Avionics News January 2017 - 47
The best website in the world will struggle to overcome the blunder of an
employee popping gum when answering a call with a prospective corporate
Ensure your staff engages professionally and politely to get the most out
of these contacts. But that can be a challenge, because you only have about
seven seconds to make a good impression, according to Jacob Puhl of
Firegang Digital Marketing. In that time, you'll either win the caller's trust
or lose it - perhaps permanently.
PHMG research found that 59 percent of consumers said they wouldn't
do business with a company if their first phone call isn't handled to their
satisfaction. Yet only about one-third of consumers said they were routinely satisfied with how their calls were handled. Key to their frustration were
rude or unhelpful phone operators, as well as companies who passed their
calls around like hot potatoes before someone could provide assistance.
Given these costs and frustrations, you probably want to optimize the
in-bound phone experience at your shop. Doing so requires thinking about
how your staff (and you) answer those calls, how you manage holds, message-taking, and transferring calls, and how you can connect callers to the
person who can help them best.
Ultimately, phone etiquette can be summarized as providing courtesy;
the caller is someone important, and serving him or her appropriately
benefits your shop immediately. That demands answering calls promptly,
before the third ring, well before it can roll to voicemail. Sit upright or
stand - you sound better with good posture - with a tone of helpfulness,
confidence, and pleasantness, and a pace that's slow and clear. Then give
a greeting, the company name, and the name of the person answering,
according to Susan Ward of IT consultancy Cypress Technologies. That
last part is important; most callers remember the last thing they heard, and
it's good if it's a name.
Focus on the caller, ignore distractions, and listen without interruption. Acknowledge you understand the reason for calling, and strive to
As a manager, you know the names of regular customers, customers
with aircraft in the shop, and those in the final stages of bids; inform frontline phone operators of these names, too, so they get priority handling. It
feels good to be recognized, and it's nice customer service. If necessary,
hold a team meeting before opening to pass along this information, as well
as useful daily updates, including absences.
Of course, sometimes you'll have to interrupt a call, and either put the
caller on hold or transfer to another employee. Both can be annoying, but
may be unavoidable, so do it with grace.
In the former case, ask if it's permissible to put the caller on hold while
you get the answer (verses leaving them with an open line). If that's
acceptable, check back every 30 to 45 seconds with progress reports. Offer
to call back if you're delayed or they can't wait, and thank them for their
patience, according to Ward.
Unless you and your people
carry a designed company mobile
device, know that mixing business
and pleasure on a personal line
can be problematic. You'll need to
think through how the phone is
answered, your outgoing voicemail
message, and when you'll answer.
If you see an unfamiliar phone
number, know how you'll answer
- with your shop name and title,
just as you would any other
business call, or with a less formal,
social greeting. In many cases, it
may be less awkward to use the
shop's name. The same holds true
for your voicemail message; in
each case, you want the customer
to feel they're in professional
Beyond that, consider where
you might answer a mobile
phone - or not, according to
career coach Barbara Pachter.
Recognize "quiet zones," such
as meetings, classes, meals or
conferences so your ringer doesn't
go off at inappropriate times.
Turn on the vibrate function or
turn it off when an interruption
would be improper or rude. If a
call is critical, warn your meeting
associates beforehand that
you're expecting an unavoidable
interruption and may have to step
Otherwise, tell yourself that this
is why you put so much time into
your outgoing voicemail message,
let it do its work, and return the call
when you're available to talk. q
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