Mind Your Manners: Live Operator Answering Service Shares Its Secrets
When was the last time you experienced some frustration when calling upon a business? For most of us, it still happens all too often. The frustration level can range from a minor annoyance all the way to ‘I won’t do business with that company ever again!’ However, even though we have these experiences, most business managers fail to keep their own phone procedures current and are unknowingly frustrating clients and even turning away new prospects.
As a live operator answering service, we make ongoing investments in training, quality assurance and technology to ensure we provide the highest levels of service possible. However, over many years of service to our clients, we have found that the real ‘secret’ to our success can be boiled down to three key phone answering principles:
1. Be Happy – A caller can sense your mood within the first few seconds of a call. By answering the phone with a smile on your face, the caller can’t help but have a positive experience with you, and that reflects as a positive experience with your company. Yes, everyone can have a bad day, but that is not the fault of the caller! Making every effort to answer each phone call with a happy demeanor goes a long way toward building a quality image for your organization.
2. Focus 100% on each caller – No one wants to be ‘processed’. As a live operator answering service, we know that few things are more annoying than calling a business where it is obvious they are reading a script that they will read to another fifty people that day. The person calling you is an individual with his or her own issues or questions. When a call comes to you, put all other business and distractions aside and focus 100% on that caller. Not only is this helpful for initial calls, but it is critical to helping your organization build solid long term relationships.
3. Be Helpful – When a client or prospect calls, they should have the sense that your main goal for that call is to be as helpful as possible to address their needs. Ask early and ask often: “How can I help you today?…, What else may I help you with?…, Have we addressed all of your needs?..., Were my answers helpful to you?...”. Most phone calls are well beyond simple yes/no answers, and callers often don’t know the exact questions to ask to get what they are looking for. This probing often reveals additional information that will enable you to better manage your dealings with that client or prospect, and they will appreciate the genuine interest and persistence you show in solving their issues.
There you have it! These principles may seem quite simple, yet so many organizations overlook them and ultimately end up losing business because of it. Don’t be one of them. Whether or not you use a live operator answering service, take action and incorporate these principles into your phone answering procedures today. It may take some time to get everyone in your organization to consistently apply these principles, but the benefits to your organization will far outweigh the effort.
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