls remain a crucial part of every business’s operations. Many customers prefer to have conversations with customer service reps rather than fighting with a support system, and your team can more easily collaborate when offered flexible phone communication.
Of course, like any form of communication, phone conversations require a certain etiquette and proper management in order to meet business goals. Here are some things to keep in mind to make your phone calls as efficient as possible for your business.
1. Set a purpose for the call
Business calls are much different from personal phone calls — or at least, they should be. Each call should have a specific purpose and topic. Just like a meeting, they need to have an agenda and desired outcomes so that no one’s time is wasted. It’s helpful to make a list of topics you’d like to cover in the call before you make or accept it. Think about any points you want to clarify or decisions you want to make, then have your list handy during the call.
2. Do your homework
Whether you’re calling a potential client or a current customer, know who you’re talking to. You should know their time zone, industry, job title — everything relevant to the call and your conversation. If you’re able to learn some things that you have in common, do so, and be sure to acknowledge their needs and goals in your conversation.
3. Choose the right environment
Few things are more unprofessional than having lots of background noise and echoing on your phone call — or a poor connection. Make sure that you conduct your calls in a quiet room, and avoid places that have bad reception, such as stairwells or basements. Choose an environment where you are free from distractions: your conversation partner deserves your undivided attention.
4. Watch your speech
In casual phone calls, it’s okay to say “um” and “uh,” or use slang. In business phone calls, you need to be cautious about your speech. Avoid buzzwords or any ambiguous language: use clean, clear, and concise words to get your point across. If you aren’t sure what to say, take a moment to collect your thoughts rather than starting with “um.” And make sure you use positive, affirming language rather than uncertain phrases such as “I don’t know” or “nope.”
5. Be respectful
Customers and colleagues will quickly get frustrated if you put them on hold or transfer them with little or no warning. So, always alert them that you need to transfer the call, then minimize their hold time. By the same token, make sure that you check in with people when the call starts. Say something like, “Is this still a good time for you?” rather than barging ahead. And unless there are multiple people on the call, you should never put someone on speaker.
6. Be friendly
Remember that phone calls don’t allow for face-to-face conversation and its main benefit: body language. It can be difficult to read reactions, tone, and intent when you can’t see the other person. So, be patient and keep a positive tone in your voice during business calls. One good trick is to smile as you speak — even if the other person can’t see it.
Ultimately, conducting an effective business call is about practicing proper phone etiquette. When in doubt, treat your conversation partner with the utmost respect and be clear and concise with them. It’s easy for misunderstandings to arise over the phone, but it’s also easy to avoid them by being professional.
To improve your team’s handling of phone calls, try Omni Hotline. You can greet callers with custom, professional greetings through an interactive virtual assistant and easily connect them to the appropriate party through call forwarding. With crystal-clear quality and easy management, you can create a more pleasant, business-like phone environment for your clients, customers, and colleagues.